United States District Court, District of Columbia
Susan Baron, Bethesda, MD, pro se.
Jeffrey Robert Decaro, Decaro, Doran, Siciliano, Gallagher & Deblasis, L.L.P., Bowie, MD, for Defendants.
RUDOLPH CONTRERAS, District Judge.
This matter is before the Court on the defendants' Motion to Dismiss [Dkt. # 7], and the plaintiff's Request for Order for Direct Deposit as Accommodation Under Title III [of the] American[s] with Disabilities Act [as] Amended [Dkt. # 9] and Request for Contempt and Sanctions Order [Dkt. # 13].  For the reasons discussed below, the defendants' motion will be granted and the plaintiff's motions will be denied.
On August 15, 2002, while working as a paralegal for her former employer MPS Group, the plaintiff " sustained a traumatic injury to her jaw, which was dislocated when she struck her chin while lifting a box of documents." Compl., Ex. (Compensation Order dated February 16, 2010) at 2. She had been " awarded certain benefits, including temporary disability and medical benefits as a result of this injury." Id. In 2010, the plaintiff requested and was awarded " additional medical benefits for tinnitus," id., a condition found to be medically causally related to the August 15, 2002 injury, id. at 9.  The plaintiff has experienced dizzy skills and has fainted, events which, in turn, " result in dangerous conditions and more injuries." Compl. at 7. According to the plaintiff, what began as " Temporary Total Disability" in 2002 has become " long term, and now [she has] permanent disabilities, injuries, symptoms and side effects." Id. at 3; see id. at 10.
It appears that MPS Group engaged Broadspire, a subsidiary of Crawford & Company (collectively, " the defendants" ), to manage its disability, medical and workers' compensation claims. See id. at 2.
The plaintiff alleges that, as " third-party claims administrators," the defendants " are generally given the power to both administer a claim and make a determination as to whether a disability claimant should be paid benefits each month." Id. The defendants make payments in the form of paper checks pursuant to a policy " that no injured or disabled workers have access to direct deposit." Id. at 6; see id. at 7. Consequently, the plaintiff is subject to the inherent delay in the delivery of paper checks by regular mail, the inconvenience of making multiple trips to the post office " looking for late checks," the " risk of fainting on ‘ bad days,’ " and fees assessed by the bank for cashing the checks. Id. at 8-9.
The plaintiff brings this action under Titles I and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (" ADA" ), see id. at 1, alleging that the defendants have denied her " direct deposit ... as an accommodation under ADA." Id. at 5. Notwithstanding her many requests for direct deposit, she alleges that the defendants discriminate against her on the basis of her disability by refusing to make payments via direct deposit. See id. at 6. She further alleges that the defendants have retaliated against her for having made such requests. See id. at 9. Among other relief, the plaintiff demands injunctive relief in the form of direct deposit of benefits to her account. See id. at 10-11.
A. Dismissal Under Rule 12(b)(6)
A plaintiff need only provide a " short and plain statement of [his] claim showing that [he is] entitled to relief," Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), that " give[s] the defendant fair notice of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Erickson v. Pardus,551 U.S. 89, 93, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007) (per curiam) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)) (internal quotation marks omitted). " A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests not whether the plaintiff will prevail on the merits, but instead whether the plaintiff has properly stated a claim." Woodruff v. DiMario, 197 F.R.D. 191, 193 (D.D.C.2000). In considering such a motion, the " complaint is construed liberally in the plaintiffs' favor, and [the Court] grant[s] plaintiff[ ] the benefit of all inferences that can be derived fro the facts alleged." Kowal v. MCI Commc'ns Corp., 16 F.3d 1271, 1276 (D.C.Cir.1994). However, " the [C]ourt need not accept inferences drawn by plaintiff[ ] if such inferences are unsupported by the facts set out in the ...