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IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE

SECOND JUDICIAL CIRCUIT, IN AND


FOR LEON COUNTY, FLORIDA

ROBERT FOUNTAIN,

CASE NO. 12-CA-002901


FLA BAR NO. 0739685

Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF FLORIDA,
DEPARTMENT OF
CHILDREN AND FAMILIES,
Defendant.
______________________________________/
AMENDED COMPLAINT
Plaintiff, ROBERT FOUNTAIN, hereby sues Defendant, STATE OF FLORIDA,
DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES, and alleges:
NATURE OF THE ACTION
1.

This is an action brought under Chapter 760, Fla.Stats., and under 42 U.S.C.

2000e, et seq.
2.

This is an action involving claims which are, individually, in excess of Fifteen

Thousand Dollars ($15,000), exclusive of costs and interest.


THE PARTIES
3.

At all times pertinent hereto, Plaintiff, ROBERT FOUNTAIN, has been a resident

of Florida and was employed by Defendant. Plaintiff is a member of protected classes due to his
age (over 40), due to his gender (male), due to his race (black), and due to the fact that he
reported discrimination and was retaliated against thereafter.

4.

At all times pertinent hereto, Defendant, STATE OF FLORIDA, DEPARTMENT

OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES (DCF), has been organized, existing, and/or operating under
the laws of Florida. At all times pertinent to this action, Defendant has have been an "employer"
as that term is used under the applicable laws identified above.
5.

Plaintiff has satisfied all conditions precedent to bringing this action.


STATEMENT OF ULTIMATE FACTS

6.

Plaintiff was initially hired by Defendant in or about December 1994, and is

employed as a Public Assistance Specialist II. During the relevant period, Plaintiff was
approximately 60 years of age.
7.

By way of background, on at least three occasions in 2011 or earlier, Plaintiff

applied for and/or was considered for promotion to openings as Economic Self Sufficiency
Specialist Supervisor (ESSS Super), was qualified for the position on each occasion, was never
promoted, and such positions were filled by younger white female candidates. Specifically on
two occasions in 2009, Plaintiff applied for and/or was considered for openings as ESSS Super,
was qualified for the position on both occasions, and was hired/promoted on neither. On those
two occasions, promotions to those positions were given to younger white female employees,
Lori-Lynn Eiland and Claudette Simmons, respectively. Plaintiff was more qualified for the
positions than both Eiland and Simmons.
8.

On or about early 2011corrected from 2010 set forth in Plaintiffs earlier

ComplaintPlaintiff again applied for and/or was considered for an ESSS Super position for
which he was qualified. In or about March 2011, that position was filled by a younger white
female applicant, Teresa Nadeau. Plaintiff was more qualified for the position than Nadeau.
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9.

Also on or about early 2011, Plaintiff again applied for and/or was considered for

an ESSS Super position for which he was qualified. In or about April 2011, that position was
filled by a younger white female applicant, June Jones. Plaintiff was more qualified for the
position than Jones.
10.

Also on or about early 2011, Plaintiff applied for and/or was considered for two

openings as Economic Self Sufficiency Specialist II (ESSS II), was qualified on both
occasions, and was hired/promoted on neither. In or about April 2011, those positions were
filled by younger white female applicants, Gillian Glorioso and Melissa Hendrix. Plaintiff was
more qualified for the positions than both Glorioso and Hendrix.
11.

In or about mid-2012, Plaintiff again applied for and/or was considered for an

ESSS Super position for which he was qualified. In or about September 2012, that position was
filled by a younger female applicant, Marixsa Griffith. Plaintiff was more qualified than Griffith.
12.

In or around early 2013, Plaintiff applied for and/or was considered for the

position of Operations and Management Consultant I (OMC I), for which he was qualified. In
or about February 2012, that position was filled by Jones, who as above was a younger white
female applicant. Plaintiff was more qualified for the position than Jones.
13.

Also in or around early 2013, Plaintiff again applied for and/or was considered for

an ESSS Super opening for which he was qualified. In or about March 2013, that position was
filled by a younger female applicant, Annie Williams. Plaintiff was more qualified for the
position than Williams.
14.

In or about mid-2013, Plaintiff again applied for and/or was considered for an

ESSS Super opening for which he was qualified. In and around June 2013, that position was
filed by his wife, Jeanette Fountain, a younger female applicant. Plaintiff was more qualified for
the position than Mrs. Fountain.
15.

Upon information and belief, the decisionmakers with respect to some or all of

these positions were Reginald Altazan (white male), Sheree Triplett-Roberts (black female),
Beckie Williams (white female), and/or Lori-Lynn Eiland (white female).
16.

Plaintiff has retained the undersigned to represent his interests in this cause and is

obligated to pay a reasonable fee for these services. Defendant should be made to pay said fee
under applicable law.
COUNT I-AGE DISCRIMINATION
17.

Paragraphs 1 through 16 are realleged and incorporated herein by reference.

18.

This count sets forth a claim for age discrimination under Chapter 760, Fla.Stats.

As more fully described above, Plaintiff was subjected to discrimination on the basis of his age.
At all times pertinent hereto, Plaintiff remained qualified for the positions he sought with
Defendant.
19.

Defendant knew or should have known of the offensive working conditions to

which Plaintiff was subjected because it participated in the adverse treatment of Plaintiff.
Defendant knew or should have known of these conditions as well because Plaintiff challenged
them with supervisors within Defendant and officials within Defendant perpetuated the actions
and inactions against Plaintiff. The adverse treatment of Plaintiff, together with the facts set
forth above, were brought to the attention of Defendant and Defendant perpetuated this treatment
by condoning the actions and inactions affecting Plaintiff.
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20.

Defendant harbored ill-motives and intent to cause disparate treatment of Plaintiff.

Defendant is responsible for the violations of Plaintiff's rights as set forth herein because it
exercised control over the adverse treatment of Plaintiff. In the alternative, Defendant failed to
properly supervise its employees thereby causing foreseeable harm to Plaintiff's rights set forth
herein. At all times material hereto, the actions and inactions affecting Plaintiff were committed
in the course of the employment or supervisory relationship employees had with Defendant and
with its actual or constructive knowledge. Defendant is thereby vicariously liable to Plaintiff for
all of the unlawful conduct of its agents, apparent agents, assigns, employees and officials.
21.

The actions and inactions of Defendant affected terms, conditions, and privileges

of Plaintiff's employment with Defendant.


22.

Plaintiff has been damaged as a direct or indirect result of Defendants

discriminatory actions and/or inactions, which damages include but may not be limited to the
following: mental pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of capacity for the enjoyment of
life, embarrassment, humiliation, lost wages, and other remuneration/emoluments associated
with the positions and other tangible and intangible damages. These damages have occurred in
the past, are continuing at present, and will most likely occur in the future.
COUNT II-GENDER DISCRIMINATION
23.

Paragraphs 1 through 16 are realleged and incorporated herein by reference.

24.

This count sets forth a claim against Defendant for discrimination based upon

gender brought under Chapter 760, Fla.Stats., and 42 U.S.C. 2000e, et seq.

25.

Plaintiff has been the victim of discrimination on the basis of his gender in that

Plaintiff was treated differently than similarly situated employees of Defendant who were female
and has been subject to hostility and poor treatment on the basis, at least in part, of his gender.
26.

Defendant is liable for the differential treatment and hostility toward Plaintiff

because it controlled the actions and inactions of the persons making decisions affecting him or it
knew or should have known of these actions and inactions and failed to take prompt and
adequate remedial action or took no action at all to prevent the abuses to Plaintiff. Furthermore,
Defendant knowingly condoned and/or ratified the differential treatment of Plaintiff as more fully
set forth above because it allowed the differential treatment and participated in same. Defendant's
known allowance and/or ratification of these actions and inactions created, perpetuated and
facilitated an abusive and offensive work environment within the meaning of the statutes
referenced above.
27.

In essence, the actions of agents of Defendant, which were each condoned and/or

ratified by Defendant, were of a gender-based nature and in violation of the laws set forth herein.
28.

The discrimination complained of herein affected terms, conditions, and

privileges of Plaintiff's continued employment with Defendant.


29.

Defendant's conduct and omissions constituted intentional discrimination and

unlawful employment practices based upon gender in violation of Chapter 760, Fla.Stats., and 42
U.S.C. 2000e, et seq.
30.

As a direct and proximate result of Defendant's discriminatory actions and

inactions described above, Plaintiff has suffered emotional distress, mental pain and suffering,
past and future pecuniary losses, inconvenience, bodily injury, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment
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of life and other non-pecuniary losses, along with lost back and front pay, interest on pay,
bonuses, and other benefits. These damages have occurred in the past, are permanent and
continuing.
COUNT III-RACE DISCRIMINATION
31.

Paragraphs 1 through 16 are realleged and incorporated herein by reference.

32.

This count sets forth a claim against Defendant for race-based discrimination

brought under Chapter 760, Fla.Stats., and 42 U.S.C. 2000e, et seq.


33.

Plaintiff has been the victim of discrimination on the basis of Plaintiffs race in

that Plaintiff was treated differently than similarly situated employees of Defendant who are not
black and has been subject to hostility and poor treatment on the basis, at least in part, of
Plaintiffs race.
34.

Defendant is liable for the differential treatment and hostility toward Plaintiff

because it controlled the actions and inactions of the persons making decisions affecting Plaintiff
or it knew or should have known of these actions and inactions and failed to take prompt and
adequate remedial action or took no action at all to prevent the abuses to Plaintiff. Furthermore,
Defendant knowingly condoned and/or ratified the differential treatment of Plaintiff as more fully
set forth above because it allowed the differential treatment and participated in same.
Defendant's known allowance and/or ratification of these actions and inactions created,
perpetuated and facilitated an abusive and offensive work environment within the meaning of the
statutes referenced above.
35.

In essence, the actions of agents of Defendant, which were each condoned and/or

ratified by Defendant, were of a race-based nature and in violation of the laws set forth herein.
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36.

The discrimination complained of herein affected terms, conditions, and

privileges of Plaintiff's continued employment with Defendant.


37.

Defendant's actions and omissions constituted intentional discrimination and

unlawful employment practices based upon race in violation of Chapter 760, Fla.Stats., and 42
U.S.C. 2000e, et seq.
38.

As a direct and proximate result of Defendant's conduct described above, Plaintiff

has suffered emotional distress, mental pain and suffering, past and future pecuniary losses,
inconvenience, bodily injury, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life and other non-pecuniary
losses, along with lost back and front pay, interest on pay, bonuses, and other benefits. These
damages have occurred in the past, are permanent and continuing.
COUNT IV- RETALIATION
39.

Paragraphs 1 through 16 are realleged and incorporated herein by reference.

40.

This count sets forth a claim against Defendant for unlawful retaliation after Plaintiff

reported unlawful employment practices adversely affecting him, under Chapter 760, Fla.Stats., and
42 U.S.C. 2000e, et seq.
41.

The foregoing unlawful actions by Defendant were purposeful.

42.

Plaintiff is a member of a protected class because the opposed unlawful practices and

were the victim of retaliation thereafter. There is a causal connection between the opposing of
unlawful practices and the adverse action taken thereafter.
43.

As a direct and proximate result of the foregoing unlawful acts and omissions,

Plaintiff has suffered mental anguish, emotional distress, expense, loss of benefits, embarrassment,

humiliation, damage to reputation, illness, lost wages, loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life, and
other tangible and intangible damages. These damages are continuing and are permanent.
PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for the following relief:
(a)

that process issue and this court take jurisdiction over this cause;

(b)

that this court grant equitable relief against Defendant under the applicable

counts set forth above, mandating Defendant's obedience to the laws enumerated herein and
providing other equitable relief to Plaintiff;
(c)

that this court enter judgment against Defendant and for Plaintiff awarding

damages to Plaintiff from Defendant for Defendant's violations of law enumerated herein;
(d)

that this court enter judgment against Defendant and for Plaintiff

permanently enjoining Defendant from future violations of law enumerated herein;


(e)

that this court enter judgment against Defendant and for Plaintiff awarding

Plaintiff costs, attorney's fees, and interest as provided by law; and


(f)

that this court grant such other and further relief as is just and proper under

the circumstances.

DEMAND FOR TRIAL BY JURY


Plaintiff hereby demands a trial by jury on all issues herein that are so triable.
Respectfully submitted,

s/ Sassan Achtchi
Marie A. Mattox [FBN: 0739685]
Sassan Achtchi [FBN: 0083981]
MARIE A. MATTOX, P.A.
310 East Bradford Road
Tallahassee, FL 32303
Telephone: (850) 383-4800
Facsimile: (850) 383-4801
ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFF
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I HEREBY CERTIFY that a true and correct copy of the foregoing has been furnished to
counsel listed below by electronic filing this 2nd day of September.
Carly J. Schrader
Nabors, Giblin & Nickerson, P.A.
1500 Mahan Dr., Ste. 200
PO Box 11008
Tallahassee, FL 32302
cschrader@ngnlaw.com
legal-admin@ngnlaw.com
/s/ Sassan Achtchi
Sassan Achtchi

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