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Kofa-Lloyd v. Brookside Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

March 21, 2014

BEATRICE KOFA-LLOYD, Plaintiff,
v.
BROOKSIDE HEALTHCARE & REHABILITATION CENTER, LLC, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

NITZA I. QUIÑONES ALEJANDRO, District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Before the Court is a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint filed by Defendant Brookside Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center, LLC ("Brookside") pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (Rule) 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. [ECF 4]. Plaintiff Beatrice Kofa-Lloyd ("Kofa-Lloyd") filed a one-count complaint in state court against Brookside averring that she was wrongfully terminated from her employment to prevent her from filing a workers' compensation claim, an action against Pennsylvania's public policy. Brookside timely removed the complaint to federal court. [ECF 1]. The motion is ripe for consideration since Kofa-Lloyd filed a memorandum opposing the motion, followed by a reply. [ECF 7, 9].

For the reasons set forth, Brookside's motion to dismiss is granted.

BACKGROUND

Briefly, the pertinent facts described in the complaint, taken as true and viewed in the light most favorable to Kofa-Lloyd, are as follows:

On June 11, 2012, Kofa-Lloyd, a licensed practical nurse, was hired by Brookside. Four months later, on October 21, 2012, Kofa-Lloyd suffered a work-related injury to her right knee while pushing a medication cart. She informed her immediate supervisor of her injury and was given Ibuprofen for the pain. Kofa-Lloyd continued to work despite a noticeable limp.
Kofa-Lloyd was not scheduled to work from October 22, 2012, to November 2, 2012. She returned to work on November 3, 2012. A week later, on November 10, 2012, Kofa-Lloyd fell at work, requiring the assistance of two co-workers to stand up.
On November 17, 2012, Kofa-Lloyd began wearing a knee brace and a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit. Kofa-Lloyd contends that Brookside's management, specifically her immediate supervisor, acted with animosity towards her work injury and questioned her ability to work in light of the injury and knee brace.
On November 30, 2012, a co-worker named Roy "verbally assaulted" Kofa-Lloyd and took over her scheduled portion of the work, saying that he was disregarding the work schedule because he preferred her section and "acted abusively" towards her.
On December 3, 2012, Kofa-Lloyd was terminated for "unprofessional conduct towards a co[-]worker." Kofa-Lloyd believes that said co-worker, who initiated the unprofessional incident, was not terminated.
Kofa-Lloyd contends that she was terminated to prevent her from filing a claim for workers' compensation benefits.

LEGAL STANDARD OF REVIEW

When considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the court "must accept all of the complaint's well-pleaded facts as true, but may disregard any legal conclusions." Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009). The court must determine "whether the facts alleged in the complaint are sufficient to show that the plaintiff has a plausible claim for relief.'" Id. at 211 (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009)). The complaint must do more than merely allege the plaintiff's entitlement to relief; it must "show such an entitlement with its facts." Id. (citations omitted). "[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)) (alterations in original). "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." Id. at 678 (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported ...


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