United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
Kristine G. Baker United States District Judge
Madison Hedrick brings this action against defendant Dr.
Appalanaidu Sasapu alleging a state law claim of outrage and
against the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences by
and through the Board of Trustees of the University of
Arkansas (collectively, “UAMS”) alleging a claim
of sex discrimination and retaliation under Title IX, 20
U.S.C. § 1681(a). UAMS filed a motion to dismiss Ms.
Hedrick's complaint which is pending before the Court
(Dkt. No. 8). Ms. Hedrick filed a motion for extension of
time to file her response in opposition to UAMS's motion
(Dkt. No. 11), which the Court grants. The Court considers
her response to be timely filed and has considered her
response in ruling on the pending motion (Dkt. No. 12). UAMS
filed a reply in support of its motion to dismiss (Dkt. No.
14). For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants
UAMS's motion to dismiss Ms. Hedrick's claims against
UAMS and declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over
the state law claim of outrage Ms. Hedrick alleges against
Dr. Sasapu (Dkt. No. 8).
following facts are taken from Ms. Hedrick's complaint.
In her complaint, Ms. Hedrick states she was an employee of
UAMS working as an editor and writer in the Science
Communications Group during all relevant time periods (Dkt.
No. 1, at 1). The complaint states that Dr. Sasapu is a
hematologist practicing medicine at the UAMS Little Rock
campus (Id.). Ms. Hedrick alleges that she saw Dr.
Sasapu to treat a medical condition and that, during three
separate exams performed without a nurse or other female
present, he “touched [her] in a sexually inappropriate
manner . . . .” (Id., at 2). The day after the
third exam, March 29, 2018, Ms. Hedrick reported the behavior
in detail to UAMS Human Resources via a letter,
which is attached to the complaint (Id., at 2, 5-7).
to the complaint is a printout of the letter Ms. Hedrick
filed with the “Senior HR Director of Employee
Relations” on March 29, 2018 (Dkt. No. 1, at 5-7).
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 10(c) (“A copy of any
written instrument that is an exhibit to a pleading is part
of the pleading for all purposes.”). The letter
describes her employment at UAMS and Dr. Sasapu's
allegedly inappropriate behavior during her three exams with
him (Id.). Ms. Hedrick's letter alleges that Dr.
Sasapu, during the first exam, “probe[d] under her
clothing” without anyone else present, asked her to
disrobe but did not leave the examining room until asked,
rubbed her upper leg and thigh, touched her breasts, and
squeezed her nipples (Id., at 5-6). Ms.
Hedrick's letter further alleges that Dr. Sasapu, during
the second exam, raised up her dress, reached his hands down
Ms. Hedrick's pants and various other garments, and
touched her labia to “look for lymph nodes.”
(Id., at 6). Ms. Hedrick's letter explains that
she then sat up, at which point Dr. Sasapu offered to get a
nurse or drape if Ms. Hedrick felt uncomfortable (Dkt. No. 1,
at 6). A nurse then entered the room and “seemed
upset” and “mentioned something about how the
room was not in use and there was not supposed to be a
patient in there . . . .” (Id.). Ms.
Hedrick's letter states that she then sought out a
physician at Arkansas Children's Hospital
(“ACH”) to treat her condition instead
(Id.). Ms. Hedrick did not schedule a third exam
with Dr. Sasapu; instead, a nurse told her that Dr. Sasapu
wanted to see her before he would refer her to another
provider (Id.). Ms. Hedrick's letter states that
she went to her third exam and that she “recorded the
contact he had with me . . . .” (Dkt. No. 1, at 7). Ms.
Hedrick's letter asserts that, during the third exam, Dr.
Sasapu “lay [Ms. Hedrick] back and forcefully
unbuttoned [her] dress and then began to touch and look at
[her] breasts despite [her] telling him there was nothing
wrong with [her] breasts.” (Id.).
representative of UAMS responded via letter on April
24, 2018, and a copy of that letter is also attached to the
complaint (Id., at 8). UAMS's response letter
states that, on April 5, 2018, Ms. Hedrick's letter was
forwarded to Hospital Administration “because [UAMS]
consider[ed] the concerns [Ms. Hedrick] raised to be a
grievance related to the medical care you received rather
than a human resources issue.” (Id.). The
letter further states that “a peer review committee was
assigned to investigate your concerns.” (Dkt. No. 1, at
8). According to UAMS's letter, the committee's
investigation included a review of Ms. Hedrick's letter,
the provided videotape of Ms. Hedrick's third exam, and
interviews with Dr. Sasapu and other employees who may have
had relevant information (Id.). The committee
determined that the physical exams Dr. Sasapu performed were
appropriate for the symptoms Ms. Hedrick had described
complaint, Ms. Hedrick asserts that she “still had to
see Dr. Sasapu on the UAMS campus” and “has been
forced to find alternate medical care for her
conditions.” (Id., at 2). Furthermore, Ms.
Hedrick's complaint alleges that, because her complaints
about inappropriate sexual behavior on the part of Dr. Sasapu
were dismissed and not believed, she has been constructively
discharged from her position at UAMS (Dkt. No. 1, at 2).
Motion To Dismiss
following reasons, the Court concludes that Ms. Hedrick's
complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted. Accordingly, the Court grants UAMS's motion to
dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)
(Dkt. No. 8).
Standard Of Review
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) provides that a pleading must
contain “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief . . . .”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The purpose of this Rule is “to
give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and
the grounds upon which it rests . . . .” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal
quotation and citation omitted). “To survive a motion
to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). A claim is facially
plausible “when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
a complaint attacked by a [Federal] Rule [of Civil Procedure]
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual
allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the
‘grounds' of his ‘entitle[ment] to
relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555
(alteration in original) (citations omitted). “When
ruling on a motion to dismiss, the district court must accept
the allegations contained in the complaint as true and all
reasonable inferences from the complaint must be drawn in
favor of the nonmoving party.” Young v. City of St.
Charles, 244 F.3d 623, 627 (8th Cir. 2001). A complaint
should be dismissed for failure to state a claim under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) if “it appears
beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in
support of [her] claim which would entitle [her] to
relief.” In re K-tel Int'l Sec. Litig.,
300 F.3d 881, 904 (8th Cir. 2002) (citations omitted).
Court concludes that Ms. Hedrick's complaint fails to
state both a claim of sex discrimination and a claim of
retaliation under Title IX, 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a) against
UAMS upon which relief can be granted. Title IX prohibits sex
discrimination by educational programs that are recipients of
federal funds. Jackson v. Birmingham Bd. of Educ.,
544 U.S. 167, 173 (2005). Title IX provides that “[n]o
person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be
excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or