United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
MARILYN L. HAMILTON, Plaintiff
WILMAC CORP. et al., Defendants
E.K PRATTER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
se plaintiff Marilyn Hamilton brings claims under the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) against Wilmac
Corporation and Attleboro Nursing and Rehab Center for their
alleged failure to hire and failure to accommodate. The
defendants now move to dismiss Ms. Hamilton's second
amended complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). For the following reasons, the Court dismisses Ms.
Hamilton's claims against Wilmac, dismisses Ms.
Hamilton's failure-to-hire claim against Attleboro, and
denies the defendants' motion to dismiss with respect to
Ms. Hamilton's failure-to-accommodate claim against
Hamilton believes that the defendants violated the ADA by
failing to hire her or provide her reasonable accommodations
for her disability. She filed a complaint with the EEOC and
received a right to sue letter on or about February 12, 2018.
See Def.s' Mem. in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss,
Doc. No. 22-1 at 1. She filed this action against Attleboro
and Wilmac Corporation on March 16, 2018. The litigants have
since gone through two prior rounds of motions to dismiss.
Court granted the defendants' first motion to dismiss
with leave for Ms. Hamilton to amend her complaint. Doc. No.
13. After Ms. Hamilton filed her first amended complaint, the
Court granted the defendants' second motion to dismiss
and-"[i]n light of Ms. Hamilton's/?ro se
status, and in an abundance of indulgence"-granted Ms.
Hamilton one more opportunity to amend her complaint. Doc.
No. 20. Ms. Hamilton filed her second amended complaint on
April 12, 2019. Doc. No. 21. The defendants now move to
dismiss Ms. Hamilton's second amended complaint under
Rule 12(b)(6). Doc. No. 22.
Hamilton suffers from "hearing loss," which has
been diagnosed in medical evaluations. Doc. No. 21 at 2. To
compensate, Ms. Hamilton has used hearing aids and a sign
language interpreter. Id. at 16-18. Despite her
hearing loss, she states that she can perform the functions
of a certified nursing assistant, as she has for over ten
years. She states that she is "well able to perform the
functions of the job with or without accommodations."
Id. at 6.
Hamilton first applied for a certified nursing assistant
position at Attleboro in person. Twice during October 2017,
Ms. Hamilton also applied to be a certified nursing assistant
at Attleboro through the website
"Ziprecruiter.com". Id. at 4, 21-23. Ms.
Hamilton states that Attleboro "currently and
constantly" has both full-time and part-time job
positions available that she is qualified to complete.
Id. at 3. She alleges that these positions were
available both when she applied and when she filed her second
amended complaint over a year later.
point, Attleboro called Ms. Hamilton requesting that she
contact them to set up a job interview. When Ms. Hamilton
returned Attleboro's call, an unidentified individual
denied her an opportunity to come in for a job interview and
stated, "But your [sic] deaf!" Id. at 4-5.
Ms. Hamilton also alleges that she communicated to an
"HR Employee" during a phone call that although
hearing impaired, she could become familiar with the
residents' needs if she was trained or provided a sign
language interpreter. Ms. Hamilton stated that she could
request the sign language interpreter "from an agency if
need be." Id. at 4. The HR employee responded,
"I didn't call you anyways" and ended the phone
call. Id. at 5. Ms. Hamilton alleges that she later
received a separate call from an unidentified person who
found her information on Ziprecruiter.com, but "was
refused a job interview again." Id.
outset, the Court notes that Ms. Hamilton's pro
se pleading must be "liberally construed."
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); see
also Bieros v. Nicola, 839 F.Supp. 332, 334 (E.D. Pa.
1993). Due to an "understandable difference in legal
sophistication, "pro se litigants such as Ms.
Hamilton are held to a "less exacting standard"
than trained counsel. Lopez v. Brown, No. 04-6267,
2005 WL 2972843, at *2 (D.N.J. Nov. 4, 2005) (citing
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972)). The
Court stands prepared to "apply the applicable law,
irrespective of whether the pro se litigant has
mentioned it by name." Dluhos v. Strasberg, 321
F.3d 365, 369 (3d Cir. 2003) (internal citation omitted).
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss tests the sufficiency of a
complaint. Although Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure requires only "a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief," Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), "to 'give the
defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests, '" the plaintiff must
provide "more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citation omitted) (alteration in
survive a motion to dismiss, the plaintiff must plead
"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). Specifically, "[f]actual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at
555. The question is not whether the claimant "will
ultimately prevail... but whether [her] complaint [is]
sufficient to cross the federal court's threshold."
Skinner v. Switzer, 562 U.S. 521, 530 (2011)
(citation and internal quotation marks omitted). Thus,
assessment of the sufficiency of a complaint is "a
context-dependent exercise" because "[s]ome claims
require more factual explication than others to state a
plausible claim for relief." W. Pa. Allegheny Health
Sys., Inc. v. UPMC, 627 F.3d 85, 98 (3d Cir. 2010).
evaluating the sufficiency of a complaint, "a court must
consider only the complaint, exhibits attached to the
complaint, matters of public record, [and] undisputedly
authentic documents if the complainant's claims are based
upon these documents." Mayer v. Belichick, 605
F.3d 223, 230 (3d Cir. 2010). The Court must "accept all
allegations as true." ALA, 29 F.3d at 859;
see also Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (stating that
courts must "assum[e] that all the allegations in the
complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact)")- A court
must also accept as true all reasonable inferences emanating
from the allegations, and view those facts and inferences in
the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. See
Rocks v. City of Phila., 868 F.2d 644, 645 (3d Cir.
1989); see also Revell v. Port Auth, 598 F.3d 128,
134 (3d Cir. 2010).
admonition does not demand that the Court ignore or discount
reality. The Court "need not accept as true unsupported
conclusions and unwarranted inferences," Doug Grant,
Inc. v. Greate Bay Casino Corp.,232 F.3d 173, 183-84
(3d Cir. 2000) (citations and internal quotation marks
omitted), and "the tenet that a court must accept as
true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is
inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
678; see also Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132
F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997) (explaining that a court need
not accept a plaintiffs "bald assertions" or
"legal conclusions" (citations omitted)). If a
claim "is vulnerable to 12(b)(6) dismissal, a ...