Terminated from her position as Chief Deputy of Motor Vehicles by Bandera County’s elected Tax Assessor/Collector, who cited “a mistake on two title forms” as the reason for dismissal, Quest claimed her dismissal violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). Slip op. at 1-2. Bandera County filed a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, contending that (a) it was not an ADEA “employer” because the elected Tax Assessor/Collector was vested with hiring/firing authority, and (b) Quest had failed to adequately allege causation. Id. at 5.
The District Court noted that the ADEA’s statutory exception for “personal staff” of elected officials did not lend itself to Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal; “[t]he question whether a person or entity is an ‘employee’ or employer’ for purposes of the ADEA is a highly factual inquiry.” Id. at 8. The District Court sided with the County, however, on the adequacy of Quest’s causation allegations. She alleged age discrimination, but she failed to allege any facts pointing to age as the cause for her dismissal. Thus, the District Court dismissed Quest’s ADEA claim with leave to file an amended complaint within 30 days. Id. at 13-16.