United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
MILTON YOUNGE JUDGE.
employment discrimination case, Plaintiff David Pride
(“Plaintiff”) files suit against his former
employer, Defendant Wal-Mart Stores East, LP
(“Wal-Mart”), and its third-party medical and
benefits administrator, Defendant Sedgwick Claims Management
Services, Inc. (“Sedgwick”) (collectively,
“Defendants”). Plaintiff asserts that Defendants
unlawfully discriminated and retaliated against him in
violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.,
the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (“PHRA”), 43
Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 951 et seq., and the
Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C.
§ 2601 et seq. Plaintiff also asserts a claim
for tortious interference with contractual relations solely
against Sedgwick. Now before the Court is Sedgwick's
Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) (“Motion, ” ECF No. 13). The Court finds
this matter appropriate for resolution without oral argument.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 78; L.R. 7.1(f). For the reasons that follow,
Sedgwick's Motion will be granted.
otherwise noted, the following facts and allegations are
taken from the operative complaint, Plaintiff's First
Amended Complaint (“FAC, ” ECF No. 10). On or
around October 2011, Wal-Mart hired Plaintiff as an Overnight
Restocker. (Id. ¶ 13.) Sedgwick administered
FMLA requests, disability accommodation requests, and
healthcare benefits for Wal-Mart's employees.
(Id. ¶¶ 20-22.) “In November 2016,
Plaintiff advised Defendants that he would need to have right
hip surgery.” (Id. ¶ 34.) “In
December 2016, Plaintiff received notification from Sedgwick
that his medical leave related to his right hip surgery and
recovery was approved for 12 weeks”-“from
December 22, 2016 through March 16, 2017.”
(Id. ¶¶ 35-36.) In March 2017, Plaintiff
advised Sedgwick that he needed additional medical leave to
recover, which was granted through April 17, 2017.
(Id. ¶¶ 40, 42.)
or about April 6, 2017, Plaintiff's physician examined
Plaintiff and cleared him to return to work with
restrictions[;] Plaintiff's physician faxed the
certification clearing Plaintiff to return to work with
restrictions to Sedgwick.” (Id. ¶¶
47, 49.) According to Plaintiff, Sedgwick “never sent
the certification it received . . . to Wal-Mart.”
(Id. ¶ 69.)
Plaintiff's arrival back to work on April 17, 2017,
“Plaintiff provided HR Manager Riley with a copy of his
doctor's Return to Work Certification which his physician
had previously faxed to Sedgwick.” (Id. ¶
56.) Wal-Mart's HR Manger then told Plaintiff “that
his job had been replaced and he would be terminated
immediately due to the fact that he returned with
restrictions.” (Id. ¶ 58.) According to
Plaintiff, “Sedgwick's failure to submit
Plaintiff's April 6, 2017 certification to Wal-Mart had a
direct influence on Plaintiff's firing.”
(Id. ¶ 70.)
filed this action against Defendants on February 19, 2019.
(ECF No. 1.) On May 20, 2019, Plaintiff filed the FAC, in
which Plaintiff brings nine claims: (1) disability
discrimination in violation of the ADA against Wal-Mart; (2)
failure to accommodate in violation of the ADA against
Wal-Mart; (3) retaliation in violation of the ADA against
Wal-Mart; (4) disability discrimination in violation of the
PHRA against Wal-Mart and Sedgwick; (5) failure to
accommodate in violation of the PHRA against Wal-Mart and
Sedgwick; (6) retaliation in violation of the PHRA against
Wal-Mart and Sedgwick; (7) retaliation in violation of the
FMLA against Wal-Mart and Sedgwick; (8) interference in
violation of the FMLA against Wal-Mart and Sedgwick; and (9)
tortious interference with contractual relations against
Sedgwick. (FAC ¶¶ 72-131.) Plaintiff requests lost
past and future earnings, liquidated and/or punitive damages,
emotional distress and/or pain and suffering damages, and
costs of suit. (Id. ¶¶ B-E.)
filed its Answer on June 13, 2019. (ECF No. 12.) Sedgwick
filed the instant Motion to Dismiss on June 13, 2019.
Plaintiff filed his opposition to Sedgwick's Motion on
June 26, 2019 (“Opposition, ” ECF No. 14).
Sedgwick filed a reply on July 3, 2019 (“Reply, ”
ECF No. 17).
motion to dismiss standard under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) is set forth in Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009). After Iqbal, it is
clear that “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a
cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do
not suffice” to defeat a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to
dismiss. Id. at 678; see also Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). “To survive
dismissal, ‘a complaint must contain sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Tatis v. Allied
Interstate, LLC, 882 F.3d 422, 426 (3d Cir.
2018) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). Facial
plausibility is “more than a sheer possibility that a
defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id. (quoting
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). Instead, “[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. (quoting Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678).
Court of Appeals requires us to apply a three-step analysis
under a 12(b)(6) motion: (1) “[the district court] must
tak[e] note of the elements [the] plaintiff must plead to
state a claim;” (2) “it should identify
allegations that, ‘because they are no more than
conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of
truth;'” and, (3) “[w]hen there are
well-pleaded factual allegations, [the] court should assume
their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give
rise to an entitlement to relief.” Connelly v. Lane
Constr. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d Cir. 2016) (quoting
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 675, 679).
motion to dismiss is granted, the court must decide whether
to grant leave to amend. The Third Circuit has a liberal
policy favoring amendments and, thus, leave to amend should
be freely granted. See, e.g., Oran v. Stafford, 226
F.3d 275, 291 (3d Cir. 2000); Dole v. Arco Chem.
Co., 921 F.2d 484, 486 (3d Cir. 1990). However, a court
need not grant leave to amend when permitting a plaintiff to
amend would be an exercise in futility. City of Cambridge
Retirement Sys. v. Altisource Asset Mgmt. Corp., 908
F.3d 872, 879 (3d Cir. 2018) (“Leave to amend is
properly denied if amendment would be futile, i.e.,
if the proposed complaint could not ‘withstand a
renewed motion to dismiss.'”) (quoting
Jablonski v. Pan. Am. World Airways, Inc., 863 F.2d
289, 292 (3d Cir. 1988)); see also In re Burlington Coat