Bing v. Brivo Systems, LLC, No. 19-1220 (4th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff filed suit pro se against Brivo, alleging discrimination based on race in violation of Title VII. In this case, within an hour of starting orientation at Brivo, Brivo's security architect approached plaintiff and confronted him about a newspaper article that he had found after running a Google search on plaintiff. The article reported plaintiff's tangential involvement in a shooting for which he faced no charges. Nonetheless, the security architect berated plaintiff about the incident, declared plaintiff unfit for employment at Brivo, and terminated him on the spot. The district court dismissed the case with prejudice, because plaintiff failed to plead sufficient facts to plausibly support a claim of discrimination.
The Fourth Circuit held that it had appellate jurisdiction despite the district court's dismissal of the complaint without prejudice. Under Domino Sugar Corp. v. Sugar Workers Local Union 392, 10 F.3d 1064, 1067 (4th Cir. 1993), the order is appealable because the district court held that the circumstances surrounding plaintiff's termination did not expose Brivo to legal liability, and plaintiff has no additional facts that could be added to his complaint; under Chao v. Rivendell Woods, Inc., 415 F.3d 342, 345 (4th Cir. 2005), the order is appealable because the district court dismissed the complaint and directed that the case be closed; and the order is likewise appealable under Chao and In re GNC Corp., 789 F.3d at 511, because plaintiff has elected to stand on his complaint as filed.
On the merits, the court held that the district court did not err by dismissing the Title VII claims at this point in the proceedings. The court held that plaintiff failed to plead sufficient facts to plausibly claim his termination or the Google search that lead to it was racially motivated. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment.