United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
F. LEESON, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 14 - Granted
Stephen Flynn filed the above-captioned action asserting a
violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C.
§ 12101 et seq. (“ADA”), and the
Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, 43 P.S. § 955
(“PHRA”). Flynn alleges that his former
employers, Defendants eKidz Care, Inc. and ePeople
Healthcare, wrongfully terminated him based on his
“disability:” a seizure disorder, for which he
took medication causing hand tremors. Defendants move to
dismiss the Complaint for failure to state a claim, arguing
that Flynn's disorder is not a “disability”
under the meaning of the ADA. For the reasons set forth
below, the Complaint is dismissed without prejudice.
Complaint alleges the following. Flynn did not disclose his
seizure disorder to Defendants when he was hired. However,
immediately after Flynn began working on or about March 13,
2018, at Defendants' Allentown location, his co-workers
observed the physical side effects of his medication. His
co-workers repeatedly made comments complaining about his
shaking hands and loud typing. Also, Defendants' Office
Manager told Flynn almost daily that Defendants did not need
anyone in his position. Flynn apologized to his coworkers for
his loud typing, explaining that it was due to the medication
for his seizure disorder, but the negative commentary did not
cease. A few weeks later, on April 9, 2018, Defendants'
Human Resources Director advised Flynn that he was being
terminated. Defendants purported reasons for his termination,
that he “hated his job” and was “actively
job searching, ” were false.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
rendering a decision on a motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(6), 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. See 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)).
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).“[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. Pa. Dep't of
Corr., 613 Fed.Appx. 163, 167 (3d Cir. 2015) (quoting
Albertson's Inc. v. Kirkingburg, 527 U.S. 555,
there may be cases in which the physical or mental impairment
is not disabling, but the treatment for the impairment is
disabling. See Christian v. St. Anthony Med. Ctr.,
117 F.3d 1051, 1052 (7th Cir. 1997) (using as an example,
early stage cancer, which itself may not substantially limit
one or major life activities, but the aggressive treatment
for the cancer is substantially limiting). For the side
effects of medication to constitute a
“disability” under the ADA, the medication must
be required in the “prudent judgment of the medical
profession, ” and there must be no available
alternatives equally efficacious that lack the disabling side
effects. See Sulima v. Tobyhanna Army Depot, 602
F.3d 177, 181-87 (3d Cir. 2010) (citing Christian,
117 F.3d at 1051-52).
Complaint does not allege that Flynn's seizure disorder
qualifies, or ever qualified, as a “disability”
under the ADA, nor does it allege that the disorder
substantially limits any major life activity. To the
contrary, Flynn alleges that his seizure disorder “did
not affect his ability to work, ” and he has not
experienced a seizure for approximately three years because
of the medication he is taking to manage his seizures. Compl.
¶¶ 10-11, 14, 26, ECF No. 1. The Complaint does
allege that the medication causes hand tremors and that he
had to type loudly to compensate for the hand tremors.
Id. ¶ 12-23. However, typing loudly is not a
substantial limitation. Also, typing is not a major life
activity and there are no allegations that Flynn's hand
tremors impacted any other aspect of his life. Accordingly,
the allegations do not meet either the first or second
definition of a disability.
Flynn asserts in his brief in opposition to the Motion to
Dismiss that Defendants “regarded him” as
disabled, his allegations again fail to meet the definition
of “disability” under the ADA. “An
individual meets the requirement of ‘being regarded as
having such an impairment' if the individual establishes
that he or she has been subjected to an action prohibited
under this Act because of an actual or perceived physical or
mental impairment whether or not the impairment limits or is
perceived to limit a major life activity.” 42 U.S.C.
§ 12102(3)(A). To prevail, Flynn “would have to
show that his employer misinterpreted information about his
limitations to conclude that he was unable to perform a
‘wide range or class of jobs.'” Keyes v.
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Phila., 415
Fed.Appx. 405, 410 (3d Cir. 2011); Amoroso v. Bucks
County Court of Common Pleas, No. 13-0689, 2014 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 41469, at *24-25 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 28, 2014)
(“Simply alleging that an employer knew about a
disability is not sufficient to demonstrate that the employer
regarded the employee as disabled.”). He “must
show that the employer believed that a major life activity
was substantially limited by the  impairment.”
Popko v. Penn State Milton S. Hershey Med. Ctr., No.
1:13-cv-01845, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95486, at *16 (M.D. Pa.
July 14, 2014). There are no allegations in the Complaint
that would support such a finding.
Motion to Dismiss is granted. Flynn is given leave to amend
to include additional specific factual allegations to support
his claim. If Flynn files an amended complaint, he is further
directed to clarify the nature ...