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Michael Bowman v. St. Luke's Quakertown Hospital

December 13, 2012

MICHAEL BOWMAN,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
ST. LUKE'S QUAKERTOWN HOSPITAL,: DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Stengel, J.

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiff Michael Bowman brings this employment discrimination action against Defendant St. Luke's Quakertown Hospital (St. Luke's). Bowman alleges violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq., and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA), 43 P.S. § 951 et seq. St. Luke's moved to dismiss. For the following reasons, I will deny the motion in part and grant it in part.

I. BACKGROUND

The Complaint sets forth the following facts: St. Luke's hired Bowman in May 2005 as an emergency medical technician and vehicle driver (EMT/EVO). Compl. ¶¶ 12-13. Bowman suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA) on December 23, 2009.*fn1 Id. ¶ 14. Bowman subsequently informed Shelly Malley, human resources manager at St. Luke's, that he suffered a TIA. Id. ¶ 15. He also requested leave under the FMLA. Id.

Malley responded that it was unnecessary for Bowman to apply for FMLA leave, since had accrued over 200 hours of sick leave. Id.

Bowman returned to work on January 4, 2010. Id. ¶ 16. Upon his return, St. Luke's personnel "subjected him to a barrage of discriminatory treatment on the basis of his disability." Id. Specifically, Kermit Gorr, executive director at St. Luke's, repeatedly accused Bowman of being "weak" and "making up" that he suffered a TIA. Id. ¶ 17.

Beginning in March 2010, "various members of [St. Luke's] management," including Gorr and Malley, disciplined Bowman for excessive absenteeism. Id. ¶ 18. Bowman claims that his absences during this time were "due to additional" TIAs*fn2 and that he never exceeded his accrued sick leave or failed to follow St. Luke's call-off procedures. Id. "As further discrimination," on July 1, 2010, Bowman reported to work on time but was sent home "because there was noone [sic] available to serve as his ambulance partner." Id. ¶ 19. Bowman alleges St. Luke's recorded him absent that day, "despite his availability and willingness to work." Id.

On August 10, 2010, St. Luke's terminated Bowman's employment due to excessive absenteeism. Id. ¶ 20. At that time, Bowman had 74 hours of accrued sick leave remaining. Id. ¶ 21. Bowman claims St. Luke's did not terminate other "similarly situated, non-disabled" employees "whose absences far exceeded" his. Id. ¶ 20.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A. Rule 12(b)(6)

A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) examines the legal sufficiency of the complaint. Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957). The factual allegations must be sufficient to make the claim for relief more than just speculative. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). "To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.' A claim has facial plausibility when the pleaded factual content allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). "[C]onclusory or 'bare-bones' allegations will no[t] . . . survive a motion to dismiss." Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009).

My inquiry at the motion to dismiss stage is two-fold. First, I must separate the factual and legal elements of each claim. I "must accept all of the complaint's well-pleaded facts as true, but may disregard any legal conclusions." Fowler, 578 U.S. at 210-11. And second, I must "determine whether the facts alleged in the complaint are sufficient to show that the plaintiff has a 'plausible claim for relief.'" Id. (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679). "[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not 'show[n]'-'that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2)).

B. Extrinsic documents

St. Luke's seeks dismissal pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) or, in the alternative, summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56(c). With no record before me, I will not treat the present motion as one for summary judgment. Accordingly, because St. Luke's attached to its motion nine exhibits, I must briefly address what documents I may consider at the motion to dismiss stage.

In deciding a motion to dismiss, courts generally consider only the allegations contained in the complaint, any exhibits attached to the complaint, and matters of public record. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. v. White, 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993). However, "a court may consider a document that is 'integral to or explicitly relied upon in the complaint' without converting the motion to dismiss into one for summary judgment." In re Burlington Coat Factory Securities Litigation, 114 F.3d 1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997). For instance, a court may consider a document attached to a motion to dismiss, provided that its authenticity is undisputed ...


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