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Case 4:17-cv-00443-JM Document 5 Filed 08/10/17 Page 1 of 17

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT


EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
LITTLE ROCK DIVISION

YOLANDA FARRAR PLAINTIFF

vs. NO. 4:17-CV-00443 JM

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF
HUMAN SERVICES DEFENDANT

ANSWER

COMES now Defendant, Arkansas Department of Human Services, by and through its

attorneys, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Assistant Attorney General Vincent P. France,

and for its Answer states:

1. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 1 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

2. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 2 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

3. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 3 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

4. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 4 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

5. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 5 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

6. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 6 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

7. Defendant admits that it conducts its business in Little Rock.

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8. Defendant admits that venue is proper as stated in Paragraph 8 of Plaintiffs

Complaint.

9. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 9 of

Plaintiffs Complaint that Plaintiff exhausted her administrative remedies.

10. Defendant admits that Plaintiff is a resident of Little Rock, Arkansas.

11. Defendant admits that it employed Plaintiff from October 24, 2016 to on or about

March 22, 2017; however Defendant denies that Plaintiff was employed by Defendant in various

capacities throughout the time of her employment as stated in Paragraph 11 of Plaintiffs

Complaint.

12. Defendant admits that the Arkansas Department of Human Services is a

governmental entity of the State of Arkansas.

13. Defendant admits that its principal place of business is as stated in Paragraph 13

of Plaintiffs Complaint.

14. Defendant admits that Plaintiff worked at its location in Little Rock, Arkansas.

15. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 15 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

16. Paragraph 16 of Plaintiffs Complaint does not require a response; however, to the

extent that it may require a response, Defendant denies the allegations contained therein.

17. Defendant admits Paragraph 17 of Plaintiffs Complaint that Defendant hired

Plaintiff, but Defendant denies that Plaintiff was hired by Arkansas Department of Human

Resources.

18. Defendant admits Paragraph 18 of Plaintiffs Complaint.

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19. Defendant admits Paragraph 19 of Plaintiffs Complaint that Plaintiffs position

was with the Payment Integrity Unit, but Defendant denies that the Payment Integrity Unit is part

of the Arkansas Department of Human Resources.

20. Defendant admits Paragraph 20 of Plaintiffs Complaint.

21. Defendant admits Paragraph 21 of Plaintiffs Complaint.

22. Defendant admits that Jalene Joyner, Erin DeMarco, and Lacey Wynnes were

Plaintiffs coworkers employed by Defendant.

23. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 23 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

24. Defendant admits that John Parke knew Plaintiffs landlord; however, Defendant

denies all other statements, allegations, and inferences in Paragraph 24 of Plaintiffs Complaint.

25. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 25 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

26. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 26 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

27. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 27 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

28. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 28 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

29. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 29 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

30. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 30 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

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31. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 31 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

32. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 32 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

33. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 33 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

34. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 34 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

35. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 35 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

36. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 36 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

37. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 37 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

38. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 38 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

39. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 39 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

40. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 40 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

41. Defendant admits Paragraph 41 of Plaintiffs Complaint only to the extent that at

some point in early 2017, Plaintiff and others in the office learned of the possibility of a

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legislatively mandated pay increase for certain employees in the office. Defendant denies all

other statements and allegations contained therein.

42. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 42 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

43. Defendant admits that Erin DeMarco and Plaintiff had RN certifications.

44. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 44 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

45. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 45 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

46. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 46 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

47. Defendant admits the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 47 of

Plaintiffs Complaint to the extent that they are supported by the public record of the Arkansas

Legislature.

48. Defendant lacks sufficient knowledge at this time to admit or deny the statements

and allegations contained in Paragraph 48 of Plaintiffs Complaint and therefore must deny them.

49. Defendant admits that Plaintiff was likely to receive a pay raise under the terms of

ACT 365.

50. Defendant lacks sufficient knowledge at this time to admit or deny the statements

and allegations contained in Paragraph 50 of Plaintiffs Complaint and therefore must deny them.

51. Defendant lacks sufficient knowledge to admit or deny and therefore it must deny

the allegations contained in Paragraph 51 of Plaintiffs Complaint.

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52. Defendant lacks sufficient knowledge to admit or deny and therefore it must deny

the allegations contained in Paragraph 52 of Plaintiffs Complaint.

53. Defendant admits the statement and allegation in Paragraph 53 but only to the

extent that it admits that Plaintiff sent emails to Mr. Parke, but Defendant denies Paragraph 53 to

the extent that the emails sent contained anything regarding discriminatory animus.

54. Defendant admits the statement in Paragraph 54 that Plaintiff made complaints

about her coworkers but Defendant denies that Plaintiff made the specific complaints alleged in

Paragraph 54.

55. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 55 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

56. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 56 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

57. Defendant admits Paragraph 57 of Plaintiffs Complaint ONLY to the extent that

Plaintiff attempted to file an internal complaint regarding employment discrimination. Thus,

Defendant denies that Plaintiff actually filed a complaint as alleged in Paragraph 57 of Plaintiffs

Complaint.

58. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 58 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

59. Defendant denies Paragraph 59 of Plaintiffs Complaint that Plaintiff levied

specific allegations of racial discrimination in the 2808 complaint she filed.

60. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 60 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

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61. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 61 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

62. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 62 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

63. Defendant admits the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 63 of the

Complaint only to the extent that Mr. Parke became aware of the 2808 complaint filed by

Plaintiff at some point in time. Defendant denies any and all other statements and allegations

contained therein.

64. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 64 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

65. Defendant admits that Paragraph 65 of Plaintiffs Complaint only to the extent of

admitting that Plaintiff complained about the work environment.

66. Defendant admits Paragraph 66 that Plaintiff complained to Mr. Parke about her

coworkers.

67. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 67 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

68. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 68 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

69. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 69 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

70. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 70 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

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71. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 71 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

72. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 72 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

73. Defendant admits that Felicia Brown was asked to speak with Plaintiff and to

review her work.

74. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 74 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

75. Defendant admits that Plaintiff met with Ms. Bowman but denies all other

statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 75 of Plaintiffs Complaint.

76. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 76 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

77. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 77 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

78. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 78 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

79. Defendant admits the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 79 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

80. Defendant admits the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 80 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

81. Defendant admits the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 81 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

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82. Defendant lacks sufficient knowledge to admit or deny Paragraph 82 of Plaintiffs

Complaint and therefore must deny the allegations contained therein.

83. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 83 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

84. Defendant admits Paragraph 84 only to the extent of admitting that a scriveners

error was made on the letter as to the deadline for Plaintiff to submit documentation refuting Mr.

Parkes allegations.

85. Defendant admits Paragraph 85 only to the extent of admitting that a scriveners

error was made on the letter as to the deadline for Plaintiff to submit documentation refuting Mr.

Parkes allegations and Defendant denies that the actual deadline for Plaintiff to submit contrary

evidence had already expired.

86. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 86 of

Plaintiffs Complaint. Moreover, Defendant is unable to know what Plaintiff believes and must

also therefore deny the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 86 of Plaintiffs

Complaint.

87. Defendant admits Paragraph 87 that Plaintiff refused to sign the letter.

88. Defendant admits Paragraph 88 that Mr. Parke had Kitten Dixon put a notation on

the letter that Plaintiff refused to sign.

89. Defendant lacks sufficient knowledge to admit or deny Paragraph 89 and

therefore must deny the statements and allegations contained therein.

90. Defendant admits the statement contained in Paragraph 90.

91. Defendant admits the statements contained in Paragraph 91.

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92. Defendant lacks sufficient knowledge to admit or deny Paragraph 92 and

therefore must deny the statements and allegations contained therein.

93. Defendant admits the statements contained in Paragraph 93.

94. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 94 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

95. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 95 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

96. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 96 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

97. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 97 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

98. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 98 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

99. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 99 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

100. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 100 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

101. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 101 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

102. Defendant admits that Plaintiff was terminated on or about March 22, 2017.

103. Defendant admits Paragraph 103 of Plaintiffs Complaint.

104. Defendant admits Paragraph 104 of Plaintiffs Complaint.

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105. Defendant lacks sufficient knowledge at this time to admit or deny the statements

and allegations contained in Paragraph 105 of Plaintiffs Complaint and therefore are denied.

106. Defendant lacks sufficient knowledge at this time to admit or deny the statements

and allegations contained in Paragraph 106 of Plaintiffs Complaint and therefore are denied.

107. Defendant lacks sufficient knowledge at this time to admit or deny the statements

and allegations contained in Paragraph 107 of Plaintiffs Complaint and therefore are denied.

108. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 108 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

109. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 109 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

110. Defendant admits Paragraph 110 of Plaintiffs Complaint.

111. Defendant admits Paragraph 111 of Plaintiffs Complaint.

112. Defendant lacks sufficient knowledge at this time to admit or deny the statements

and allegations contained in Paragraph 112 of Plaintiffs Complaint and therefore are denied.

113. Paragraph 113 of Plaintiffs Complaint does not require a response; however, to

the extent that it does require a response Defendant denies that statements and allegations

contained therein.

114. Defendant admits that Plaintiff is African American.

115. Defendant admits it employed Plaintiff as a Registered Nurse, Coding Analyst.

116. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 116 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

117. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 117 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

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118. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 118 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

119. Defendant admits Paragraph 119 only to the extent that Plaintiff was terminated

from her position.

120. Defendant admits Paragraph 120 of Plaintiffs Complaint.

121. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 121 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

122. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 122 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

123. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 123 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

124. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 124 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

125. Paragraph 125 of Plaintiffs Complaint does not require a response; however, to

the extent that it does require a response Defendant denies that statements and allegations

contained therein.

126. Defendant admits Plaintiff is African American.

127. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 127 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

128. Defendant admits that Plaintiff was terminated on or about March 22, 2017.

129. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 129 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

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130. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 130 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

131. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 131 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

132. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 132 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

133. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 133 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

134. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 134 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

135. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 135 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

136. Paragraph 136 of Plaintiffs Complaint does not require a response; however, to

the extent that it does require a response Defendant denies that statements and allegations

contained therein.

137. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 137 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

138. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 138 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

139. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 139 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

140. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 140 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

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141. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 141 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

142. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 142 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

143. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 143 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

144. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 144 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

145. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 145 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

146. Defendant denies the statements and allegations contained in Paragraph 146 of

Plaintiffs Complaint.

147. Defendant denies that Plaintiff is entitled to any of the relief sought in Paragraphs

1 through 8 under the heading of Prayer for Relief in Plaintiffs Complaint.

AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES

148. Defendant affirmatively pleads that Plaintiffs Complaint fails to state a claim

upon which relief can be granted and, therefore, it should be dismissed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)

of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

149. Defendant affirmatively pleads that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon

which relief can be granted because Defendant is not a person amenable to suit for damages

under 42 U.S.C. 1983.

150. Defendant affirmatively pleads that Plaintiffs claims against Defendant are

barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity.

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151. Defendant affirmatively pleads that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction

over this action.

152. Defendant affirmatively pleads insufficient process.

153. Defendant affirmatively pleads insufficient service of process.

154. Defendant affirmatively pleads that Plaintiff's claims are barred by the applicable

statutes of limitations.

155. Defendant affirmatively pleads that Plaintiff's claims are barred by the doctrines

of laches and unclean hands.

156. Defendant affirmatively pleads that Plaintiffs claims are barred based upon the

after-acquired-evidence doctrine.

157. Defendant affirmatively pleads that any damages received by Plaintiff are entitled

to be offset as a result of Plaintiffs violation of Ark. Code Ann. 5-41-104, as well as damages

that would be owed by Plaintiff under Ark. Code Ann. 5-41-106.

158. Defendant affirmatively pleads that Plaintiff failed to mitigate damages.

159. Defendant affirmatively pleads that Plaintiff failed to exhaust her administrative

remedies.

160. Defendant affirmatively pleads that Plaintiff was terminated for legitimate, non-

discriminatory reasons and neither discrimination nor retaliation were factors in the decision to

terminate the Plaintiffs employment.

161. Defendant affirmatively pleads that even if a jury finds that discrimination or

retaliation were motivating factors in the decision to terminate the Plaintiff, Defendant would

have made the same decision even if there had been no illegal motivating factor.

162. Defendant respectfully requests a jury trial.

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WHEREFORE, Defendant Arkansas Department of Human Services respectfully

requests that the Complaint be dismissed and for all other just and proper relief.

Respectfully Submitted,
LESLIE RUTLEDGE,
Attorney General

By: /s/ Vincent P. France


Vincent P. France
Ark Bar No. 2010063
Assistant Attorney General
Arkansas Attorney General's Office
323 Center Street, Suite 200
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: (501) 682-1314
Fax: (501) 682-2591
Email: vincent.france@arkansasag.gov
Attorneys for Defendant

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CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

I, Vincent P. France, hereby certify that on August 10, 2017, I electronically filed the
foregoing with the Clerk of the Court using the CM/ECF system, which shall send notification to
the following participants:

Alan G. Crone acrone@cronelawfirmplc.com

/s/ Vincent P. France


Vincent P. France

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