United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
F. KELLY, SR. J.
Monica Losota (“Ms. Losota”) filed suit against
Defendant Child Guidance Resource Centers, Inc.
(“CGRC”) on February 16, 2018, in this Court.
(Doc. No. 1.) In her Amended Complaint, filed May 2, 2018,
Ms. Losota brings four causes of action against CGRC. (Doc.
No. 5.) In Count I, Ms. Losota claims violations of the
Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42
U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq. (Am. Compl.
¶¶ 27-37.) In Count II, she alleges violations of
the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (“PHRA”), 43
Pa. Cons. Stat. § 955. (Id. ¶¶
38-48.) In Counts III and IV, she claims violations of the
Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”), 29
U.S.C. §§ 2601, et seq. for failure to
reinstate and retaliation, respectively. (Id.
before this Court is CGRC's “Motion to Dismiss
Counts III and IV of First Amended Complaint and Motion to
Strike Punitive Damages Claim in Count II of Plaintiff's
First Amended Complaint” (Doc. No. 7), Ms. Losota's
Brief in Support of her Opposition to Defendant's Motion
to Dismiss (Doc. No. 8), and CGRC's Reply Brief in
Support of its Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 10). For the
reasons noted below, CGRC's Motion is granted in part and
denied in part.
Losota was hired in September 2013 as a mental health
professional in CGRC's “Family First”
department. (Am. Compl. ¶ 9.) On August 7, 2016, Ms.
Losota experienced double vision and was admitted to
Jefferson Hospital. (Id. ¶ 10.) Following her
discharge, she was referred to Dr. Robert Sergott, a
neuro-ophthalmologist. (Id. ¶ 11.) Dr. Sergott
diagnosed Ms. Losota with multiple sclerosis on September 2,
2016. (Id. ¶ 12.) Shortly thereafter, Ms.
Losota was informed by CGRC's Staff Development
Coordinator that she was approved for FMLA leave beginning on
August 8, 2016, with a return to work date of November 1,
2016, so that she could complete a recovery program designed
to stabilize her condition to the point that she could return
to work. (Id. ¶ 13-14.) However, during a
follow-up appointment on October 14, 2016, Dr. Sergott
informed Ms. Losota that her condition had not improved
quickly enough to meet her return to work date. (Id.
¶ 15.) Dr. Sergott estimated she would not be cleared to
work until January 16, 2017. (Id. ¶ 16.)
after her appointment with Dr. Sergott, Ms. Losota had a
meeting with CGRC's Human Resources Representative,
Marsha Ejiofo (“Ms. Ejiofo”), and Division
Director, Michael Graziano (“Mr. Graziano”), to
inform them that she would not be able to return to work on
November 1, 2016, and that she would require additional
leave. (Id. ¶ 17.) Mr. Graziano told Ms. Losota
to prepare a letter requesting additional leave, but that she
should “not worry about it” and focus on
recovering her health. (Id. ¶ 18.) Following
these instructions, Ms. Losota sent a letter, dated October
25, 2016, requesting that her leave be extended through
January 13, 2017. (Id. ¶ 19.) On October 26,
2016, Ms. Losota received a letter in response stating that
she would not be granted an extension and that her employment
would be terminated on November 1, 2016, “at the end of
[her] FMLA [leave].” (Def.'s Mem. Law in Supp., Ex. B.)
Losota was ultimately cleared to return to work at full
capacity on January 16, 2017. (Id. ¶ 21.)
However, according to Ms. Losota, CGRC refused to engage in a
meaningful back and forth towards the “development of
an accommodation” for her multiple sclerosis condition,
as required under the ADA. (Id. ¶ 22.) Ms.
Losota claims that as a direct result of her diagnosis, CGRC
terminated her employment. (Id. ¶ 24.) She also
avers that at all material times, CGRC was hostile to her
disability and her need to utilize FMLA leave. (Id.
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency
of a complaint. Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 183
(3d Cir. 1993). “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, 679
(2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007)). In deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(6), courts must “accept as true all allegations
in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be
drawn from them after construing them in the light most
favorable to the non-movant.” Davis v. Wells
Fargo, 824 F.3d 333, 341 (3d Cir. 2016) (quoting
Foglia v. Renal Ventures Mgmt., LLC, 754 F.3d 153,
154 n.1 (3d Cir. 2014)). However, courts need not
“accept mere conclusory factual allegations or legal
assertions.” In re Asbestos Prods. Liab. Litig.
(No. VI), 822 F.3d 125, 133 (3d Cir. 2016) (citing
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79). “Threadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Finally, we may consider
“only the complaint, exhibits attached to the
complaint, matters of public record, as well as undisputedly
authentic documents if the complainant's claims are based
upon [those] documents.” Davis, 824 F.3d at
341 (quoting Mayer v. Belichick, 605 F.3d 223, 230
(3d Cir. 2010)).
seeks to strike Ms. Losota's demand for punitive damages
under the PHRA. (Def.'s Mem. Law in Supp. 1.) Ms. Losota
concedes that the PHRA does not provide punitive damages as a
remedy and withdraws this demand. (Pl.'s Br. in Opp'n
Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss 1, 9.) CGRC also seeks dismissal of
Ms. Losota's claims of failure to reinstate and
retaliation under the FMLA. (Def.'s Mem. Law in Supp. 1.)
We will first address Ms. Losota's claim for failure to
reinstate under the FMLA and then her FMLA retaliation claim.
CGRC Did Not Fail to Reinstate Ms. Losota as Required by the
FMLA provides eligible employees with the right to take up to
twelve weeks of unpaid leave, as well as protection from
discrimination for exercising that right. See Panto v.
Palmer Dialysis Ctr./Total Renal Care, No. 01-6013, 2003
WL 1818990, at *6 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 7, 2003) (citing Hodgens
v. Gen. Dynamics Corp., 144 F.3d 151, 159 (1st Cir.
1998)). Under the FMLA, an employee may take twelve weeks of
leave once over a period of twelve months for specific
reasons, including “when the employee has ‘a
serious health condition that makes [him or her] unable to
perform the functions of [his or her] position.'”
Hodgens, 144 F.3d at 159 (alterations in original)
(quoting 29 U.S.C. § 2612). “Upon returning from
this statutory leave, an employee is entitled to . . . the
same, or equivalent position as the one . . . held before
taking the leave. An employer may not ‘interfere with,
restrain, or deny the exercise of or the attempt to
exercise' any rights that the FMLA guarantees.”
Frederick v. Brandywine Hosp., Inc., No. 03-3362,
2003 WL 21961372, at *1 (E.D. Pa. July 7, 2003) (internal
citation omitted) (quoting 29 U.S.C. §§ 2612,
may offer their employees more generous leave policies;
however, any policy beyond the statutorily required twelve
week period is not protected by the FMLA. See 29
C.F.R. § 825.700 (“An employer must observe any
employment benefit program or plan that provides greater
family or medical leave rights to employees than the rights
established by the FMLA.”); see also Panto,
2003 WL 1818990, at *6 ...