The opinion of the court was delivered by: REGGIE WALTON, District Judge
On July 30, 2004, the plaintiff, an employee of the District of
Columbia Public Schools ("DCPS"), filed this action against the
defendants, Robert Graves and the DCPS. The plaintiff alleges the
following claims: (1) a violation of the Federal Family and
Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), 29 U.S.C. § 2601, et seq. (2000);
(2) a violation of the District of Columbia Family and Medical
Leave Act ("DCFMLA"), D.C. Code § 32-501, et seq. (2003); (3)
breach of contract; and (4) intentional infliction of emotional
distress. Currently before the Court is the Defendants' Motion
for Judgement on the Pleadings (Defs.' Mot.).*fn1 For the
reasons set forth below, the defendants' motion is
granted.*fn2 I. Factual Background
The DCPS hired the plaintiff, James Lightfoot, as an Assistant
Principal at Spingarn Senior High School ("Spingarn") in the
District of Columbia in August 2001. Complaint ("Compl.") at ¶ 4.
On March 12, 2003, the plaintiff submitted an "Application of
Leave," which requested twenty-four days off commencing on March
13, 2003, and concluding on April 15, 2003, due to "severe job
related anxiety and stress." Id. ¶ 5. This application included
a medical certification from his physician, Dr. Thomas Gay,
recommending that the plaintiff not work for at least one month.
Id. In response to the plaintiff's request, Robert Graves, the
Principal at Spingarn, wrote to the plaintiff informing him that
the proper procedure for requesting such leave was to complete an "Application for Leave of Absence Re: Extended
Leave of Absence and the Family Leave Act." Id. ¶ 6. Graves
included a copy of the application with his response. Id. In
addition to completing the application, the plaintiff was
required to submit all necessary supporting documentation and
comply with the requirements of both the "Family Leave Act and
the Board Rules." Id. Moreover, the letter from Graves noted
that until the plaintiff completed the enclosed application and
his request was approved, he would be placed in an absent without
leave status, which could lead to discplinary actions. Id.
After receiving Graves's response, one of the school's employees,
a time keeper, notified the plaintiff that "she had not received
his medical certification and could not process [her] payroll."
Id. ¶ 7. To address this deficiency, the plaintiff allegedly
delivered the medical certification to the school. Id.
Nonetheless, on April 3, 2003, the plaintiff received a letter
from Graves stating that he was "no longer privileged to enter
the premises or grounds of Spingarn. . . ." Id. ¶¶ 7-8. The
letter notified the plaintiff that all further communications
should be directed to the Assistant Superintendent of the DCPS.
Id. ¶ 8.
Following receipt of this letter, the plaintiff initiated a
grievance procedure. Id. ¶¶ 9-13. However, before the grievance
process commenced, the plaintiff was notified that he should
return to work on May 5, 2003. Id. ¶ 15. However, on May 4,
2003, the plaintiff sent a letter to Graves stating:
This letter is to notify you that pursuant to D.C.
Code [§] 32-506 and District of Columbia Municipal
Regulations Title 1600 The Family Medical Leave Act
I will be away from my job as Assistant Principal
at Spingarn High School for a period of sixteen (16)
weeks or less depending upon the advise of my medical
doctor. This is also to notify you that the original
"Application for Leave" I submitted on March 14, 2003
is now being converted to absence under the Family
and Medical Leave Act. Therefore, my Medical Leave
remedies are retroactive to March 14, 2003. In
accordance with the Act, I will be submitting to you
a medical certificate issued by my health care
provider as soon as practicable. I have an
appointment with my doctor scheduled for Monday, May
Id. ¶ 16. The plaintiff notes that he received a "Certificate
of Disability" from his physician on May 20, 2003, which stated
that he should not return to work until June 15, 2003. Id. ¶
17. However, the plaintiff never submitted the certificate to his
employer. Id. And, in a letter dated May, 7, 2003, the
plaintiff was informed that he had been terminated. Id. ¶ 18.
In a separate letter, the plaintiff was informed that he could
continue to pursue his grievance through the Council of School
Officers ("CSO"), as it is the exclusive representative of
assistant principals. Id.
Dissatisfied with the processing of his grievance, and
believing that it had not been fully resolved, the plaintiff
resubmitted his grievance to the Superintendent of the DCPS.
Id. ¶ 19. The plaintiff did not receive a response from the
Superintendent, and subsequently filed an administrative
complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Counsel ("EEOC")
for the DCPS. Id. The EEOC failed to timely investigate the
plaintiff's allegations within the required statutory time
period, and thus, the plaintiff filed a complaint with the
District of Columbia Office of Human Rights ("DCOHR"). Id. ¶¶
21-22. The parties attempted to resolve the dispute, but failed.
Id. ¶¶ 23-34. Thus, the plaintiff withdrew the complaint he had
filed with the DCOHR, and filed this action. Id. ¶ 35.
A Court will grant judgement on the pleadings "only if it is
clear that no relief could be granted under any set of facts that
could be proved consistent with the allegations." Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(c); Longwood Village Rest., Ltd. v. Ashcroft,
157 F. Supp. 2d 61, 66 (D.D.C. 2001) (citing Hishon v. King & Spalding,
467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984)). "If there are allegations in the complaint which, if proved, would provide a basis for recovery[,]" the
Court cannot grant judgement on the pleadings. Haynesworth v.
Miller, 820 F. 2d 1245, 1254 (D.C. Cir 1987) (citations
omitted). Accordingly, all factual doubts must be resolved in
favor of the plaintiff. Id. (citations omitted). The standard
of review under Rule 12(c) is essentially the same as that for a
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). Jung v. Ass'n of Am. Med.
Colls., 339 F. Supp. 2d 26, 35 (D.D.C. 2004) (citations
omitted); see generally 2 Moore's Federal Practice, § 12.38 (3d
On a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), this Court must
construe the allegations and facts in the complaint in the light
most favorable to the plaintiff and must grant the plaintiff the
benefit of all inferences that can be derived from the alleged
facts. Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957); Barr v.
Clinton, 370 F.3d 1196, 1199 (D.C. Cir. 2004) (citing Kowal v.
MCI Comm'ns Corp., 16 F.3d 1271, 1276 (D.C. Cir. 1994)). "[T]he
complaint need only set forth `a short and plain statement of the
claim,' Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), giving the defendant fair notice
of the claim and the grounds upon which it rests." Kingman Park
Civic Ass'n v. Williams, 348 F.3d 1033, 1040 (D.C. Cir. 2003)
(citing Conley, 355 U.S. at 47). "Such simplified `notice
pleading' is made possible by the liberal opportunity for
discovery and the other pretrial procedures established by the
Rules to disclose more precisely the basis of both claim and
defense and to define more narrowly the disputed facts and
issues." Conley, 355 U.S. at 47-48. While many well-plead
complaints are conclusory, the Court need not accept inferences
or conclusory allegations that are unsupported by the facts set
forth in the complaint. Kowal, 16 F.3d at 1276. Moreover, in
deciding whether to dismiss a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), the
Court can only consider the facts alleged in the complaint,
documents attached as exhibits or incorporated by reference into
the complaint, and matters about which the Court may take judicial notice. EEOC v.
St. Francis Xavier Parochial Sch., 117 F.3d 621, 624-25 & n. 3.
A court may dismiss a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) only if the
defendant can demonstrate "beyond doubt that the plaintiff can
prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle
him to relief." Conley, 355 U.S. at 45-46.
The defendants have moved for judgment on the pleadings
asserting that each of the claims raised by the plaintiff are
deficient as a matter of law. Defs.' Mem. at 2. The Court will
therefore address each of the plaintiff's claims below.
(A) The Plaintiff's Federal Family and Medical Leave Act
The defendants contend that the plaintiff's federal FMLA claim
should be dismissed as a matter of law because (1) the plaintiff
failed provide a timely and complete medical certification
required by the FMLA, and (2) he has not sufficiently alleged
that he is suffering from a serious health condition. Defs.' Mem.
at 4-7. The plaintiff, on the other hand, contends that his
application for leave submitted on March 14, 2003, was timely and
that he suffered from a serious health condition as defined by
the FMLA. Pl.'s Opp'n at 3-4.
The FMLA provides that "an eligible employee shall be entitled
to a total of 12 workweeks of leave during any 12-month period . . .
[b]ecause of a serious health condition that makes the
employee unable to perform the functions of the position of such
employee." 29 U.S.C. § 2612(a)(1)(D) (2000); see also Price
v. Wash. Hosp. Center, 321 F. Supp. 2d 38
, 45 n. 1 (D.D.C. 2004)
(quoting Chang v. Inst. for Public-Private P'ships, Inc., No.
02-CV-1256, 2004 WL 742806, at *7 (D.D.C. 2004)). A "serious
health condition" is defined by FMLA as "an illness, injury,
impairment, or physical mental condition that involves [either]
inpatient care in a hospital . . . or continuing treatment by a health care
provider." 29 U.S.C. § 2611(11) (2000). Regulations promulgated
under the FMLA further provide that a serious health condition
that involves continuing treatment by a health care provider
(i) a period of incapacity . . . of more than three
consecutive calendar days, and any subsequent
treatment or period of incapacity relating to the
same condition, that also involves[:]
(A) Treatment two or more times . . .; or
(B) Treatment by a health care provider on at least
one occasion which results in a regimen of continuing
treatment under the supervision of the health care
29 C.F.R § 825.114(a) (2005).*fn3
Therefore, for a leave of
absence to qualify under the FMLA, a plaintiff must allege that
there was a period of incapacity of at least three days along
with treatment for that condition by a health care provider
either (1) on two or more occasions, or (2) at least once, as
long as it results in a regimen of continuing treatment under
that provider's supervision. Russell v. North Broward Hosp.,
346 F.3d 1335
, 1342 (11th Cir. 2003). The regulation further
provides that "treatment . . . includes (but is not limited to)
examinations to determine if a serious health condition exists
and evaluations of the condition." 29 C.F.R. § 825.114(b).
It is the plaintiff's burden to establish that the leave of
absence was caused by a "serious health condition." Bauer v.
Varity Dayton-Walther Corp., 118 F. 3d 1109, 1112 (6th Cir.
1997). Moreover, an employer can require that an employee's request for
leave under the FMLA be supported by a medical certification
issued by the employee's health care provider.
29 U.S.C. § 2613(a) (2000). A medical certification is sufficient if it
states: "(1) the date on which the serious health condition
commenced; (2) the probable duration of the condition; [and] (3)
the appropriate medical facts within the knowledge of the health
care provider regarding the condition." 29 U.S.C. § 2613(b). An
employer's request for a medical certification must be
accompanied by a notice indicating the consequence of failing to
provide an adequate certification. 29 C.F.R. § 825.301(b)(1)(ii).
However, if the ...