394 F.3d 285 (5th Cir. 2004), 04-30035, Causey v. Sewell Cadillac-Chevrolet, Inc.

Docket Nº:04-30035.
Citation:394 F.3d 285
Party Name:Tyrone CAUSEY; et al., Plaintiffs, Tyrone Causey, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. SEWELL CADILLAC-CHEVROLET, INC. and General Motors Corporation, Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:December 14, 2004
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
 
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Page 285

394 F.3d 285 (5th Cir. 2004)

Tyrone CAUSEY; et al., Plaintiffs,

Tyrone Causey, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

SEWELL CADILLAC-CHEVROLET, INC. and General Motors Corporation, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 04-30035.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

December 14, 2004

Page 286

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 287

John Courtney Wilson, Metairie, LA, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Fred L. Herman (argued), Thomas J. Barbera, Law Offices of Fred L. Herman, New Orleans, LA, for Sewell Cadillac-Chevrolet Inc.

Heather R., Hamilton (argued), Lathrop & Gage, Kansas City, MO, for General Motors Corp.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Before JONES, SMITH and STEWART, Circuit Judges.

CARL E. STEWART, Circuit Judge:

Tyrone Causey filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1981 action against Sewell Cadillac-Chevrolet, Inc. and General Motors, Inc., alleging that he was subjected to racial discrimination while attempting to have his car serviced. Causey challenges the district court's dismissal of his claim against General Motors and the dismissal of his claim again Sewell Cadillac-Chevrolet for failure to state a claim. For the reasons set forth below, we AFFIRM in part and REVERSE in part.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The facts as set out in the Amended Complaint are that Tyrone Causey, an African-American, took his 2000 Chevrolet Corvette to Sewell Cadillac-Chevrolet, Inc. (Sewell), for service that was covered under warranty. A "service man" inspected the vehicle and found that it was in need of repairs. However, when the serviceman learned that the vehicle was still under warranty, he changed his assessment and stated that no repairs were needed. Causey complained to the serviceman's superiors both in person and on the telephone, but to no avail. One of the individuals whom Causey saw in person signed a service receipt for the Corvette and indicated on the receipt that Causey was "not happy." This same person twice stated that "Niggers always want something for nothing," yelled to a security guard to escort Causey from the premises, and ordered Causey not to return to Sewell "ever again." Causey went to a different General Motors (GM) dealership, which fixed the Corvette to his satisfaction and under the warranty. Causey then filed this action

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naming Sewell and GM as defendants and seeking monetary and injunctive relief.

GM filed a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b) (6) motion to dismiss, or in the alternative, motion for summary judgment. Sewell also filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim in accordance with Rule 12(b) (6). The district court granted the defendants' motions. The district court concluded that, to the extent that Sewell interfered with the warranty contract, Causey did not plead that this interference was motivated by racial animus. The district court determined that Causey's allegations showed that Sewell sought to avoid performing work that was covered by the warranty. Because the initial refusal to perform the requested work was not accompanied by the racial slur, the district court found that the refusal to perform the work was due to financial motives. Consequently, the district court granted Sewell's Rule 12(b) (6) motion. Furthermore, the district court determined that Causey failed to allege that GM took any discriminatory action against him. The district court also concluded that Causey had not shown that GM was sufficiently connected to Sewell that it should be held...

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