United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
RICHARD CAPUTO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before me is the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 7) filed by
Defendant County of Lackawanna (the “County” or
Defendant”). James Bevan (“Bevan” or
“Plaintiff”), a former corrections officer at the
Lackawanna County Prison, contends that after he was granted
intermittent medical leave from mandated overtime, Defendant
adopted a policy in retaliation that resulted in the rapid
depletion of Plaintiff's available leave time. Plaintiff
alleges that once his available leave was exhausted and he
refused to work mandated overtime, Defendant terminated his
employment. Defendant's conduct, Plaintiff asserts,
violated 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.
Defendant has moved to dismiss Plaintiff's ADA/PHRA
discrimination based on disability and failure to accommodate
claims, as well as Plaintiff's FMLA interference and
denial of benefits claims. Defendant's motion to dismiss
Plaintiff's FMLA interference and denial of benefits
claims will be granted because Plaintiff fails to allege that
he was denied benefits to which he was entitled under the
FMLA. Plaintiff will, however, be permitted to proceed with
his ADA/PHRA discrimination and failure to accommodate claims
because the facts as alleged in the Complaint sufficiently
state such causes of action.
facts as pled in the Complaint are as follows:
was employed as a corrections officer at the Lackawanna
County Prison until he was terminated on June 3, 2015.
(See Doc. 1, ¶ 14). Plaintiff has a
psychological impairment, namely, severe anxiety and
depression. (See id. at ¶ 15). On account of
this impairment, Plaintiff requested, and was granted,
intermittent leave for any hours in excess of forty (40)
hours per week and/or eight (8) hours per day under the FMLA
beginning on September 16, 2014. (See id. at ¶
corrections officers were routinely mandated to work
overtime. (See id. at ¶ 24). When mandated,
Plaintiff would decline the overtime based on his approved
leave and the amount of overtime mandated to Plaintiff would
be applied to his leave and subtracted from the allotment to
which he was entitled. (See id. at ¶¶
25-26). When he was first granted intermittent leave,
Defendant treated intermittent leave in place of overtime
“for the purpose of order of subsequent mandates, the
same as for employees who had worked the mandated
overtime.” (Id. at ¶ 27).
on October 26, 2014, though, Defendant instituted a policy
mandating Plaintiff for overtime more frequently than his
co-workers and in a manner deliberately calculated to require
Plaintiff to exhaust his available medical leave. (See
id. at ¶¶ 23, 28-31). More specifically, every
time Plaintiff took intermittent leave “he was returned
to the bottom of the mandate list and was the very next
employee to be mandated again the very next time overtime was
required at the prison. The net effect of Defendant's
policy was to devour Plaintiff's contractual leave
entitlement.” (Id. at ¶¶ 29-30).
Plaintiff unsuccessfully objected to this policy. (See
id. at ¶ 31). Plaintiff was terminated on June 3,
2015 after he refused mandated overtime without available
time for intermittent leave. (See id. at ¶ 32).
When he was terminated, Plaintiff had available unexhausted
sick and vacation time per his union contract. (See
id. at ¶ 33).
employment with the County was governed by the terms of a
Collective Bargaining Agreement (the “CBA”).
(See Doc. 9, Ex. A, § 1). The CBA's
overtime provision states, in pertinent part:
1. The County shall be the sole judge of the necessity for
. . .
5. Overtime shall be worked as assigned at the direction of
the employer. The employer will attempt to assign overtime in
accordance with the following procedure: When the employer
determines the need for overtime in a classification, it will
first ask for volunteers, going from most senior to least
senior qualified non-probationary employees in that
classification on a rotational basis. If there are an
insufficient number of volunteers, the employer shall have
the right to assign such work on a non-volunteer basis
beginning with the least senior of those employees on the
shift on a rotation basis; provided, however, that in a
situation which the employer solely determines to be
emergency, it shall assign such overtime as is necessary
without regard to the above procedure.
(Id. at Art. 20, § (B)).
on the foregoing, Plaintiff commenced this action against the
County on May 25, 2017. (See Doc. 1,
generally). The Complaint sets forth the following
claims: discrimination based on disability, failure to
accommodate, and retaliation in violation of the ADA (Counts
I-III); discrimination based on disability, failure to
accommodate, and retaliation in violation of the PHRA (Counts
IV-VI); and termination (retaliation), interference and
obstruction, and denial of leave in violation of the FMLA
(Counts VII-IX). (See id.).
25, 2017, Defendant filed its motion to dismiss.
(See Doc. 7, generally). Defendant seeks
dismissal of Plaintiff's ADA and PHRA discrimination
based on disability and retaliation claims (Counts I, II, IV,
and V), as well as Plaintiff's interference and denial of
leave claims (Counts VIII and IX). (See Doc. 8,
generally). The motion to dismiss is fully briefed
and ripe for disposition.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal
of a complaint, in whole or in part, for failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 12(b)(6). “Under the ‘notice
pleading' standard embodied in Rule 8 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure, a plaintiff must come forward with
‘a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief.'” Thompson
v. Real Estate Mortg. Network, 748 F.3d 142, 147 (3d
Cir. 2014) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).
resolving a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, “a court must
consider no more than whether the complaint establishes
‘enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that
discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary elements'
of the cause of action.” Trzaska v. L'Oreal
USA, Inc., 865 F.3d 155, 162 (3d Cir. 2017) (quoting
Connelly v. Lane Constr. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 789
(3d Cir. 2016)). In reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint,
a court must take three steps: (1) identify the elements of
the claim; (2) identify conclusions that are not entitled to
the assumption of truth; and (3) assume the veracity of the
well-pleaded factual allegations and determine whether they
plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief. See
Connelly, 809 F.3d at 787 (citations omitted). “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.'”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct.
1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d
as stated, seeks dismissal of Plaintiff's ADA and PHRA
discrimination and failure to accommodate claims, as well as
the FMLA interference and denial of leave claims. The
sufficiency of the ADA and PHRA ...