United States District Court, D. New Jersey
ROBINA P. CHAUDHARY, Plaintiff,
BRIGHTVIEW ASSISTED LIVING, Defendant.
L. LINARES CHIEF JUDGE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
matter comes before the Court by way of Defendant Brightview
Assisted Living's Partial Motion to Dismiss for Failure
to State a Claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. (ECF No. 7). Plaintiff Robina A.
Chaudhary has submitted Opposition (ECF No. 10), to which
Defendant has replied. (ECF No. 12). The Court decides this
matter without oral argument pursuant to Rule 78 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons set forth
below, the Court grants the Defendant's Partial Motion to
Dismiss, without prejudice.
is a 54 year old "Asian (Pakistani)" female and a
New Jersey resident. (ECF No. 1 ("Compl.")
¶¶ 1, 15). Defendant is a New Jersey corporation
and is in the business of operating senior-living communities
throughout the United States, including the State of New
Jersey. (Compl. ¶¶ 2-3, 7). On June 27, 2015,
Plaintiff became employed by Defendant at one of
Defendant's New Jersey locations as a medication aide.
(Compl. ¶ 6).
primary duty was to distribute medication to the residents of
Defendant." (Compl. ¶ 18). Additionally,
"during 'down' times, Plaintiff would ...
assist" Defendant's nurses with their duties.
(Compl. ¶ 20). On August 5, 2016, while assisting one of
Defendant's residents out of bed to use the restroom,
"Plaintiff injured her back." (Compl. ¶ 21).
Thereafter, Plaintiff underwent medical treatment and was
advised she could return to work with some restrictions.
(Compl. ¶ 22). Specifically, "Plaintiff was
restricted from lifting, carrying, pushing [and/]or pulling
anything more than 10 pounds." (Id.). Said
restriction coincided with Plaintiffs job description as a
medication aide, and Plaintiff did not miss any time from
work as a result of the aforementioned injury. (Compl.
Defendant indicated that it would give Plaintiff light duty
assignments when she was required to assist Defendant's
nurses, and changed Plaintiffs schedule to the morning shift.
(Compl. ¶ 24). However, Defendant allegedly required
Plaintiff to assist with moving one of Defendant's
residents immediately upon Plaintiffs return to work. (Compl.
¶ 25). Moreover, Defendant allegedly assigned Plaintiff
more work than before she was injured. (Compl. ¶ 26).
Plaintiff began to experience pain and discomfort when she
was making beds. (Compl. ¶ 27). As such, Plaintiffs
doctor advised Plaintiff to stop performing this function and
Defendant adjusted Plaintiffs duties to exclude same.
(Id.). Plaintiff also alleges that her doctor told
her she needed to take more frequent breaks when at work, but
she was incapable of doing so because of the excessive number
of work assignments given to her by Defendant. (Compl. ¶
28). Plaintiff asserts that other medication aides who worked
both the morning and night shifts were not required to
perform the other duties assigned to her by Defendant.
(Compl. ¶ 29). Further, Plaintiff alleges that she
"was singled out and treated differently and retaliated
against because of her disability" and requests for
accommodations. (Compl. ¶ 30).
September, Defendant sent Plaintiff a letter stating that
Defendant's "team" had a meeting to discuss
Plaintiff and continuing to accommodate her and her
disability. (Compl. ¶ 31). Said letter explained that
Defendant was able to create a schedule that would be helpful
for Plaintiff, and that this new schedule would remain in
effect, pending the outcome of Plaintiffs next doctor's
appointment. (Id.). Additionally, Defendant noted
that "[s]pecific tasks during each shift will be comply
[sic] with [Plaintiffs] current restrictions and
[would] be discussed with [her] at the start of each
shift." (Id.) (internal quotation marks
omitted). Plaintiff alleges that, despite this letter, no one
ever discussed any accommodation for her disability and her
duties remained the same. (Compl. ¶ 32).
Plaintiffs doctor revised her "medical restriction to
carrying no more than five (5) pounds." (Compl. ¶
33). This was allegedly a permanent restriction.
(Id.). Following receipt of this new restriction,
several of Defendant's executives and supervisors held a
meeting with Plaintiff where she was told that her new and
permanent restriction could not be accommodated. (Compl.
¶ 34). As such, Defendant terminated Plaintiffs
employment on November 28, 2016. (Id.).
Plaintiff brought this four count action asserting the
following claims: Count I Disability Discrimination Pursuant
to the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and
New Jersey Law Against Discrimination ("NJLAD");
Count II - Age Discrimination in Violation of NJLAD; Count
III - Race Discrimination in Violation of NJLAD; and Count IV
- National Original Discrimination in Violation of NJLAD.
(Compl. ¶¶ 36-48). Defendant now moves to dismiss
Counts II - IV. (ECF No. 7).
withstand a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, a
"complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (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."
Id., 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550
U.S. at 556). "The plausibility standard is not akin to
a 'probability requirement,' but it asks for more
than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully." Id. (quoting Twombly, 550
U.S. at 556).
determine the sufficiency of a complaint under
Twombly and Iqbal in the Third Circuit, the
Court must take three steps. "First, it must 'tak[e]
note of the elements a plaintiff must plead to state a
claim.' Second, it should identify that there are
well-pleaded factual allegations that, 'because they are
no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption
of truth.' Finally, '[w]hen there are well-pleaded
factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and
then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an
entitlement for relief" See Connelly v. Lane Constr.
Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d Cir. 2016) (quoting
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 675, 679) (citation omitted).
"In deciding a Rule 12 (b)(6) motion, a court must
consider only the complaint, exhibits attached to the
complaint, matters of public record, as well as undisputedly
authentic documents if the complainant's claims are based
upon these documents." Mayer v. Belichick, 605
F.3d 223, 230 (3d Cir. 2010). The Third Circuit has held that
the Court can review the record of prior actions between the
parties and take judicial notice of same in considering a
motion to dismiss. See Toscano v. Conn. Gen. Life Ins.
Co., 288 Fed.Appx. 36, 38 (3d Cir. 2008).
starting point for an action brought pursuant to the NJLAD is
the framework outlined by the Supreme Court in McDonnell
Douglas Corp. v. Green,411 U.S. 792 (1973).
See-also Monaco v. Am. Gen. Assurance Co., 359 F.3d
296, 300 (3d Cir. 2004) ("The Supreme Court of New
Jersey has explained the three-step burden shifting analysis
'as a starting point' for analysis of claims under
the NJLAD.") (citing Bergen Commercial Bank v.
Sisler,157 N.J. 188, 210 (N.J. 1999)). The three-step
McDonnell Douglas analysis proceeds as follows.
First, a plaintiff must establish a prima facie case
of discrimination. Monaco, 359 F.3d at 300. To
establish a prima facie case of discriminatory
discharge under the NJLAD, a plaintiff must demonstrate: 1)
that she is a member of a protected class; 2) that she was
otherwise qualified and performing the essential functions of