United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS
Torresen United States Chief District Judge
the Court is the Defendant’s motion to dismiss the
Plaintiff’s Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted (ECF No. 7). For the reasons stated
below, the motion is DENIED.
Plaintiff in this case is David Brady, a carpenter who worked
for Defendant Bath Iron Works for nearly 26 years. Compl.
¶ 5 (ECF No. 1). Bath Iron Works is primarily located in
Bath, Maine and has more than 500 employees; it is a
wholly-owned subsidiary of General Dynamics Corporation.
Compl. ¶ 7. This case arises out of a dispute between
Brady and his employer over his use of leave time pursuant to
the Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. §§
2601-2654 (the “FMLA”) and the Maine Family
Medical Leave Act, 26 M.R.S.A. §§ 843-848 (the
started working for Bath Iron Works in 1989. Compl. ¶ 8.
Towards the end of 2014, he began to suffer from
“chronic, serious mental health conditions, including
depression and anxiety.” Compl. ¶ 9. Brady sought
medical treatment for these health conditions, and sometime
in 2014 Bath Iron Works certified his request for
intermittent leave pursuant to the FMLA and MFMLA. Compl.
23, 2015, Brady again requested certification for
intermittent FMLAleave for his health condition. Compl.
¶ 12. Specifically, he completed the Bath Iron Works
“Medical Certification Form” in cooperation with
Dr. Alice Franklin, his primary care physician. Compl. ¶
13. On this form, Dr. Franklin noted that Brady
“suffered from depression and anxiety, that these
conditions were partially related to work, that he had been
prescribed a regimen of continuing treatment, that he would
need leave for exacerbation of his condition as well as for
ongoing treatment, and that he took prescription medication
to manage his condition.” Compl. ¶ 14. Dr.
Franklin further noted that Brady’s condition is
“chronic and indefinite[, ]” and she estimated
that he would need 3 days (24 hours) per month of leave,
taken either as partial or full days, depending on his
symptoms. Compl. ¶¶ 15-16. Bath Iron Works notifies
employees requesting leave that it “may ask for a
second or third opinion at BIW’s expense if it
questions the medical certification[, ]” but it did not
do so in Brady’s case. Compl. ¶ 18.
26, 2015, Brady started his regular 7 a.m. shift at the Bath
work site. Compl. ¶ 19. Later that morning, “he
began to experience debilitating and incapacitating
exacerbation of his stress and anxiety.” Compl. ¶
19. Brady went to Bath Iron Works’s FMLA office and
confirmed that his intermittent FMLA leave paperwork had been
processed and that he was authorized to take leave. Compl.
¶ 20. At around 11 a.m., Brady determined that his
condition warranted using his FMLA leave. Compl. ¶ 21.
Brady informed his “lead man” and supervisor that
he would be taking FMLA leave for the rest of the day;
neither objected. Compl. ¶ 22. Before he left, Brady
loaded his car with scrap wood that Bath Iron Works makes
available to employees. Compl. ¶ 23. Brady next
proceeded to Bath Iron Works’s “clock out”
house, where he ran into a coworker who was also leaving
work. Compl. ¶ 24. They decided to go get lunch
together. Compl. ¶ 24.
after he left, employees in Bath Iron Works’s labor
relations department learned that Brady may be at a local
restaurant. Compl. ¶ 25. Bath Iron Works ordered a labor
relations specialist and a labor relations legal specialist
to go to the restaurant to see if Brady was there. Compl.
¶ 25. The Bath Iron Works labor relations employees
found Brady at the restaurant shortly after noon and observed
him from a distance. Compl. ¶¶ 26-28. Neither spoke
to Brady or got within earshot of him. Compl. ¶ 28. Once
at the restaurant, Brady decided not to eat because of his
stress and anxiety, though the Bath Iron Works labor
relations employees alleged that he drank a beer. Compl.
¶¶ 29-30. As part of their surveillance, the labor
relations employees took photographs of Brady’s car and
of the spot in the restaurant where he and his coworker sat.
Compl. ¶ 31.
that same day, Bath Iron Works Industrial Physician, Dr. Nia
Foderingham, faxed a letter to Brady’s primary care
physician “seeking clarification” of her
“intent with respect to” Brady’s
intermittent leave and accusing Brady of “utilizing his
FMLA for the purpose of spending time at the local
bar.” Compl. ¶¶ 33-34. Dr. Franklin
(Brady’s primary care physician) responded to Bath Iron
Works’s inquiry on June 30, 2015, and explained that
stress at work aggravates Brady’s condition. Compl.
reported to work on Saturday, June 27, 2015, the day after he
took FMLA leave. Compl. ¶ 36. When he tried to enter the
work site, he discovered that his badge had been deactivated.
Compl. ¶ 36. He went to security to try and figure out
what the problem was, but they did not know either, and said
they could not allow him on the premises. Compl. ¶ 37.
On Monday, June 29, 2015, Brady met with members of Bath Iron
Works’s labor relations management team to discuss his
use of intermittent FMLA leave on June 26th. Compl. ¶
39. Brady’s union representatives were also present.
Compl. ¶ 39. Brady answered questions from Bath Iron
Works personnel about how he used his leave time on the 26th.
Compl. ¶ 40. He was not asked about his mental health
condition or how it related to his need for FMLA leave.
Compl. ¶ 42. At the conclusion of the meeting, Bath Iron
Works suspended Brady “pending investigation for
possible FMLA fraud.” Compl. ¶ 41. At this point,
Bath Iron Works had not yet received a response from
Brady’s primary care physician about how his use of
leave was related to his medical condition. Compl. ¶ 35.
8, 2015, a week and a half after the June 29th meeting, Dr.
Foderingham sent the Bath Iron Works labor relations
department an email “concluding that Mr. Brady’s
use of FMLA was not consistent with the temporary approval
granted by the BIW office.” Compl. ¶ 43. Dr.
Foderingham reached this conclusion without speaking to Brady
or his primary care physician about his use of leave time.
Compl. ¶ 44. That same day, Bath Iron Works terminated
Brady’s employment. Compl. ¶ 45.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a complaint may be
dismissed for “failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.” In order to state a claim, a
plaintiff must satisfy Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
8(a)’s limited notice pleading standard that requires
“a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief.” While a complaint
need not set forth “detailed factual allegations,
” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
555 (2007), “it must nonetheless ‘contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.’ ”
SEC v. Tambone, 597 F.3d 436, 422 (1st Cir. 2010)
(en banc) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009)). Applying this standard requires two steps:
first, “ ‘isolate and ignore statements in the
complaint that simply offer legal labels and conclusions or
merely rehash cause-of-action elements[, ]’ ” and
second, “take the facts of the complaint as true,
‘drawing all reasonable inferences in
[plaintiff’s] favor, and see if they plausibly narrate
a claim for relief.’ ” Carrero-Ojeda v.
Autoridad de Energía Eléctrica, 755 F.3d
711, 717 (1st Cir. 2014) (quoting Schatzv.
Republican State Leadership Comm., 669 F.3d 50, 55 (1st
Cir. 2012)). In evaluating plausibility, particularly in the
employment discrimination context, courts should be mindful
of the facts the plaintiff is likely to know, versus the
facts that are likely out of the plaintiff’s reach at
the pleading stage. See Khalik v. United Air Lines,
671 F.3d 1188, 1193-94 (10th Cir. 2012) (noting that
employment discrimination plaintiffs are likely to know, for
example, when they requested leave and for what ...