Tuesday, February 13, 2007

E.E.O.C. v. EMS Innovations, Inc. (Maryland U.S.D.C.)(Not Approved for Publication)

Decided February 12, 2007 - Memorandum Opinion by Judge Richard D. Bennett (not approved for publication)

EEOC brought a complaint against EMS Innovations, Inc. ("EMS"), alleging that EMS engaged in sexual harassment against at least six employees in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. §§2000e, et seq.). EMS moved to dismiss, arguing that the Complaint failed to state a claim because EMS was not an "employer" covered by Title VII and that the EEOC failed to plead its claim with sufficient specificity. Because EMS relied upon material outside the record to support its motion, the court treated the motion as one for summary judgment under Rule 56.

Liability under Title VII only attaches to an "employer," being "a person engaged in an industry affecting commerce who has fifteen or more employees for each working day in each of twenty or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year . . . ." 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(b). EMS submitted unauthenticated personnel records with its motion to support the assertion that it employed fewer than 15 persons. It later filed affidavits with its reply to EEOC's opposition to the motion. Noting that so far there had been no opportunity for discovery in the case and that EEOC had requested an opportunity to conduct discovery, the court declined to grant summary judgment on this basis. The court also pointed out that unauthenticated records are not sufficient to support a motion for summary judgment and that EEOC had not had an opportunity to respond to the affidavits filed by EMS because they were filed with the reply and not with the original motion.

On the specificity issue, the court found that the Complaint "contain[ed] almost no facts." EEOC, however, had requested leave to file an amended complaint. Rather than dismissing the case, the court granted leave to amend with instructions to organize the amended complaint "by counts and to allege the relevant facts with sufficient particularity."

The full opinion is available in PDF.

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