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Franklin v. Capitol Hilton Hotel

United States District Court, District of Columbia

September 6, 2018

HARRY LEE FRANKLIN, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
CAPITOL HILTON HOTEL, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff, Harry Lee Franklin, Jr., proceeding pro se, brings this action against his former employer, Defendant, Capitol Hilton Hotel.[1] See second amended complaint (“Sec. Am. Compl.”) (ECF No. 4 at 16-20), at caption. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant discriminated against him in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. ch. 126 § 12101 et seq. See EEOC complaint (“EEOC Compl.”) (ECF No. 4 at 29, Ex. 3); see generally, complaint (“Compl.”) (ECF No. 4 at 38-43); first amended complaint (“First Am. Compl.”) (ECF No. 4 at 21-29); Sec. Am. Compl.

         Defendant moves to dismiss the second amended complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Defendant's motion to dismiss (“Mot.”) (ECF No. 5) at 1 ¶ 1; Defendant's memorandum (“Mem.”) (ECF No. 5) at 1 ¶ 1. Defendant argues that Plaintiff's pleadings, and the allegations therein, fail to establish a prima facie case for disability discrimination. Mem. at 3-4. Plaintiff opposes Defendant's motion to dismiss. See generally, Plaintiff's memorandum in opposition (“Opp.”) (ECF No. 9).

         The Court finds that Plaintiff has stated a claim for relief, and therefore, Defendant's motion to dismiss is denied without prejudice, for reasons discussed herein.

         BACKGROUND

         On October 17, 2017, Plaintiff filed his initial complaint in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. See docket, Harry Lee Franklin v. Capitol Hilton Hotel (No. 2017 CA 006944); Compl. He filed an amended complaint on November 8, 2017. See First Am. Compl. He filed a second amended complaint on November 14, 2017. See Sec. Am. Compl. Defendant was served on or about November 16, 2017. See Service Notice (ECF No. 4 at 15).

         Defendant then removed the matter to this Court, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1441, and 1446. See Notice of Removal (ECF No. 1). On November 28, 2017, Defendant filed its motion to dismiss. See generally, Mot. Plaintiff filed a timely opposition to Defendant's motion on December 5, 2017. See generally, Opp. Defendant filed a reply to opposition (ECF No. 10) on December 14, 2017. Plaintiff was granted leave to file a surreply (ECF No. 14) on February 1, 2018.

         Plaintiff puts forth allegations that he was improperly terminated from employment based on his disability. Sec. Am. Compl. at 1 ¶ 1. He alleges that suffers from diabetes ketoacidosis. Id. He claims that he was fired for “job abandonment;” however, he further alleges that he was in the hospital, and that Defendant was aware of his circumstances and condition. Compl. at 1 ¶ 1; Sec. Am. Compl. at 1 ¶ 1, Ex. 1. He posits that he was informed that he could return to work, though he was still experiencing some health complications. Plaintiff alleges that he was unfairly removed from his position under the guise of lack of attendance when it was, in fact, solely related to his disability. Id.

         Plaintiff indicates in each of his complaints that he filed a grievance with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). Compl. at 1 ¶ 1; First Am. Compl. at 1 ¶ 1, Ex. 3; Sec. Am. Compl. at 1 ¶ 1. Plaintiff attaches the relevant EEOC complaint and decision to his first amended complaint. First Am. Compl. at Ex. 3. The EEOC dismissed the claim on September 7, 2017. Id. In the EEOC filing, Plaintiff states:

I began working for Respondent in December 2014. In 2015[, ] I notified Respondent of my disability. They gave me special accommodations for my disability. On January 20, 2017, I was discharged after not showing up for work for two days. I was terminated for symptoms of my disability. I believe I was discriminated against due to my disability, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended. I would like to sue for monetary and punitive damages in the amount of $50, 000 and to get my employment back.

Id. at 2 (“particulars”). Plaintiff's second amended complaint attaches the initial complaint, as well as medical records documenting his referenced hospital stay, as exhibits. Sec. Am. Compl. at Exs. 1-2. He again indicates that he previously filed with the EEOC. Sec. Am. Compl. at 1 ¶ 1. He also realleges that he provided notice to Defendant regarding his medical condition and that he was nonetheless terminated, a few days after his hospital release. Plaintiff again seeks monetary damages in the amount of $50, 000 and requests to be reinstated to his job position. Id.

         The allegations throughout the complaints are consistent. The attachments to the complaints vary, however, it appears that Plaintiff intended the attachments to the complaints to serve as supplements, rather than to supplant one another. See Sec. Am. Compl. at Exs. 1-2. Furthermore, all of the pleadings are part of the public record in both D.C. Superior Court and/or in this Court.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that a complaint contain “ ‘a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,' in order to ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.' ” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)); accord Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (per curiam). Although “detailed factual allegations” are not necessary to withstand a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, to provide the “grounds” of “entitle[ment] to relief, ” a plaintiff must furnish “more than labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Id. at 1964-65; see also Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986). Instead, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at ...


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