United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' PARTIAL MOTION TO DISMISS
PLAINTIFF'S FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT
LEVY U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
Jason Cook alleges that his former employers, Defendants
MaineHealth and NorDx (“Defendants”), violated
his rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and
Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”), 38 U.S.C.A.
§ 4301 et seq. (2018); the Federal Family
Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C.A. §
2601 et seq. (2018); the Maine Family Medical Leave
Requirements Law (“MFMLR”), 26 M.R.S.A. §
843 et seq. (2018); the Maine Human Rights Act
(“MHRA”), 5 M.R.S.A. § 4571 et seq.
(2018); and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act
(“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C.A. § 1001 et
January 2018, the Defendants filed a Partial Motion to
Dismiss (ECF No. 9), moving to dismiss Count IV of Cook's
original Complaint, which alleged a violation of the MHRA, as
barred by the statute of limitations and for failing to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted. In an order issued
June 13, 2018 (ECF No. 23), I granted the motion, concluding
that Cook's MHRA claim based on his employment with NorDx
was time-barred, and that his MHRA claim based on his
employment with Maine Medical Partners (“MMP”)
failed to state a claim. I also granted Cook leave to amend
his complaint. Cook filed a First Amended Complaint (ECF No.
26) on June 24, 2018. The Defendants have filed a Partial
Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint (ECF No. 27),
moving to dismiss all claims in connection with Cook's
employment with MMP.
reasons explained below, I grant the Defendants' Partial
Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint, dismissing all
counts to the extent they arise from Cook's employment
with MMP. This results in the complete dismissal of Count IV.
NorDx and MMP are subsidiaries of Defendant MaineHealth. Cook
worked in a laboratory for NorDx from May 2014 to July 2015,
when his employment was terminated for violating NorDx's
employee leave policy. Cook suffers from a disability he
sustained while on active duty with the United States Army,
which, he asserts, caused him to be absent from work beyond
what was allowed by NorDx's employee leave policy. Cook
alleges that NorDx disciplined him and then terminated his
employment for violating the leave policy. He contends that
in so doing, NorDx violated the MHRA by failing to
accommodate his disability, failing to engage in an
interactive process, and requiring that he undergo a medical
examination, and also retaliated against him in response to
his request for an accommodation.
March 2015, Cook applied for a job with MMP. Sometime between
July and October 2015, MMP offered Cook a job. During the
hiring process, Cook informed MMP that he was a disabled
veteran. Before Cook started his new job with MMP,
MaineHealth Employee Health Service conducted a pre-placement
evaluation of Cook, which documented his mood disorder,
post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic low back pain,
chronic foot pain, sleep disorder, and the medications Cook
was prescribed. These medical conditions delayed Cook's
medical clearance for at least a week.
October 30, 2015, before he had started the job at MMP, Cook
e-mailed his soon-to-be supervisor that he would like to
discuss his “history and personal information.”
ECF No. 26 at ¶ 102. The supervisor responded that she
“should not know” any medical or personal history
that was not pertinent to his job. Id. at ¶
103. Several days later on November 2, 2015, Cook began
working and was provided a sitting/standing work station to
after Cook started work, Cook alleges that MMP personnel
began to criticize him and take adverse action against him
for performance-related issues. On January 22, 2016, a MMP
human resource partner wrote to Cook's supervisor:
“Per our conversation today, this will verify that
Jason Cook has never made you aware that he has a medical
condition, or that a medical condition is allegedly impacting
his work, or asked for an accommodation for health/medical
reasons. Separation of employment will be for performance
reasons. Please respond that this is a correct
statement.” Id. at ¶ 111. Cook's
supervisor replied that the statement was correct, and MMP
terminated Cook's employment. Cook contends, in his First
Amended Complaint, that in so doing, MMP treated him
differently because he a disabled veteran in violation of
USERRA, and violated the MHRA by failing to accommodate his
disability and failing to engage in an interactive process.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
survive a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a
complaint need not set forth “detailed factual
allegations, ” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007), but “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, 442
(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 [the 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 Schatz v. 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.” Brady v. Bath Iron Works
Corp., No. 2:16-cv-4-NT, 2016 WL 3029948, at *2 (D. Me.
May 25, 2016) (citing Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A.,
534 U.S. 506, 511-12 (2002)).
Defendants argue that Count IV and all other claims arising
from Cook's employment with MMP outlined in the First
Amended Complaint fail to adequately state a claim arising
from Cook's employment with MMP. Cook concedes that
Counts II, III, and V do not apply to Cook's employment
with MMP. Accordingly, I do not analyze those counts further,
and they are dismissed to the extent they concern Cook's
employment with MMP. I therefore address whether Cook has
adequately stated claims arising from his employment with MMP
for (A) disability discrimination under the MHRA (Count IV),
and (B) discrimination on the basis of military service in
violation of USERRA (Count I).