Myers v. Moyars, No. 79A05-9510-CV-424

Docket NºNo. 79A05-9510-CV-424
Citation667 N.E.2d 1120
Case DateJuly 18, 1996
CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana

Page 1120

667 N.E.2d 1120
Tamara Bowlus MYERS, Appellant-Plaintiff,
v.
Donald R. MOYARS, individually, C. Al Lindsay in his
capacity as the Sheriff of Warren County, Indiana and Randy
Brenner, Don Andrews and James E. Lanham in their capacities
as the Warren County Board of Commissioners, Appellees-Defendants.
No. 79A05-9510-CV-424.
Court of Appeals of Indiana.
July 18, 1996.
Rehearing Denied Sept. 18, 1996.

Robert O. Williams, Williams Law Offices, Covington, for Appellant.

Thomas H. Busch, Hoffman, Luhman & Busch, Lafayette, for Appellees.

Page 1121

Susan B. Tabler, Pamela V. Keller, Ice, Miller, Donadio & Ryan, Indianapolis, for Amicus Curiae.

CHEZEM, Judge.

Case Summary

Plaintiff-Appellant Tamara Bowlus Myers ("Myers") appeals the granting of a motion to dismiss her complaint against Defendants-Appellees Donald Moyars, individually, C. Al Lindsay in his capacity as the Sheriff of Warren County, and the Warren County Board of Commissioners (collectively, "Warren County"). We reverse.

Issues

Myers presents two issues for our review which we restate as follows:

I. Whether Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 precludes a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim by a public employee; and,

II. Whether the failure to exhaust administrative remedies requires the dismissal of a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim.

Facts and Procedural History

Myers was hired as a jail officer for the Warren County Sheriff's Department on March 5, 1992. She was discharged from her employment on April 13, 1992. Myers filed a complaint, alleging discrimination and harassment, with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission on June 24, 1993. Because Myers filed her complaint over fourteen months after the alleged discriminatory acts (thus well beyond the ninety-day period), the Indiana Civil Rights Commission administratively dismissed the complaint in August of 1993. Myers did not seek judicial review of that dismissal. Likewise, she did not file a charge with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Her three hundred days to do so elapsed in February of 1993.

On April 12, 1994, Myers filed a complaint against Warren County alleging (1) that she was discharged as a result of gender discrimination, citing 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and (2) that she suffered sexual harassment, citing 42 U.S.C. § 2000e and Indiana Code § 22-9-1-1. Myers abandoned the remedies of the second count. Consequently, only the § 1983 claim remains.

Warren County filed an answer raising two defenses: (1) preclusion of the § 1983 claim by Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, and (2) failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Warren County then filed a motion to dismiss. Myers filed her response. Although not specifying the ground upon which he relied, the trial judge granted Warren County's motion and dismissed each defendant. Thereafter, the trial judge denied Myers' motion to correct errors.

In the ensuing appeal, the Association of Indiana Counties, Inc. ("Association") filed an Amicus Curiae brief in support of Warren County.

Discussion and Decision

I. Preclusion of § 1983 Claim

The standard of review for the granting of a motion to dismiss is twofold. All facts in the plaintiff's complaint must be taken as true, and every reasonable inference and intendment must be drawn in her favor from the alleged facts. Stevens v. Dept. of Public Welfare, 566 N.E.2d 544, 546 (Ind.Ct.App.1991), reh. denied, trans. denied. "On appellate review, the trial court's judgment can be sustained on any theory or basis found in the Record." Id.

Myers argues that Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not preclude a § 1983 claim by a public employee. For support, she cites Trigg v. Fort Wayne Community Schools, 766 F.2d 299 (7th Cir.1985), and Stoner v. Department of Agriculture, 846 F.Supp. 738 (W.D.Wis.1994).

In contrast, Warren County and the Association contend that in enacting the 1991 amendments to Title VII, Congress implicitly preempted all parallel remedies for employment discrimination on the basis of gender against state and local governments. Their argument rests primarily upon the reasoning of Marrero-Rivera v. Department of Justice of Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, 800 F.Supp. 1024, 1031 (D.P.R.1992), aff'd, 36

Page 1122

F.3d 1089 (1st Cir.1994) and Brown v. General Services Administration, 425 U.S. 820, 96 S.Ct. 1961, 48 L.Ed.2d 402 (1976).

Recently, several courts have taken the opportunity to address this issue in light of the 1991 amendments to the Civil Rights Act. See Annis v. County of Westchester, 36 F.3d 251 (2d Cir.1994); Beardsley v. Webb, 30 F.3d 524 (4th Cir.1994); Wilson v. UT Health Center, 973 F.2d 1263, 1268 (5th Cir.1992), cert. denied, Hurst v. Wilson, 507 U.S. 1004, 113 S.Ct. 1644, 123 L.Ed.2d 266 (1993); Notari v. Denver Water Dept., 971 F.2d 585, 587 (10th Cir.1992); Johnson v. City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 903 F.Supp. 1520 (S.D.Fla.1995); Lightner v. City of Ariton, 884 F.Supp. 468 (M.D.Ala.1995); and Stoner, 846 F.Supp. 738. These courts have unanimously held that Title VII is not the exclusive remedy for discrimination claims against state or municipal employers where those claims arise from violations of constitutional or statutory rights. Indeed, the District of Puerto Rico has apparently changed its position on the issue since its Marrero-Rivera holding. See Ribot Espada v. Woodroffe, 896 F.Supp. 69, 71 (D.P.R.1995).

Having reviewed the above decisions----many of which dealt with the same...

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6 practice notes
  • Higgason v. Stogsdill, No. 77A01-0403-CV-126.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • November 30, 2004
    ...the exhaustion rule applies here. We note first that Higgason's complaint asserts a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In Myers v. Moyars, 667 N.E.2d 1120, 1124 (Ind.Ct.App.1996), trans. denied, this court held, "the exhaustion of administrative remedies is not a prerequisite to bringing a § 198......
  • Thompson ex rel. Thompson v. Owensby, No. 73A05-9804-CV-232
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • December 29, 1998
    ...from the alleged facts. Stevens v. Department of Pub. Welfare, 566 N.E.2d 544, 546 (Ind.Ct.App.1991), trans. denied; Myers v. Moyars, 667 N.E.2d 1120, 1121 (Ind.Ct.App.1996), trans. denied. In this case, we must determine whether the alleged facts state an actionable claim according to Indi......
  • Allstate Ins. Co. v. Axsom, No. 54A05-9704-CV-124
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • July 15, 1998
    ...288 (Ind.Ct.App.1992). All reasonable inferences from the alleged facts must also be drawn in the complainant's favor. Myers v. Moyars, 667 N.E.2d 1120 (Ind.Ct.App.1996), trans. denied. Dismissal of a complaint is proper only when it appears that the claimant would not be entitled to recove......
  • KING EX REL. JACOB v. Secretary, No. 57A04-0201-CV-47.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • September 16, 2002
    ...remedies in the context of § 1983 claims presents problems similar to those presented by a notice of claim requirement. Myers v. Moyars, 667 N.E.2d 1120, 1123 (Ind.Ct.App.1996), reh'g denied. Federal substantive law controls, and any state laws or rules which inhibit the prosecution of a § ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • Higgason v. Stogsdill, No. 77A01-0403-CV-126.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • November 30, 2004
    ...the exhaustion rule applies here. We note first that Higgason's complaint asserts a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In Myers v. Moyars, 667 N.E.2d 1120, 1124 (Ind.Ct.App.1996), trans. denied, this court held, "the exhaustion of administrative remedies is not a prerequisite to bringing a § 198......
  • Thompson ex rel. Thompson v. Owensby, No. 73A05-9804-CV-232
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • December 29, 1998
    ...from the alleged facts. Stevens v. Department of Pub. Welfare, 566 N.E.2d 544, 546 (Ind.Ct.App.1991), trans. denied; Myers v. Moyars, 667 N.E.2d 1120, 1121 (Ind.Ct.App.1996), trans. denied. In this case, we must determine whether the alleged facts state an actionable claim according to Indi......
  • Allstate Ins. Co. v. Axsom, No. 54A05-9704-CV-124
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • July 15, 1998
    ...288 (Ind.Ct.App.1992). All reasonable inferences from the alleged facts must also be drawn in the complainant's favor. Myers v. Moyars, 667 N.E.2d 1120 (Ind.Ct.App.1996), trans. denied. Dismissal of a complaint is proper only when it appears that the claimant would not be entitled to recove......
  • KING EX REL. JACOB v. Secretary, No. 57A04-0201-CV-47.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • September 16, 2002
    ...remedies in the context of § 1983 claims presents problems similar to those presented by a notice of claim requirement. Myers v. Moyars, 667 N.E.2d 1120, 1123 (Ind.Ct.App.1996), reh'g denied. Federal substantive law controls, and any state laws or rules which inhibit the prosecution of a § ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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