United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
C. MULLEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER is before the Court on Defendant’s
initial Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 4) filed February 6, 2019
and subsequent Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 7) filed March 6,
2019. Plaintiff responded (Doc. No. 9), and Defendant replied
(Doc. No. 10). This matter is ripe for adjudication. For the
following reasons, Defendant’s Motion is granted in
part and denied in part.
hired Plaintiff in August 2015 to work as a commercial truck
driver. (Doc. No. 6, at 5). In mid-2017, “the
degenerative arthritis in [Plaintiff’s] knee, with
which he had been suffering for many years, finally
progressed to the point where he found himself unable to
perform major life activities such as walking, standing,
crouching, climbing into and out vehicles, and
driving.” (Doc. No. 6, at 8). As a result of
Plaintiff’s knee condition, he sought
“accommodation for his disability” by requesting
“twelve weeks of [Family and Medical Leave Act
(“FMLA”)] leave [in May 2017] so that [he] could
undergo [and recover from] knee surgery.” (Doc. No. 6,
at 8). Further, Plaintiff called his supervisor, Matt Gin,
“informing and/or reminding him about
[Plaintiff’s] degenerative knee condition, advising him
of [Plaintiff’s] need to undergo surgery and physical
recovery, and requesting Mr. Ginn’s guidance regarding
when to schedule FMLA leave.” (Doc. No. 6, at 9).
Plaintiff also provided Defendant with “certification
from [his] physician, ” explaining “his inability
to walk immediately after surgery, and that he could only
gradually increase his ability to walk . . . as his knee
healed.” (Doc. No. 6, at 9).
after requesting FMLA leave, Mr. Ginn informed Plaintiff that
he had violated safety standards. (Doc. No. 6, at 9).
Plaintiff was suspended, and then, on July 18, 2017,
Plaintiff was terminated. (Doc. No. 6, at 10). Because
Plaintiff received a “safety bonus” every year he
worked for Defendant, including the year that he was
terminated, Plaintiff believes Defendant’s reason for
terminating him was not related to safety. (Doc. No. 6, at 8,
11). Instead, Plaintiff believes Defendant terminated him as
a result of unlawful discrimination based on his disability
and retaliation for Plaintiff’s attempt to take FMLA
leave. (Doc. No. 6, at 11).
filed its initial Motion to Dismiss on February 6, 2019,
requesting that the Court dismiss the entire Complaint. (Doc.
No. 4). Soon after, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint,
alleging that Defendant (1) discriminated against him in
violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”), (2) retaliated against him in violation
of the ADA, (3) violated the Family Medical Leave Act
(“FMLA), and (4) wrongfully discharged him in violation
of N.C. G.S. § 143-422.22. (Doc. No. 6, at 12-19).
Plaintiff also made a claim (5) for punitive damages. (Doc.
No. 6, at 17).
response to the Amended Complaint, Defendant filed a
subsequent Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. No. 7). In that Motion,
Defendant argued that because (1) Plaintiff did not state a
claim for ADA discrimination, (2) Plaintiff did not state a
claim for ADA retaliation, and (3) Plaintiff’s North
Carolina claims rely upon Plaintiff’s faulty ADA
claims, four of Plaintiff’s five claims should be
dismissed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). (Doc. No. 8, at
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires . . . a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief, in order to give the defendant fair
notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which
it rests.” Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007) (citation and internal quotations omitted).
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) provides an avenue to attack a
complaint where the “grounds” of a
plaintiff’s “entitle[ment] to relief” are
insufficient. Id. (citation omitted). To survive
such a motion, a plaintiff must provide more than “just
a formulaic recitation of the elements, ” and the
“[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right
to relief above the speculative level.” Id.
“[W]hen the allegations in a complaint, however true,
could not raise a claim of entitlement to relief, ”
that claim should be dismissed. Id. at 558.
first, second, fourth, and fifth claims do not survive
Defendant’s Rule 12(b)(6) challenge because the
allegation’s in Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint
cannot raise a claim of entitlement to relief.
Plaintiff’s ADA ...