United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
GREGORY A. PRESNELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Matter comes before the Court without a hearing on the Motion
to Dismiss (Doc. 27) filed by Delta Air Lines and the
Response in Opposition (Doc. 32) filed by the Plaintiff.
Plaintiff is a former employee of Delta Air Lines. The
Plaintiff alleges that she was “wrongfully terminated
on a discriminatory basis, in retaliation for refusing to use
her Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) accommodation when
reporting illness outside of the FMLA allowance.” Doc.
25 ¶ 9. On December 28, 2016, the Plaintiff suddenly
became violently sick to her stomach. Id. ¶ 11.
She called in sick and provided a doctor's note, but
Delta did not excuse her absence. The Plaintiff had
previously used FMLA leave for allergies, but because she had
a stomach illness and not allergies when she called in sick,
she did not use her FMLA allowance on December 28, 2016.
Id. ¶ 12. Because she failed to cover that
shift, her manager encouraged her to use her FMLA leave. She
refused, citing dishonesty. Id. ¶ 14. On
December 28, 2016, the Plaintiff was placed on a 23-day
unpaid suspension for failure to cover her shift.
Id. ¶ 17. On February 21, 2017, Delta
terminated the Plaintiffs employment. Id. ¶ 20.
Plaintiff filed her Amended Complaint on March 26, 2019,
alleging interference with FMLA rights (Count I) and
retaliation in violation of FMLA (Count II) against Delta.
Doc. 25. Delta filed a Motion to Dismiss on April 9, 2019.
Doc. 27. The Plaintiff filed her Response in Opposition on
May 7, 2019. Doc. 32.
ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court must view the
complaint in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff,
see, e.g., Jackson v. Okaloosa County, Fla., 21 F.3d
1531, 1534 (11th Cir. 1994), and must limit its consideration
to the pleadings and any exhibits attached thereto.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 10(c); see also GSW, Inc. v.
Long County, Ga., 999 F.2d 1508, 1510 (11th Cir. 1993).
The Court will liberally construe the complaint's
allegations in the Plaintiff's favor. See Jenkins v.
McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421 (1969). However,
“conclusory allegations, unwarranted factual deductions
or legal conclusions masquerading as facts will not prevent
dismissal.” Davila v. Delta Air Lines, Inc.,
326 F.3d 1183, 1185 (11th Cir. 2003).
reviewing a complaint on a motion to dismiss under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), “courts must be
mindful that the Federal Rules require only that the
complaint contain ‘a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.'” U.S. v. Baxter Intern., Inc.,
345 F.3d 866, 880 (11th Cir. 2003) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)). This is a liberal pleading requirement, one that does
not require a plaintiff to plead with particularity every
element of a cause of action. Roe v. Aware Woman Ctr. for
Choice, Inc., 253 F.3d 678, 683 (11th Cir. 2001).
However, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds
for his or her entitlement to relief requires more than
labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do. Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 554-555 (2007). The
complaint's factual allegations “must be enough to
raise a right to relief above the speculative level, ”
id. at 555, and cross “the line from
conceivable to plausible.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 680 (2009).
Plaintiff alleges that Delta's actions violated the FMLA.
The FMLA provides that “an eligible employee shall be
entitled to a total of 12 workweeks of leave during any
12-month period for one or more of the following: ... (D)
Because of a serious health condition that makes the employee
unable to perform the functions of the position of such
employee.” 29 U.S.C. § 2612(a) (1). An employer is
prohibited from interfering, restraining, or denying the
exercise of, or the attempt to exercise, any right provided
under the FMLA and from discharging or discriminating against
any individual “for opposing any practice made
unlawful” by the FMLA. 29 U.S.C.A. § 2615(a)(1),
(2). “To state a claim that [her] employer has
interfered with a substantive FMLA right, a plaintiff need
only demonstrate that [she] was entitled to but denied the
right.” Strickland v. Waterworks & Sewer Bd. Of
City of Birmingham, 239 F.3d 1199, 1208 (11th Cir.
2001). “To prove FMLA retaliation, an employee must
show that [her] employer intentionally discriminated against
[her] for exercising an FMLA right.” Martin v.
Brevard Cty. Pub. Sch., 543 F.3d 1261, 1267 (11th Cir.
the Plaintiff argues that Delta's actions indirectly
interfered with her FMLA leave. Had the Plaintiff used FMLA
leave for her stomach illness, the Plaintiff's theory
goes, she would have had less leave available to take for
allergy-related issues. The Plaintiff thus contends that, by
insisting that she take FMLA leave for her stomach illness,
Delta was interfering with her FMLA leave for allergies.
However, at no point does the Plaintiff allege that she was
denied FMLA benefits. Furthermore, the Plaintiff does not
allege that she was discriminated against for exercising an
FMLA right. Accordingly, the Plaintiff fails to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted.
foregoing reasons, the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss
(Doc. 27) is GRANTED. If the Plaintiff
wishes to file a second amended complaint, she may do so
within twenty-one (21) days of the date of this Order.