United States District Court, D. Colorado
RODERICK I. FULLER, Plaintiff,
OLD DOMINION FREIGHT LINE, INC., a Virginia corporation, as known, doing business or sometimes referred to as “Old Dominion, ” Defendant.
Brooke Jackson United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on defendant Old Dominion Freight
Line, Inc.'s (“OD”) partial motion to dismiss
plaintiff Roderick Fuller's breach of contract claim [ECF
No. 18]. For the reasons below, the Court GRANTS that motion.
Roderick Fuller is a former truck driver for OD. Pl.'s
First Am. Compl., ECF No. 17, at ¶¶5-6. He claims
in this action that while employed by OD his coworkers and
managers harassed, humiliated, and ultimately retaliated
against him because of his race. See, e.g.,
id. at ¶17. This harassment included an
incident in April of 2009 where Mr. Fuller's
then-supervisor, Mr. Chris Silvas, allegedly pushed Mr.
Fuller on a loading dock and directed a racial epithet
towards him. Id. at ¶9.
Fuller alleges that shortly after this incident occurred he
reported his supervisor to another manager, Mr. Alan Thorson.
Id. Rather than believe Mr. Fuller, however, Mr.
Thorson accused plaintiff of lying about what had transpired.
Id. Allegedly because of the company's belief
that Mr. Fuller lied about Mr. Silvas' conduct, OD fired
Mr. Fuller shortly thereafter. Id.
Fuller's hiatus from work did not last long. Allegedly
after learning that Mr. Fuller might file a claim against OD
for racial discrimination, OD reached out to Mr. Fuller to
offer him his job back. Id. at ¶¶10-11. As
part of its overture, OD management, including Mr. Thorson,
allegedly assured Mr. Fuller that the mistreatment he
suffered while employed by OD would not continue should he
return. See id.at ¶14. OD employees also
allegedly told Mr. Fuller that he would be valued and treated
as “family” if he came back and that the company
promised to treat Mr. Fuller in “good faith” and
“fairly” going forward. Id. Finally, OD
also fired Mr. Silvas, Mr. Fuller's former manager,
apparently in an attempt to further persuade Mr. Fuller that
the company had changed its ways. Id.at
Fuller subsequently accepted OD's offer of reemployment.
Id. at ¶15. However, for all of the
company's supposed promises that it had changed, the
racial harassment and humiliation Mr. Fuller earlier
experienced allegedly continued. See, e.g.,
id. at 16. For instance, Mr. Fuller alleges that
after returning to work several OD employees openly expressed
their opinion that Mr. Fuller had “played the race
card” to get himself re-hired and their friend, Mr.
Silvas, fired. See Id. at ¶13. Mr.
Fuller's new managers at OD also allegedly continued to
harass him by, for example, altering aspects of his
employment such as by cutting his driving runs. Id.
at ¶17. Mr. Fuller claims he complained to management
about this treatment in 2014-15. Id. His complaints,
however, allegedly fell on deaf ears. See id.
Mr. Fuller alleges that he continued to experience harassment
until OD fired him in late April 2016 because of supposedly
minor damage to the mud flaps on his truck. See Id.
at ¶¶51-57. It appears that defendant will argue
that it fired Mr. Fuller for being involved in an accident
(damaging his truck's mud flaps) that he subsequently
failed to report. See Id. at ¶¶ 61-64,
he was fired Mr. Fuller brought suit against OD in Denver
District Court on December 7, 2016. ECF No. 1-1 (state court
pleadings). In his initial complaint, Mr. Fuller alleged two
claims for relief. Id. First, a claim for breach of
contract stemming from the statements OD employees allegedly
made to him in 2009 that he would be treated
“fairly” and “in good faith” if he
returned to work-alleged “promises” that he
claims were reiterated in several of OD's company
employment documents. Id. at 8-14 (¶¶42-80).
Second, he brought a claim for racial discrimination under
the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000e, et seq., and the Colorado
Anti-Discrimination Act, C.R.S. § 24-34-301, et
seq. Id. at 14- 17 (¶¶81-103).
January 10, 2017 OD removed Mr. Fuller's lawsuit to this
Court. Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1. Plaintiff subsequently
amended his complaint on March 22, 2017. ECF No. 17. In his
amended complaint plaintiff continues to assert the same two
claims for relief. Id. Roughly two weeks after
plaintiff amended his complaint OD filed a partial motion to
dismiss plaintiff's first claim for breach of contract.
ECF No. 18. That motion is ripe for review and currently the
only motion pending before the Court with respect to this
STANDARD OF REVIEW
survive a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the complaint must
contain “enough facts to state a claim to relief that
is plausible on its face.” Ridge at Red Hawk,
L.L.C. v. Schneider, 493 F.3d 1174, 1177 (10th Cir.
2007) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A plausible claim is a claim that
“allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). While
the Court must accept the well-pleaded allegations of the
complaint as true and construe them in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff, Robbins v. Wilkie, 300
F.3d 1208, 1210 (10th Cir. 2002), conclusory allegations are
not entitled to be presumed true, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
681. However, so long as the plaintiff offers sufficient
factual allegations such that the right to relief is raised
above the speculative level, he has met the threshold
pleading standard. See, e.g., Twombly, 550
U.S. at 556; Bryson v. Gonzales, 534 F.3d 1282, 1286
(10th Cir. 2008).