United States District Court, M.D. Florida
C. CONWAY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause comes before the Court on Defendant Walgreen Co.'s
(“Walgreens”) Motion to Dismiss for failure to
state a claim. (Doc. 13). Plaintiff filed a Response in
opposition. (Doc. 15). The Motion is ripe for review.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
dispute in this case arises from Plaintiff's May 24, 2018
termination and the events leading up to the termination.
(Doc. 6 at 12). Plaintiff began her career with Walgreens in
1984 as a janitor and advanced to the position of Senior
Continuous Improvement Engineer until the time of her
termination. (Id. at 2-4). Plaintiff alleges that
before her termination, she informed a Human Resources
(“HR”) manager that Walgreens' Orlando,
Florida distribution facility was improperly storing
temperature sensitive products in a non-climate-controlled
building called “Orsat.” (Id. at 5-8).
After informing the HR manager of these issues, Plaintiff
claims that she began to experience exclusion, ostracization,
and complaints about her work performance. (Id. at
further alleges that as a result of “having her
reputation destroyed and being setup for termination, ”
she began to experience severe stress and anxiety, resulting
in chest pain, nausea, and frequent vomiting. (Id.
at 11). Plaintiff alleges that she developed swallowing
difficulties and gastroesophageal reflux disease during this
time. (Id.). As a result, Plaintiff was hospitalized
between February 11 and February 13, 2018 for severe chest
pains and was later diagnosed with depression.
(Id.). Plaintiff asserts that she sought the
assistance of medical professionals, including a
psychiatrist, and was required to use her paid time off to
undergo esophageal surgery. (Id. at 11-12).
Plaintiff was subsequently terminated on May 24, 2018.
(Id. at 12).
her termination, on June 28, 2018, Plaintiff executed and
filed a Charge of Discrimination (“Charge”) with
the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”). (Doc. 6-1 at 1). The Charge detailed
Plaintiff's allegations about the workplace events that
led to her stress and subsequent physical ailments.
(Id. at 3). Plaintiff alleged that her disability
requests for accommodation and appeals had been consistently
denied. (Id. at 3). While Plaintiff admitted that
her initial unpaid leave request was granted, she asserted
that her other requests for reasonable accommodations,
including a paid leave request, were denied despite providing
a note from her primary care physician indicating the need
for leave. (Id.). Plaintiff received her right to
sue on August 22, 2018. (Doc. 6-2 at 1).
originally filed her Complaint on October 7, 2019 in the
Ninth Judicial Circuit Court, in and for Orange County,
Florida. (Doc. 101). Walgreens subsequently removed the case
to this Court on November 15, 2019 based on federal question
jurisdiction. (Id.). Thereafter, Plaintiff filed an
Amended Complaint with this Court, setting forth claims under
the Private Sector Whistleblower Act (Count One), the Florida
Civil Rights Act (“FCRA”) (Count Two), and Family
Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) interference (Count
Three). (Doc. 6).
deciding a motion to dismiss based on failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted, the court must accept
as true the factual allegations in the complaint and draw all
inferences derived from those facts in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff. Randall v. Scott, 610
F.3d 701, 705 (11th Cir. 2010). “Generally, under the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a complaint need only
contain ‘a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.'”
Id. (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). However, the
plaintiff's complaint must provide “enough facts to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570127
S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). “A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads 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, 129 S.Ct.
1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550
U.S. at 556). Thus, the Court is not required to accept as
true a legal conclusion merely because it is labeled a
“factual allegation” in the complaint; it must
also meet the threshold inquiry of facial plausibility.
moves to dismiss Plaintiff's FCRA claim for failure to
allege facts to support a prima facie case of disability
discrimination and failure to accommodate, applying the
standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”). Plaintiff argues that her Amended
Complaint sufficiently provides notice to Walgreens of her
claims and that she should be entitled to proceed with
discovery on these issues.
Prima facie case of discrimination under the ADA
argues that Plaintiff has not made sufficient allegations,
other than formulaic recitations of the legal standard, that
establish a prima facie case of discrimination under the
FCRA, applying ADA caselaw. As Walgreens noted in its Motion,
“disability-discrimination claims under the FCRA are
analyzed using the same framework as ADA claims.”
Holly v. Clairson Indus., L.L.C., 492 F.3d 1247,
1255 (11th Cir. 2007) (citing D'Angelo v. ConAgra
Foods, Inc., 422 F.3d 1220, 1224 n. 2 (11th Cir. 2005).
“In order to establish a prima facie case of
discrimination under the ADA, a plaintiff must demonstrate
that [she] (1) is disabled, (2) is a qualified individual,
and (3) was subjected to unlawful discrimination because of
[her] disability.” Greenberg v. BellSouth
Telecomms., Inc., 498 F.3d 1258, 1263 (11th Cir. 2007)
(internal citations and quotation marks omitted). “The
term ‘disability' means, with respect to an
individual - (A) a physical or mental impairment that
substantially limits one or more major life activities of
such individual; (B) a record of such an impairment . . .; or
(C) being regarded as having such an impairment . . . ”
42 U.S.C. § 12102(1). “[M]ajor life activities
include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself,
performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping,
walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing,
learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating,
and working.” 42 U.S.C. § 12102(2).
does not currently dispute Plaintiff's allegation that
she is disabled or that she was subjected to unlawful
discrimination because of her ability. Walgreens moves to
dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint for her failure to
allege that she was qualified to perform the essential
functions of her position. In support, Walgreens points to
Plaintiff's EEOC Charge of Discrimination. (Doc. 6-1 at
3). The Charge stated that Plaintiff provided Walgreens'
disability provider with documentation to obtain benefits,
including a signed form sent directly from her primary care
physician which included the request for disability leave
with no return-to-work date, as it was unknown ...