United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
G. BYRON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause comes before the Court on Defendant Walgreen Co.'s
Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint or, in the
Alternative, for a More Definite Statement (Doc. 16), and
Plaintiff Doris Lapham's Response in Opposition (Doc.
17). Upon consideration, Defendant's motion is due to be
granted in part and denied in part.
employment discrimination and retaliation case arises from
Defendant Walgreen Co.'s
(“Walgreens”) termination of
Plaintiff Doris Lapham's employment in the wake of
reports by Plaintiff of illegality and improper practices,
and her requests for leave under the Family and Medical Leave
Act (“FMLA”). (Doc. 13, ¶
worked for Walgreens for over eleven years, but towards the
end of her tenure experienced difficulties involving leave
requests. (Id. ¶¶ 18, 22). Plaintiff is
the only caregiver for her disabled son whom requires
extensive care. (Id. ¶ 18). In 2016, Plaintiff
requested, and Defendant granted, intermittent FMLA leave to
care for her son. (Id. ¶ 21). Later,
Plaintiff's manager changed. (Id. ¶ 22).
The new manager gave “Plaintiff a difficult time over
her protected time off (FMLA leave) and requests for
accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act
(‘AD A ').” (Id.).
Plaintiff first complained to her new manager that her
requested leave was protected, and later complained to human
Plaintiff observed and documented “constant
violation[s] of numerous laws, rules, and regulations”
by Defendant in the store where she worked. (Id.
¶ 23). Plaintiff informed Defendant that the store's
condition-namely, objects blocking exit doors-was in
violation of applicable fire hazard codes. (Id.
¶ 24). Plaintiff reported other issues, including
Occupational Safety and Health Act
(“OSHA”) violations, bodily
fluids in the store, a roach infestation, and that
salmonella and bugs were present in the cooler, to
Defendant. (Id.). Plaintiff contends Defendant
ignored her complaints and told her the reported problems
were not Plaintiff's responsibility. (Id.).
around the time Plaintiff started reporting issues in the
store, Defendant's treatment of Plaintiff's FMLA
applications changed. (Id. ¶ 25). Plaintiff
requested further FMLA intermittent leave, as she had
previously done, to care for her son. (Id.). The
paperwork was timely submitted “nearly the same”
as previous, approved requests, but this application was
denied. (Id. ¶ 26). Plaintiff submitted two
more FMLA requests in February and March 2017.
manager then “began retaliating against Plaintiff by
writing her up and putting her on a bogus performance
improvement plan(s).” (Id. ¶ 27). In
March 2017, Plaintiff complained to Defendant “that she
was being harassed, not accommodated, discriminated against,
and retaliated against by her new Store Manager.”
(Id. ¶ 28). In response, Defendant promised an
investigation and told Plaintiff her manager would be
next denied Plaintiff's final FMLA request and terminated
her on April 13, 2017, citing “insubordination”.
(Id. ¶ 29). Plaintiff alleges her firing was
retaliation for her FMLA leave requests and reports of legal
and regulatory violations at her store. (Id.).
her termination, Plaintiff initiated this action alleging
Defendant terminated her for reporting “violations of
laws, rules, and regulations, and her requesting FMLA
leave” in violation of The Florida Whistleblower Act
(“FWA”), FMLA, and the Florida
Civil Rights Act (“FCRA”).
(Id. ¶ 29). The Amended Complaint proceeds in
four Counts: Retaliation under the FWA (Count I), Retaliation
under the FMLA (Count II), Interferenc e under the FMLA
(Count III), and Retaliation under the FCRA (Count IV).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
survive a motion to dismiss made pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6),
the complaint “must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.' ” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is
plausible on its face 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. Legal conclusions and recitation
of a claim's elements are properly disregarded, and
courts are “not bound to accept as true a legal
conclusion couched as a factual allegation.”
Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986). Courts
must also view the complaint in the light most favorable to
the plaintiff and must resolve any doubts as to the
sufficiency of the complaint in the plaintiff's favor.
Hunnings v. Texaco, Inc., 29 F.3d 1480, 1483 (11th
Cir. 1994) (per curiam). In sum, courts must (1) ignore
conclusory allegations, bald legal assertions, and formulaic
recitations of the elements of a claim; (2) accept well-pled
factual allegations as true; and (3) view well-pled
allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 67.
moves to dismiss Counts I and IV of the Amended Complaint for
failure to state plausible claims to relief. (Doc. 16, p. 1).