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Ruth v. E.E.O.C.

United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia, Wheeling

October 24, 2019

CHERYL RUTH, Plaintiff,
v.
E.E.O.C., Pittsburgh Area Office; OHIO COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION; O.C.B.E. Employee Union, Defendants.

          ORDER VACATING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [ECF NO. 61 AND ISSUING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          JAMES P. MAZZONE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Currently pending before the Court is Plaintiff, Cheryl Ruth's ("Plaintiff) pro se Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis [ECF No. 2]. Because Plaintiff seeks to proceed in forma pauperis, the undersigned previously conducted a preliminary review to determine whether Plaintiffs pro se Complaint [ECF No. 1] set forth any viable claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). After conducting the aforesaid review, the undersigned recommended [ECF No. 6] that Plaintiffs Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis be denied and that Plaintiffs Complaint be dismissed without prejudice. On April 1, 2019, Plaintiff filed Objections [ECF No. 8] to the undersigned's Report and Recommendation [ECF No. 6]. On April 3, 2019, the District Court entered an Order [ECF No. 9], directing Plaintiff to file an Amended Complaint.

         Plaintiff has now filed her Amended Complaint [ECF No. 11]. The District Court has referred the Amended Complaint and Plaintiffs still pending Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis to the undersigned for additional consideration. Pursuant to said referral, the undersigned hereby VACATES the previously entered Report and Recommendation [ECF No. 6]. The undersigned has conducted the requisite supplemental review of Plaintiff s Complaint, Plaintiffs Amended Complaint, the applicable law, and the Court file, and the undersigned is prepared to issue its recommendation regarding the same.

         I.

         FACTUAL/PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         As was stated previously, Plaintiff has filed suit against the Ohio County Board of Education, the Ohio County Board of Education Employees Union and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), Pittsburgh Area Office. According to her Complaint [ECF No. 1], Plaintiff was employed with the Ohio County Board of Education from January 2010 to May 2017. Plaintiff claims that she was subjected to "harassment, intimidation, aggressive and violent behavior from employees concerning racial issues."[1] [ECF No. 1 at 1]. Plaintiff attributes this behavior to the fact that her late husband was an African American man and the fact that her daughter is bi-racial. Plaintiff claims to have sustained the following damages: loss of income; decrease in income; loss of health, dental and vision insurance; loss of her pension; and emotional pain and suffering.

         Plaintiffs Amended Complaint [ECF No. 11] expands upon the allegations made in the original Complaint. In particular, Plaintiff claims that she was terminated from her employment with Ohio County Schools on May 24, 2017 after twelve (12) years of employment. Plaintiff further avers that she was terminated due to discrimination. Plaintiffs Amended Complaint details numerous encounters with an allegedly problematic co-worker who Plaintiff claims was allegedly angry that Plaintiff was married to an African-American man, and who was allegedly angry that Plaintiff and her husband had a bi-racial daughter.[2] She alleges that she was physically attacked, spit on, and grabbed. Plaintiff further alleges that a garbage can was thrown at her during another incident. She claims that she attempted to file formal grievances, but her grievances were not accepted. She alleges that she was fired as a result of a false claim made about her by a co-worker to the Board of Education. Plaintiff claims that she was not permitted to defend herself and she was not provided with a reason as to why she was terminated.

         When she was terminated, she lost her pension, health insurance, dental insurance, and her vision insurance. She has also sustained a loss of income. She has since secured other employment, but she is not paid as much as she was paid in her previous position with Ohio County Schools. She alleges that she suffered emotional pain and suffering as a result of her termination, and that she has experienced two (2) strokes because of the stress.

         Plaintiff attached to her Objection [ECF No. 8] a document which appears to be from the United States Equal Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and is titled "Dismissal and Notice of Rights." [ECF No. 8-1]. A review of this document reveals that the EEOC was "unable to conclude that the information obtained establish[ed] a violation[] of the statutes." Plaintiffs EEOC Complaint was therefore dismissed. It was further noted that this document "[did] not certify that the respondent is in compliance with the statutes." The document also notes that "[n]o finding is made as to any other issues that might be construed as having been raised by this charge." [ECF No. 8-1].

         II.

         DISCUSSION

         After considering Plaintiffs Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis pursuant to the authority granted in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), as well as Plaintiffs Amended Complaint, her original Complaint, the applicable law and the Court file, and in particular the additional documentation submitted with Plaintiffs Objection, the undersigned concludes that Plaintiffs Amended Complaint is frivolous and fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Therefore, and as is set forth more fully below, the Court RECOMMENDS that Plaintiffs Amended Complaint [ECF No. 11] be DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE, and that Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis [ECF No. 2] be DENIED AS MOOT.

         A. Legal Standard

         The Court has the authority to allow a case to proceed without the prepayment of fees (informa pauperis) "by a person who affirms by affidavit that he or she is unable to pay costs-----" L.R. Gen. P. 3.01. The "federal in forma pauperis statute ... is designed to ensure that indigent litigants have meaningful ...


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