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Morris v. Eberle & BCI, LLC

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

September 3, 2014

CLAIRE MORRIS, Plaintiff,
v.
EBERLE & BCI, LLC, Defendant.

Jeremy M. Cerutti, Karpf, Karpf & Cerutti, P.C., Bensalem, Pennsylvania, Counsel for Plaintiff Claire Morris.

Michelle Seldin Silverman, Morgan Lewis & Bockius, Princeton, New Jersey, Counsel for Defendant Eberle & BCI Services, LLC.

OPINION

NOEL L. HILLMAN, District Judge.

Before the Court is Defendant Eberle & BCI Services, LLC's ("Eberle") Motion [Doc. No. 6] to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. For the reasons expressed below, Defendant's motion will be granted.

I. Jurisdiction

The Court exercises jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 because the claim arises under the laws of the United States. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-12213. Furthermore, the Court has supplemental jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367 over Plaintiff's state law claim because it arises out of the same circumstances and is based upon a common nucleus of operative fact.

II. Background

Plaintiff was employed by Defendant Eberle, a company that provides kitchen, food cleaning, and food services for members of the army base at Fort Dix in New Jersey. (Pl.'s Compl. [Doc. No. 1] ¶ 8.) According to the Complaint, Plaintiff suffered a workplace injury in which she inhaled a noxious substance and thereafter developed asthma and other respiratory problems. (Id. ¶ 3.) Accordingly, she asked Defendant to eliminate certain aspects of her job in order to accommodate her health problems. (Id. ¶¶ 15-17.) The Complaint alleges that Eberle initially accommodated her, but that it stopped doing so in early 2012 after a change in management. (Id. ¶¶ 13, 20-21.) Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant terminated her one day after she complained to the new management about the lack of accommodation. (Id. ¶ 22.)

Plaintiff filed suit against Eberle in New Jersey Superior Court, alleging that Eberle violated the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination ("NJLAD"), N.J.S.A. §§ 10:5-1 to -49, when it discharged her because of her known disabilities, her perceived disabilities, her record of impairment, and in retaliation for requesting accommodation and complaining about Defendant's failure to provide such accommodations. (Pl.'s Resp., Ex. A [Doc. No. 8-1] ¶¶ 20, 23.)

Plaintiff also filed a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on or about December 31, 2012, alleging that the Defendant's conduct violated the ADA. (Id. Ex. B [Doc. No. 8-2].) On August 27, 2013, the EEOC issued Plaintiff a right-to-sue letter, permitting Plaintiff to bring her ADA claim in federal court. (Id. Ex. C [Doc. No. 8-3].) Plaintiff then exercised her right under N.J. Ct. R. 4:37-1(a) to dismiss her state court action without prejudice and filed a new action in federal court alleging violations of the NJLAD and the ADA. (Id. Ex. D [Doc. No. 8-4]; Pl.'s Compl. [Doc. No. 1].)

Defendant has now moved to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint in its entirety pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Def.'s Br. in Supp. of Mot. [Doc. No. 6-1] (hereinafter "Def.'s Br.") 2.) Defendant asserts that Plaintiff's NJLAD claim is prohibited by the Federal Enclave Doctrine and that her ADA claim cannot survive because she failed to timely file her EEOC charge. (Id. at 3.)

III. Standard for Motion to Dismiss Under Rule 12(b)(6)

When considering a motion to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a court must accept all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Evancho v. Fisher , 423 F.3d 347, 351 (3d Cir. 2005). It is well settled that a pleading is sufficient if it contains "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Under the liberal federal pleading rules, it is not necessary to plead evidence, and it is not necessary to plead all the facts that serve as a basis for the claim. Bogosian v. Gulf Oil Corp. , 562 F.2d 434, 446 (3d Cir. 1977). However, "[a]lthough the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not require a claimant to set forth an intricately detailed description of the asserted basis for relief, they do require that the pleadings give defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Baldwin Cnty. Welcome Ctr. v. Brown , 466 U.S. 147, 149-50 n.3 (1984) (quotation and citation omitted).

A district court, in weighing a motion to dismiss, asks "not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claim.'" Bell Atlantic v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 563 n.8 (2007) (quoting Scheuer v. Rhoades , 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974)); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 684 (2009) ("Our decision in Twombly expounded the pleading standard for all civil actions'...."); Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside , 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) ...


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