Knight v. Maaco Auto Body & Paint, 4:20-cv-00186-KGB

CourtUnited States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States State District Court of Eastern District of Arkansas
Writing for the CourtKristine G. Baker United States District Judge
Docket Number4:20-cv-00186-KGB
Decision Date16 September 2021


No. 4:20-cv-00186-KGB

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division

September 16, 2021


Kristine G. Baker United States District Judge

Before the Court is defendants Maaco Auto Body and Paint (“Maaco”) and Bill Lytle's (collectively “defendants”) motion to dismiss (Dkt. No. 10). Plaintiff Bobby J. Knight, Jr. filed suit pro se in this matter asserting claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (“Title VII”) (Dkt. No. 2). Mr. Knight has not filed a response to defendants' motion to dismiss. For the following reasons, the Court grants in part and denies in part defendants' motion to dismiss.

I. Overview

A. Pending Motion

Defendants move to dismiss Mr. Knight's complaint pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 4(m), 12(b)(5), and 12(b)(6) (Dkt. No. 10). Defendants maintain that the Court should dismiss Mr. Knight's complaint because Mr. Lytle is not subject to liability under Title VII, Mr. Knight failed to name his employer as a defendant in his complaint, and Mr. Knight failed to serve timely his complaint (Dkt. No. 11, at 1-2). Defendants request that the Court dismiss Maaco and Mr. Lytle as parties to this action and dismiss without prejudice Mr. Knight's complaint (Dkt. No. 11, at 2-3).

B. Facts Alleged In The Complaint

In his complaint, Mr. Knight alleges that defendants failed to promote him and then terminated his employment because of his race and color in violation of Title VII (Dkt. No. 2, at 2). Mr. Knight contends that he was a general manager at Maaco when a district manager position became available (Id., at 3). He claims that he was never interviewed for or offered the position of district manager (Id.). Mr. Knight states that there was another general manager position open at the Sherwood store, for which he recommended one of Maaco's “new salesmen” named “Nick” (Id., at 3, 4). Mr. Knight claims that the district manager position remained unfilled when he left for a vacation (Id., at 3). Mr. Knight alleges that, upon his return from vacation, a new salesman had been hired whose name was “Joel.” (Id., at 3, 4). Additionally, Mr. Knight claims that another new saleswoman, named “Salina, ” had been hired the week before he left on his vacation (Id.). Mr. Knight claims that he hardly spoke to either Joel or Salina on the day he returned from a vacation (Id., at 4).

Mr. Knight alleges that on the day he returned, Nick, who had “taken over” the Maaco Sherwood, Arkansas, location came to talk to him and stated that Joel and Salina, the new salespeople, had called him to complain that Mr. Knight was “rude” and “didn't know how to talk to them.” (Id.). Mr. Knight claims that Joel and Salina's allegations are “false because I was in my office and didn't talk to them much at all.” (Id.). Mr. Knight claims that then “Nick says he wants to call Bill Lytle the owner. I tell Bill that I'm being ambushed[, ] and it felt racial. Bill told me Nick was the new District manager. I didn't agree because of my longer tenure and experience.” (Id., at 4-5).

Mr. Knight states that, after that conversation, he continued to work, and he “thought everything was planned out because it was [his] first day back from vacation” (Id., at 5). Mr. Knight claims that “once Bill [Lytle] arrived he told me that I scared him saying the situation felt racial and that he added a bonus to my check. I felt like he was trying to buy me.” (Id.). Mr. Knight claims that Mr. Lytle added a bonus of $100 to his paycheck for one week after this conversation (Id.). Mr. Knight claims that he felt “disrespected.” (Id.).

Mr. Knight alleges that, while doing payroll, he noticed that Joel's salary was only $50 less than his own (Id.). Mr. Knight claims that Joel was being paid $450 plus commission on a weekly basis, but, when Mr. Knight started out as a salesman, he was paid $350 weekly plus commission and was told this was not negotiable (Id.). Mr. Knight claims that Mr. Lytle sent four individuals (Joey, Joel, Salina, and Nick) to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for training, but neither he nor his assistant manager (Robert) received any training (Id.). Mr. Knight alleges that “only whites got that training.” (Id.). Mr. Knight states that Mr. Lytle sent Joel two or three times for training, and he “felt like [Mr. Lytle] was about to give [Joel] my job” (Id.).

Mr. Knight alleges that, on March 14, Mr. Lytle told him that he wanted to demote him back to sales (Id.). Mr. Knight claims that he was “consistent” in “making him money.” (Id.). Mr. Knight claims that “the very next week after firing me he paid Joel $700 base after constantly telling me he couldn't afford to give me a raise.” (Id.). Mr. Knight claims that “[b]y him demoting me and saying he was scared of the race situation is retaliation. He also interviewed employees about racial tension and lied to the [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] and said I never mentioned it.” (Id.)...

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