United States District Court, D. Colorado
A. BRIMMER CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendant’s Partial
Motion to Dismiss [Docket No. 11]. The Court has jurisdiction
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
began working for defendant in October 2010 as a Program
Coordinator: Grant and Finance Administration for the Medical
Campus. Docket No. 9 at 2, ¶ 10. Due to her success in
that position, she was soon promoted to the position of
Graduate Administrator. Id., ¶ 11. Between 2012
and 2016, plaintiff was nominated for several awards,
including the Service Excellence Award, the President’s
Diversity Award, and the CU Undergraduate Pre-Health Program
Preceptor Award. Id., ¶ 12.
October 2015, plaintiff was contacted by Dr. Catherine
Jarvis, an Associate Dean for Student and Professional
Affairs in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical
Sciences (“SSPPS”). Id. at 3, ¶ 14.
Dr. Jarvis informed plaintiff that “the former Director
of Admissions had resigned and SSPPS needed an employee with
[plaintiff’s] skillset.” Id., ¶ 14.
SSPPS formally offered plaintiff the position on November 23,
2015, and plaintiff “agreed to accept lateral pay in
order to gain the working title of Director.”
Id., ¶¶ 17, 19. Plaintiff began the
director position on December 10, 2015. Id., ¶
20. Between December 2015 and February 2016, plaintiff
increased the number of applications to SSPPS by eighty-five
through her marketing efforts. Id., ¶ 22.
7, 2016, plaintiff received an email stating that she had
been demoted and that Dana Brandorff was being promoted to
Director of Marketing, Communications and Alumni Affairs,
where she would assume plaintiff’s primary Director
responsibilities. Id., ¶ 23. The email was sent
to the entire department. Id.
a meeting on June 10, 2016, Anthony Airhart, the Associate
Dean of Finance, Budget and Administration, informed
plaintiff and several other staff members that all SSPPS
employees’ positions were being re-evaluated and that
some employees would be required to reapply for their
positions as part of SSPPS’s reorganization.
Id. at 4, ¶¶ 25-26.
16, 2016, plaintiff met with Ms. Brandorff, Assistant
Director of Distance Degrees and Programs Operations Jennifer
Payne, and Recruiting Strategist Justin Rowe to discuss her
future role with SSPPS. Id., ¶ 29. During the
meeting, Ms. Brandorff and Ms. Payne insisted that
plaintiff’s position was equal to Mr. Rowe’s,
even though plaintiff was more experienced and held a
higher-level position within SSPPS. Id. at 5,
October 28, 2016, plaintiff met with Jay Rodenburg, Director
of Personnel, and Laura Borgelt, Associate Dean for
Administration and Operations at SSPPS. Id. at 6,
¶¶ 39-40. After Mr. Rodenburg and Ms. Borgelt
attempted to convince plaintiff that she had always been Mr.
Rowe’s equal, plaintiff shared her belief that Mr.
Rodenburg was discriminating against her based on her sex.
Id., ¶ 43. Mr. Rodenburg responded to the
accusation by telling plaintiff that she lacked a
“higher level of decision making.” Id.,
¶ 44. Mr. Rodenburg and Ms. Borgelt also suggested that
plaintiff was “delusional” and had fabricated her
Director title. Id., ¶ 45.
around November 2, 2016, plaintiff met with Mr. Rodenburg to
discuss her “wellness.” Id. at 6-7,
¶¶ 49-50. Mr. Rodenburg started the meeting by
presenting plaintiff will pre-filled-out Family and Medical
Leave paperwork. Id. at 7, ¶ 51. He then told
plaintiff throughout the meeting that she needed to see a
doctor because she had a “mental health
condition.” Id., ¶ 53.
November 7, 2016, Mr. Airhart accused plaintiff of violating
policy and improperly using her University credit card, even
though plaintiff had not violated any policy. Id. at
7-8, ¶¶ 56, 58. During a meeting on November 21,
2016, Mr. Rodenburg, Ms. Borgelt, and Ralph Altiere, Dean of
the School of Pharmacy, terminated plaintiff’s
employment for “unsatisfactory performance and
unprofessional conduct.” Id. at 8,
¶¶ 59-60. Sometime thereafter, plaintiff’s
position was filed by a male. Id. at 8, ¶ 64.
filed this lawsuit on August 30, 2018. Docket No. 1. In her
operative complaint, Docket No. 9, plaintiff asserts gender
discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et
seq. Docket No. 9 at 8-10. On November 23, 2018,
defendant moved to dismiss plaintiff’s gender
discrimination claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Docket No.
11. Plaintiff filed a response to the motion on December 14,
2018, Docket No. 15, to which defendant replied on December
28, 2018. Docket No. 19.
survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a complaint must allege
enough factual matter that, taken as true, makes the
plaintiff’s “claim to relief . . . plausible on
its face.” Khalik v. United Air Lines, 671
F.3d 1188, 1190 (10th Cir. 2012) (citing Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “[W]here
the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more
than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has
alleged–but it has not shown–that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 679 (2009) (internal quotation marks and alteration
marks omitted); see also Khalik, 671 F.3d at 1190
(“A plaintiff must nudge [his] claims across the line
from conceivable to plausible in order to survive a motion to
dismiss.” (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570)).
If a complaint’s allegations are “so general that
they encompass a wide swath of conduct, much of it innocent,
” then plaintiff has not stated a plausible claim.
Khalik, 671 F.3d at 1191 (quotations omitted). Thus,
even though modern rules of ...