United States District Court, District of Columbia
LINDA D. EPPS, Plaintiff
POTOMAC ELECTRIC POWER COMPANY, et al., Defendants
COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
was employed by the Potomac Electric Power Company
(“Pepco”), a public utility company owned by
Exelon Corporation, from February 22, 1994 until her
termination on June 21, 2018. Beginning in March 2006,
Plaintiff alleges that she became disabled from work due to a
depressive illness and was placed on long term disability
leave. In June 2016, Defendants informed Plaintiff that she
would be terminated unless she returned to work. Plaintiff
contends that she attempted to return to work. However,
Plaintiff alleges that Defendants discriminated against her
by failing to reinstate her and by ultimately terminating her
on June 21, 2018. Plaintiff brings claims for disability
discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, and under the
District of Columbia Human Rights Act (“DCHRA”),
D.C. Code § 2-1402.11. Defendants have filed a Motion to
Dismiss, arguing that Plaintiff's claims are untimely and
that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim for which relief
may be granted.
consideration of the pleadings,  the relevant legal
authorities, and the record as a whole, the Court will GRANT
IN PART and DENY WITHOUT PREJUDICE IN PART Defendants'
Motion to Dismiss. Defendants' Motion is DENIED WITHOUT
PREJUDICE IN PART as at least some of Plaintiff's claims
are timely. Specifically, the Court concludes that
Plaintiff's ADA claim is timely with respect to acts
occurring on or after September 19, 2017, and her DCHRA claim
is timely with respect to acts occurring on or after June 14,
2017. As such, Plaintiff's claims concerning
Defendants' alleged January 2018 decision to terminate
her in 90 days if she could not identify a new position and
her June 21, 2018 termination are timely. The Court further
concludes that Plaintiff has alleged facts sufficient to
state a claim for disability discrimination under the ADA and
the DCHRA for these events. Additional factual development is
required before the Court can more fully assess
Defendants' Motion is also GRANTED IN PART.
Plaintiff's claims related to Defendants' June 23,
2016 letter informing her that she needed to return to work
and Defendants' alleged August 2016 to May 2017 comments
that she would be returned to work shortly are DISMISSED as
purposes of the motion before the Court, the Court accepts as
true the well-pled allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint.
The Court does “not accept as true, however, the
plaintiff's legal conclusions or inferences that are
unsupported by the facts alleged.” Ralls Corp. v.
Comm. on Foreign Inv. in the United States, 758 F.3d
296, 315 (D.C. Cir. 2014).
alleges that she was hired by Pepco, a public utility company
owned by Exelon Corporation, on February 22, 1994 as a Senior
Administrative Assistant. Am. Compl., ECF No. 9, ¶ 8.
Sometime before March 2006, Plaintiff contends that she was
assigned to work as a Service Associate. Id.
March 2006, Plaintiff alleges that she became disabled from
work due to a depressive illness. Id. at ¶ 9.
Due to her depressive illness, Plaintiff claims that Pepco
placed her on long term disability leave. Id. For
the next ten years and three months, Plaintiff claims that
she struggled with her mental illness. Id. at ¶
10. But, by 2016, Plaintiff alleges that she was recovered to
the extent that she could return to work. Id.
23, 2016, Plaintiff claims that Pepco sent her a letter
informing her that it had concluded that she was
“unable to return to work [her] assigned position,
Senior Admin Asst., due to [her] medical condition.”
Id. at ¶ 12. According to Plaintiff, the letter
further explained that if Plaintiff's healthcare provider
certified that she was allowed to work, Pepco would help
Plaintiff and her provider determine whether a reasonable
accommodation could be made to allow her to perform the
essential functions of her job. Id. The letter
stated that if Plaintiff did not respond by August 23, 2016,
Pepco would terminate Plaintiff's employment.
Id. Plaintiff claims that, prior to this letter,
Pepco had not informed her that there was a time limit for
her leave, that her job would not be held, or that she would
be terminated if she did not return to work. Id. at
alleges that she responded to Pepco's letter prior to
August 23, 2016, informing Pepco that she was ready to return
to work. Id. at ¶ 13. Plaintiff further alleges
that, on multiple occasions, she provided Pepco with medical
documentation confirming that she could return to work
without limitations. Id. at ¶ 14. Following
Plaintiff's reply to Pepco's letter, Plaintiff
contends that Pepco human resources managers repeatedly told
Plaintiff that a position had been identified and that she
would soon be returned to work. Id. at ¶ 15.
Specifically, in May 2017, Plaintiff alleges that she was
told by Pepco that she would be returned to work by the end
of the month. Id. at ¶ 16. However, Plaintiff
was not reinstated.
January 2018, Plaintiff alleges that Pepco informed her that,
in order to be reinstated, she would “have to monitor
Pepco's vacancy announcements to identify a suitable
position, reapply for employment with Pepco, and be found
qualified for an open position.” Id. Plaintiff
was given until April 20, 2018 to be selected for another
position or face termination. Plaintiff claims that by
placing the burden on her to identify a position, apply, and
be selected, Pepco discriminated against her based on her
disability because other employees were routinely assigned
and reassigned when vacant positions became available.
Id. at ¶ 17.
March 19, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Charge of Discrimination
with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”), alleging that Defendants had
discriminated against Plaintiff on the basis of her
disability by threatening her with termination and by failing
to reinstate her. Id. at ¶ 3. And, the
following day, on March 20, 2019, Plaintiff received a
dismissal of her claim by the EEOC and a notice of her rights
to sue. Id. On June 15, 2018, Plaintiff brought this
lawsuit alleging disability discrimination based on
Defendants' threats of termination and on Defendants'
failure to reinstate Plaintiff.
21, 2018, Pepco terminated Plaintiff's employment.
Id. at ¶ 20a. Plaintiff alleges that her
termination resulted in the loss of wages that she would have
earned if reinstated as well as the loss of healthcare
coverage that she had maintained as an employee of Pepco.
Id. Plaintiff filed a new Charge of Discrimination
with the EEOC based on her termination and received a
dismissal and a notice of her rights to sue on September 18,
2018. Id. at ¶ 3. On September 26, 2018,
Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint including allegations
related to her termination. See Am. Compl., ECF No.
have filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's claims,
arguing that her claims are untimely and that Plaintiff has
failed to state a claim for which relief may be granted.
See Defs.' Mot., ECF No. 10. That Motion is
currently before the Court.
move to dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). According to Rule
12(b)(6), a party may move to dismiss a complaint on the
grounds that it “fail[s] to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
“[A] complaint [does not] suffice if it tenders
‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further
factual enhancement.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 557 (2007)). Rather, a complaint
must contain sufficient factual allegations that, if accepted
as true, “state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. “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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
move to dismiss Plaintiff's claims for disability
discrimination under the ADA and the DCHRA. Defendants have
two arguments for dismissal. First, Defendants contend that
Plaintiff's claims are untimely. Second, Defendants argue
that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim for which relief
may be granted. The Court will address each argument in turn.
Timeliness of Plaintiff's Claims
initial matter, Defendants argue that Plaintiff's claims
for disability discrimination under the ADA and the DCHRA
should be dismissed as untimely. Defendants contend that
Plaintiff's ADA claims are subject to a 180-day
limitations period starting from the filing of her Charge of
Discrimination with the EEOC on March 19, 2018. Defendants
further argue that Plaintiff's DCRA claims are subject to
a one-year limitations period that was temporarily tolled for
the single day that Plaintiff's claims were being
considered by the EEOC. Based on these limitations periods,
Defendants contend that Plaintiff's ADA claims encompass
only those acts occurring on or after September 19, 2017 and
that her DCHRA claims encompass only those acts occurring on
or after June 14, 2017. Defendants go on to explain that,
because Plaintiff's allegations of discrimination all
stem from a June 23, 2016 decision to begin termination
proceedings if Plaintiff did not return to work, all of her
claims are untimely and should be dismissed. For the reasons
explained below, the Court agrees in part and disagrees in
undisputed that Plaintiff filed her initial Charge of
Discrimination with the EEOC on March 19, 2018. See
Ex. C, ECF No. 10-5. Under the ADA, discrimination claims are
generally subject to a 180-day limitations period from the
filing of the EEOC charge. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e)(1). As
such, Plaintiff's discrimination claim would be timely
only with respect to acts occurring on or after September 19,
Plaintiff contends that the limitations period for her
discrimination claim is actually 300 days-not 180 days. In
making her argument in support of a 300-day limitations
period, Plaintiff relies on 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e)(1).
Under this provision, a Charge of Discrimination “shall
be filed [with the EEOC] within one hundred and eighty days
after the alleged unlawful employment practice occurred
… except that in a case of an unlawful employment
practice with respect to which the person aggrieved has
initially instituted proceedings with a State or local
agency … such charge shall be filed by or on
behalf of the person aggrieved within three hundred days
after the alleged unlawful employment practice
occurred.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e)(1) (emphasis
added). When a charging party files a Charge of
Discrimination with the EEOC in the District of Columbia,
that claim is automatically cross-filed with the D.C. Office
of Human Rights pursuant to a work-sharing agreement. See
Schuler v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, 514 F.3d 1365,