United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS
NANCY TORRESEN, Chief District Judge.
Before me is the Defendant's motion to dismiss the Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (ECF No. 8). For the reasons stated below, the motion is DENIED.
William Vernon Brown (the "Plaintiff" or "Brown") worked for the United States Department of the Navy (the "Defendant" or the "Navy") at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine. Compl. ¶ 2 (ECF No. 1). Brown has "developmental and cognitive disabilities" and "was hired by the Navy through a program for handicapped' employees." Compl. Ex. A ¶ 2 (ECF No. 1-1). He served as a motor vehicle operator for the Navy for over thirty years. Compl. Ex. A ¶ 3. Brown's Complaint describes a diminution in job responsibilities, unanswered requests for accommodation, and antagonism from co-workers. Compl. Ex. A ¶¶ 3-5, 7, 9; Compl. Ex. B to Ex. A (ECF No. 1-1).
Brown brings this disability discrimination suit against the Navy under the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 701-797b. He claims that during his employment, the Navy: (1) subjected him to a hostile work environment; (2) discriminated against him on the basis of disability; (3) retaliated against him for seeking EEO protection; and (4) failed to accommodate his disability.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows a party to move to dismiss a complaint for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." A court should grant a Rule 12(b)(6) motion only if the complaint fails the limited notice pleading standard imposed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), which "requires only a plausible short and plain statement of the plaintiff's claim, not an exposition of his legal argument." Skinner v. Switzer, 562 U.S. 521, 530 (2011) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted). The "complaint need not pin plaintiff's claim for relief to a precise legal theory." Id.
A court must accept all well-plead allegations in a complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor, González Figueroa v. J.C. Penny P.R., Inc., 568 F.3d 313, 316 (1st Cir. 2009), but need not accept "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements.'" Morales-Cruz v. Univ. of P.R., 676 F.3d 220, 225 (1st Cir. 2012) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain only "enough factual material to raise a right to relief above the speculative level on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).'" Ocasio-Hernandez v. Fortuno-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 12 (1st Cir. 2011) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
The Navy challenges Brown's Complaint on two fronts: (1) that he failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted; and (2) that he failed to exhaust administrative remedies and his claims are time-barred.
I. Failure to State a Claim
The Navy contests the sufficiency of each of Brown's theories of discrimination. Although Brown's allegations are somewhat sparse, he has nonetheless satisfied the limited notice pleading standard imposed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2).
A. Hostile Work Environment
In order "[t]o succeed on a hostile work environment claim, a plaintiff must show that her workplace [was] permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult that [was] sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of... employment and create an abusive working environment.'" Rios-Jimenez v. Principi, 520 F.3d 31, ...