Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Arozarena v. Carpenter Co.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

May 24, 2018

GINA AROZARENA, Plaintiff,
v.
CARPENTER CO, Defendant.

          OPINION

          JOSEPH F. LEESON, JR. United States District Judge

         Defendant's Partial Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 4 - Granted

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff Gina Arozarena has filed a Complaint against her former employer, Defendant Carpenter Co., alleging that it discriminated against her on the basis of her pregnancy and on the basis of her disability when it terminated her employment in June 2016. Carpenter Co. has filed a partial Motion to Dismiss with respect to Arozarena's disability discrimination claims, contending that Arozareba has failed to allege that she was disabled. For the reasons set forth below, Carpenter Co.'s Motion is granted, but Arozarena will be given leave to file an amended complaint.

         II. Background

         Arozarena alleges that in May 2015 she was hired by Carpenter Co. as a machine operator. Compl. ¶ 9, ECF No. 1. In November 2015 she notified Carpenter Co. that she was pregnant, after which she “became the target of disparaging behavior” from her manager, Chris Huntsinger. Compl. ¶ 10. Subsequently, Arozarena “began to have complications with her pregnancy and in the last two months of her pregnancy found herself having to see her doctor twice a week to be monitored.” Compl. ¶ 27. She explained this to Huntsinger and to Judy Barrett, Carpenter Co.'s human resources representative, and provided them with all of her doctor's notes. Compl. ¶ 28. On June 4, 2016, Carpenter Co. terminated her employment, stating that the termination was based on her “excessive absences.” Compl. ¶ 30. Arozarena alleges that Carpenter Co.'s primary motivation for terminating her was that she was pregnant and that she missed work due to her pregnancy. Compl. ¶ 34.

         On the basis of these allegations, Arozarena asserts, under Counts I and III of the Complaint, that Carpenter Co. discriminated against her on the basis of her pregnancy, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e-2000e-17. Under Count II of the Complaint, Arozarena asserts that Carpenter Co. discriminated against her on the basis of her disability, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-213. Finally, under Count IV of the Complaint, Arozarena asserts that Carpenter Co.'s allegedly discriminatory conduct violated the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (“PHRA”), 43 P.S. §§ 951-963.

         In response to Arozarena's Complaint, Carpenter Co. filed the present Partial Motion to Dismiss with respect to Arozarena's disability discrimination claims in Counts II and IV, [1]contending that Azorarena has failed to allege that she was disabled.

         III. Standard of Review - Rule 12(b)(6)

         In rendering a decision on a motion to dismiss, this Court must “accept all factual allegations as true [and] construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 233 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Pinker v. Roche Holdings Ltd., 292 F.3d 361, 374 n.7 (3d Cir. 2002)) (internal quotation marks omitted). Only if “the ‘[f]actual allegations . . . raise a right to relief above the speculative level'” has the plaintiff stated a plausible claim. Id. at 234 (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 540, 555 (2007)). “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.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). However, “the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions.” Id. (explaining that determining “whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief . . . [is] a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense”). The defendant bears the burden of demonstrating that a plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Hedges v. United States, 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir. 2005) (citing Kehr Packages, Inc. v. Fidelcor, Inc., 926 F.2d 1406, 1409 (3d Cir. 1991)).

         IV. Analysis

         As indicated above, Carpenter Co. argues that Arozarena has failed to allege that she is disabled, which is a necessary element of a disability discrimination claim. Carpenter Co. argues that it is well settled that pregnancy, in itself, is not a disability under the ADA or PHRA. Further, with respect to for Arozarena's allegation that she had “complications with her pregnancy, ” Carpenter Co. contends that this is nothing more than a conclusory assertion that fails to specify what complications Arozarena allegedly experienced.

         Arozarena responds that courts have found that complications arising out of pregnancy can constitute a disability, and that whether such complications actually rise to the level of disability is a question of fact. Further, she contends that her allegation that she had to see her doctor twice a week as a result of her pregnancy-related complications suffices to allege the existence of a disability. In the alternative, in the event that the Court grants Carpenter Co.'s Motion, Arozarena seeks leave to amend her disability claim.

         The ADA defines “disability” as either (1) “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual;” (2) “a record of such an impairment;” or (3) “being regarded as having such an impairment.” 42 U.S.C. § 12102(1). The PHRA contains a substantially similar definition of “handicap or disability.” See 43 P.S. § 954.[2]“[M]ajor life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.” 42 U.S.C. § 12102(2)(A). The determination of whether an individual is substantially limited in a major life activity must be made ‘on a case-by-case basis.'” Matthews v. Pennsylvania Dep't of Corr., 613 Fed.Appx. 163, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.