United States District Court, District of Columbia
D. BATES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Murphy alleges that his former employer, the District of
Columbia Department of Corrections, failed to accommodate his
disabilities, interfered with his right to medical leave, and
then fired him in retaliation either for requesting such
leave or for his perceived participation in a Title VII
proceeding. Murphy brings claims against the District under
five statutes: the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-213; the
Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C.
§§ 2601-54; the D.C. Family Medical Leave Act
(“DCFMLA”), D.C. Code §§ 32-501 to
-517; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title
VII”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e to 2000e-17; and
the D.C. Human Rights Act (“DCHRA”), D.C. Code
§§ 2-1401.01 to -1404.04. Pending before the Court
is  the District's motion to dismiss several of these
claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For
the reasons that follow, the Court will grant the motion in
part and deny it in part.
District of Columbia Department of Corrections
(“DOC”) is an agency tasked with operating the
D.C. municipal jail system. In 2015, Murphy was a Lieutenant
at the DOC, where he had worked for twenty-five years. Am.
Compl. [ECF No. 10] ¶ 7. At the time, he suffered from
stage five kidney failure, hypertension, and diabetes.
Id. ¶ 8. On April 2, 2015, Murphy and his
doctor sent the DOC an application for medical leave under
the FMLA, id. ¶ 10, which provides that an
“eligible employee” suffering from a
“serious health condition that makes the employee
unable to perform the functions of [his] position” is
“entitled to a total of 12 workweeks of leave during
any 12-month period, ” 29 U.S.C. § 2612(a)(1)(D).
The DOC never responded to Murphy's April FMLA
application, even after he and his wife “inquired on
several occasions as to [its] status.” Am. Compl.
18, 2015, Murphy was hospitalized for a heart attack.
Id. ¶ 14. He informed the DOC and reapplied for
medical leave. Id. ¶ 15. Murphy never received
a response to his second FMLA request, which he filed on June
22, 2015. Id. ¶ 16.
same day, June 22, Murphy's wife “testified in a
deposition as a key witness . . . in a well-known [Title VII]
sexual-harassment lawsuit” against the DOC.
Id. ¶ 17. The lawsuit was “focused on the
improper conduct of [Murphy's] immediate supervisor,
Major Joseph Pettiford.” Id.
¶18. Pettiford knew that Murphy supported his
wife's decision to participate in the lawsuit.
Id. ¶ 19. Indeed, based on Murphy's
“clear support of his wife's participation, ”
Pettiford perceived Murphy himself as “a participant in
the [sexual harassment suit].” Id.
days later, on June 24, 2015, Murphy received an advance
notice of his termination. Id. ¶ 20. Murphy
alleges that Pettiford, through the DOC, fired him in
retaliation for “requesting FMLA leave, ” for his
“wife's testimony . . . in the sexual harassment
lawsuit, ” and because Pettiford “perceived
[Murphy] as . . . participa[ting] in the” suit alleging
that Pettiford engaged in improper conduct. Id.
August 13, 2015, Murphy filed a “Charge of
Discrimination” with the Equal Opportunity Employment
Commission (“EEOC”) and the D.C. Office of Human
Rights (“OHR”), alleging interference with his
medical leave rights as well as termination in retaliation
against his wife's testimony in the lawsuit. Charge of
Discrimination (“EEOC Charge”), Ex. to Def.'s
Mot. to Dismiss the Am. Compl. in Part [ECF No. 12-1] at 1-2.
Murphy received his EEOC “Right to Sue” letter on
March 27, 2018. Am. Compl. ¶ 22.
alleges various violations of five statutes. Count I alleges
that the DOC violated the ADA in two ways: first, by refusing
to accommodate Murphy's disability by granting his
medical leave requests, and second, by terminating him in
retaliation for invoking his right to medical leave. Am.
Compl. ¶¶ 23-28. Counts II and III allege that the
same conduct-denial of his leave requests and retaliation for
filing those requests-violated the FMLA and DCFMLA,
respectively. Id. ¶¶ 29-36. Count IV
alleges that the DOC violated Title VII by terminating Murphy
in retaliation for his wife's testimony against
Pettiford, id. ¶¶ 37-41, and Count V
alleges that the same conduct violated the DCHRA,
id. ¶¶ 42-46. Murphy seeks, among other
things, $500, 000 in actual damages. Id. at 8.
District has moved to dismiss Murphy's ADA and DCHRA
claims in part, and to dismiss his FMLA, DCFMLA, and Title
VII claims in full. The motion is fully briefed and ripe for
survive a motion to dismiss, 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
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). A plaintiff must plead
“factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Id. A complaint that
“pleads facts that are merely consistent with a
defendant's liability” falls short of showing
plausible entitlement to relief. Atherton v. D.C. Office
of the Mayor, 567 F.3d 672, 681 (D.C. Cir. 2009)
(quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). The Court must
take all allegations in the complaint as true and draw all
reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. See
Aktieselskabet AF 21. Nov. 2001 v. Fame Jeans Inc., 525
F.3d 8, 15 (D.C. Cir. 2008). However, “labels and
conclusions, ” “a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action, ” or “naked
assertion[s] devoid of further factual enhancement” do
not satisfy the pleading standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678 (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). The
Court need not accept legal conclusions or inferences drawn
by the plaintiff which are unsupported by facts alleged in
the complaint. Food & Water Watch, Inc. v.
Vilsack, 808 F.3d 905, 913 (D.C. Cir. 2015).
District moves to dismiss Murphy's claims under the ADA,
FMLA, DCFMLA, Title VII, and the DCHRA. The Court considers
each set of claims in turn.
the ADA, employers are required to make “reasonable
accommodations to the known physical or mental limitations of
an otherwise qualified individual with a disability, ”
42 U.S.C. § 12112(b)(5)(A), and are prohibited from
retaliating against any individual for opposing “any
act or practice made unlawful” by the ADA, 42 U.S.C.
Count I, Murphy alleges three ADA violations. First, he
alleges that the DOC failed reasonably to accommodate his
disability when it did not respond to his April 2, 2015, FMLA
request. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 10, 25. Second, he alleges
that the DOC failed to accommodate his disability when it did
not respond to his June 22, 2015, FMLA request. Id.
¶¶ 15, 25. Third, he alleges that the DOC violated
the ADA when it fired him in retaliation for filing those
requests. Id. ¶ 25. The District moves to
dismiss only the second and third claims-i.e., the
June 22 failure-to-accommodate claim and the retaliation
claim-but not the April 2 failure-to-accommodate claim.
See Mem. of P. & A. Supp. Def.'s Mot. to
Dismiss the Am. Compl. in Part (“Def.'s
Mot.”) [ECF No. 12] at 4-6.
The June 22 Failure-to-Accommodate Claim
Court first considers the June 22 failure-to-accommodate
claim. “To state a claim for failure to accommodate,
[Murphy] must allege facts sufficient to show that (1) he had
a disability within the meaning of the ADA; (2) his employer
had notice of his disability; (3) he could perform the
essential functions of this position with reasonable
accommodation; and (4) his employer refused to make such
accommodation.” Floyd v. Lee, ...