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Riley v. Wal-Mart Stores East

September 28, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ambrose, District Judge



Plaintiff Shakyra H. Riley brings this action alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 1201 et seq. ("ADA"). Defendant Wal-Mart Stores East, LP ("Wal-Mart") moves to dismiss the action on the grounds that Plaintiff fails to state a claim under the ADA, and failed to exhaust her administrative remedies with respect to her retaliation claim. For the reasons set forth below, I grant Defendant's motion to dismiss Plaintiff's ADA claims without prejudice.

I. Applicable Standards

In deciding whether to grant or deny a motion to dismiss brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the United States Supreme Court has held:

While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculativelevel, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).

Bell Atlantic Co. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citation and footnote omitted); see also, Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (a plaintiff's factual allegations must be enough to raise the right to relief above the speculative level).

More recently, in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 11937, 1949 (2009), the Supreme Court held that "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." The Supreme Court went on to specifically highlight the two principles which underpinned its decision in Twombly. First, for the purposes of a motion to dismiss, courts must accept as true all factual allegations set forth in the complaint, but courts are not bound to accept as true any legal conclusions couched as factualallegations. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949-50; see also, Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside 2009 WL 2501662, at *5 (3d Cir. Aug. 18, 2009). Second, a complaint will only survive a motion to dismiss if it states a plausible claim for relief, which requires a court to engage in a context-specific analysis, drawing on the court's judicial experience and common sense. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950; Fowler, 2009 WL 2501662, at * 5.Where well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged - but has not shown - that the complainant is entitled to relief. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950.

II. Factual Allegations

Plaintiff was employed by Wal-Mart beginning on November 16, 2001. (Complaint [Docket No. 11-2], at ¶ 5.) On or about April 30, 2008, Plaintiff was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. (Id. at ¶ 6.) At the time of her diagnosis, Plaintiff held the position of assistant manager at the store. In July 2008, Plaintiff missed approximately two weeks of work due to her condition. (Id. at ¶ 7.) When she returned, she provided Defendant with "Leave of Absence paperwork" which described her disorder. (Id.)

On August 1, 2008, Plaintiff became incoherent at work due to a combination of her bi-polar disorder medication and hypoglycemia. (Id. at ¶ 8.) Her symptoms included incoherence, slurred speech and the inability to stay awake. (Id.) Plaintiff's supervisor, observing her condition, informed Plaintiff that she must submit to a drug screening or she would be terminated. (Id.) Plaintiff, in her incoherent state, agreed. Plaintiff's supervisor then drove Plaintiff to various drug testing facilities in the area. (Id. at ¶ 9.)

On October 6, 2008, Plaintiff filed a complaint (the "Charge") with the Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission ("PHRC"). [Docket No. 11-3.] The Charge alleges that Plaintiff's employer was aware of her bipolar condition, yet failed to accommodate her with respect to the August 1, 2008 incident. Id. at ¶¶ 15-16. According to Plaintiff, a store manager was not sent out for a drug test when he had a similar episode a few months earlier. (Id. at ¶ 18.) Plaintiff also alleges that she requires accommodation with respect to her hypoglycemia. (Id. at ¶ 30.) The Charge was also filed with the EEOC. (Id. at ¶ 37; see also, Docket No. 11-2, at ¶ 2(a).)

On or about February 1, 2009, Wal-Mart posted a notice for a Department Manger position at the Mount Pleasant store. (Docket No. 11-2, at ΒΆ 11.) Plaintiff had previously held that position at a different store, and it would have been a promotion from her current position as assitant manager. ...

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