United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
OPINION AND ORDER
E. STEELE SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on review of defendant's
Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. #8) filed
on October 6, 2017. Plaintiff filed a Response (Doc. #16) on
November 16, 2017. For the reasons set forth below, the
motion is granted in part and denied in part.
Barbara Goldsworthy (Plaintiff) filed a five-count Complaint
(Doc. #1) against the District School Board of Collier
County, Florida (Defendant) for intentional infliction of
emotional distress (Count I), negligent infliction of
emotional distress (Count II), violation of the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. § 621
et seq., (Count III), retaliation in violation of the ADEA
(Count IV), and retaliation in violation of the Americans
with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12203 (Count V).
to the Complaint (Doc. #1): In March of 2012, Plaintiff
worked as an Exceptional Student Education (ESE) teacher at
Poinciana Elementary School (Poinciana). (Id.
¶¶ 9-10.) Around that time, Poinciana's
vice-principal informed Plaintiff that, due to ESE
students' low test scores, all ESE teachers would not be
placed in ESE teaching positions for the upcoming 2012-2013
school year. (Id. ¶ 11.) As a result, Plaintiff
searched for an ESE teaching position at another school but
was unsuccessful. (Id. ¶¶ 19-24.)
principal offered Plaintiff a position as a Modified
Curriculum 1 (MC1) teacher for the 2012-2013 school year,
which required teaching severely disabled students.
(Id. ¶¶ 26, 43.) Upon receiving that job
offer, Plaintiff observed multiple MC1 classrooms.
(Id. ¶¶ 29, 30.) Plaintiff informed
Poinciana's principal that, because Plaintiff suffers
from “back impairment, ” she was unsure about
whether she could safely supervise the “difficult to
control” MC1 students. (Id. ¶¶
27-32.) Plaintiff additionally notified Human Resources about
her safety concerns as an MC1 teacher, to which a Human
Resources official responded by stating, “[i]f you
can't do this job, you can't do any job.”
(Id. ¶¶ 29, 34.) Plaintiff then filed an
EEOC charge against Defendant for disability and age
discrimination. (Id. ¶ 36.)
ultimately accepted the MC1 teaching position for the
2012-2013 school year. (Id. ¶¶ 39-42.)
During the 2012-2013 school year, Plaintiff was injured three
times while supervising MC1 students. (Id.
¶¶ 41, 44-45, 51-52.) Plaintiff was again assigned
to the MC1 classroom for the 2013-2014 school year.
(Id. ¶¶ 67-68.) In August of 2013,
“Plaintiff was severely bitten by one of her [MC1]
students.” (Id. ¶ 68.) Shortly
thereafter, on or about August of 2013, Plaintiff agreed to
drop her EEOC claims against Defendant in exchange for her
being assigned to teach at North Naples Middle School (NNMS)
as an ESE teacher for the remainder of the 2013-2014 school
year. (Id. ¶ 70.) Plaintiff also taught as an
ESE teacher at NNMS for the 2014-2015 school year.
(Id. ¶ 175.)
about January 29, 2015, Plaintiff requested a contract
extension under the Deferred Retirement Extension Program
(DROP), which the NNMS principal denied. (Id.
¶¶ 176, 177.) The NNMS principal told Plaintiff her
request was denied because there were not enough ESE students
for the upcoming school year; NNMS retained the three other
ESE teachers. (Id. ¶¶ 179, 180.) Of the
three remaining ESE teachers, only one had more seniority
than Plaintiff, and one “was several years younger than
Plaintiff . . . .” (Id. ¶¶ 180,
181.) Plaintiff was unable to secure another teaching job for
the 2015-2016 school year. (Id. ¶¶ 187,
188.) Plaintiff filed her Complaint on May 5, 2017. (Doc.
now moves to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint. As to
Plaintiff's claim for intentional infliction of emotional
distress, Defendant argues it should be dismissed because (1)
it is time-barred; and (2) Plaintiff failed to sufficiently
allege that Defendant's conduct was extreme and
outrageous. Defendant argues the negligent infliction of
emotional distress claim should be dismissed because (1) it
is time-barred; (2) Defendant is immune under Florida's
Workers' Compensation Law; and (3) it is barred by
Florida's impact rule. Defendant contends that
Plaintiff's age discrimination claim should be dismissed
because Plaintiff failed to state a prima facie case under
the ADEA. Lastly, Defendant argues Plaintiff's
retaliation claims should be dismissed because Plaintiff has
not alleged a causal link between Plaintiff's filing of
her EEOC claim and her DROP extension being denied.
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires a complaint to contain
a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2). In evaluating a Rule 12(b)(6) motion seeking to
dismiss a complaint for failing to comply with Rule 8(a), the
Court must accept as true all factual allegations in the
complaint and “construe them in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff.” Baloco ex rel. Tapia
v. Drummond Co., 640 F.3d 1338, 1345 (11th Cir. 2011).
However, mere “[l]egal conclusions without adequate
factual support are entitled to no assumption of
truth.” Mamani v. Berzain, 654 F.3d 1148, 1153
(11th Cir. 2011) (citations omitted). To avoid dismissal
under Rule 12(b)(6), the complaint must contain sufficient
factual allegations to “raise a right to relief above
the speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). To do so requires
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Id. at 570. This
plausibility pleading obligation demands “more than
labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.”
Id. at 555 (citation omitted); see also Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“Threadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”);
Chaparro v. Carnival Corp., 693 F.3d 1333, 1337
(11th Cir. 2012) (“Factual allegations that are merely
consistent with a defendant's liability fall short of
being facially plausible.” (citation omitted)). Thus,
the Court engages in a two-step approach: “When there
are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume
their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give
rise to an entitlement to relief.” Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 679.
A. The Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress Claim
asserts a claim against Defendant for intentional infliction
of emotional distress. Specifically, it alleges that
Defendant intentionally assigned Plaintiff to a dangerous MC1
classroom, despite being aware of her frail condition.
Defendant argues Count I should be dismissed because (1)
Plaintiff's claim is time-barred; and (2) the Complaint
fails to adequately allege that Defendant's conduct was
extreme and outrageous.
Whether Count I is Barred by the Statute of
expiration of the relevant statute of limitations is an
affirmative defense around which a plaintiff is not required
to plead. La Grasta v. First Union Sec., Inc., 358
F.3d 840, 845 (11th Cir. 2004). Thus, dismissal of a cause of
action because the defendant claims the statute of
limitations has run is not warranted unless “it is