United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON MOTION TO DISMISS
Michael P. Shea, U.S.D.J.
Michelle Boyne filed a two-count Second Amended Complaint
against her former employer, Town and Country Pediatrics and
Family Medicine, alleging violations of Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et
seq. (Count One) and Title II of the Americans with
Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §12101, et seq.
(“ADA”) (Count Two). Defendant moves to dismiss
Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”).
(ECF No. 28.) For the reasons stated below, the Court DENIES
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 31.)
following factual allegations are taken from the SAC.
Plaintiff is a resident of the City of Bristol, Connecticut.
(SAC, ECF No. 28 ¶ 2.) Defendant is a Connecticut
corporation that administers medical services. (Id.
at ¶ 3.) Plaintiff began her employment with Defendant
as a full time medical assistant in November 2010.
(Id. at ¶ 6.) She was initially employed
through Jackie Matchett Personnel Service, and was officially
hired by Defendant on March 14, 2011. (Id. at ¶
December 2011, Plaintiff had pregnancy complications and was
placed on light work duty. (Id. at ¶ 8.) At
that time, she was diagnosed with HELLP Syndrome, “a
life-threatening pregnancy condition and disability that is a
permanent diagnosis.” (Id. at ¶ 9.) Due
to HELLP Syndrome, during pregnancy the Plaintiff suffers
from severe abdominal pain, a swollen liver, headaches,
tiredness, nausea, and ulcers. (Id. at ¶ 11.)
In December 2011, the Plaintiff informed the Defendant about
her diagnosis with HELLP Syndrome and how it would affect her
pregnancy and future pregnancies. (Id. at ¶
12.) On December 31, 2011, the Plaintiff gave birth to a
severely premature son due to HELLP Syndrome. (Id.
at ¶ 13.) Her son did not survive birth. (Id.
at ¶ 14.) Plaintiff returned to work and was placed on
“light duty work with intermittent leave, ” which
the Defendant accommodated. (Id. at ¶ 15-16.)
Plaintiff was able to perform the essential functions of her
job while on light duty. (Id. at ¶17.)
discovered that she was pregnant again in September 2013.
(Id. at ¶ 18.) She was “nervous” to
tell Defendant because of her ongoing HELLP Syndrome, and she
feared that missing work could result in losing her job.
(Id. at ¶ 19.) She informed Defendant of her
pregnancy in January 2014. (Id. at ¶ 20.) As of
January 2014, Plaintiff was working 39.5 hours per week for
the Defendant. (Id. at ¶ 21.) 26 of those hours
were spent performing receptionist duties and 13.5 were spent
performing medical assistant duties. (Id. at ¶
January 31, 2014, Plaintiff had to leave work due to severe
stomach pains related to her pregnancy. (Id. at
¶ 23.) Her obstetrician and gynecologist
(“OBGYN”) excused her from work from January 31
to February 5, 2014, due to medical issues from her pregnancy
and HELLP Syndrome. (Id. at ¶ 23-24.)
Plaintiff's OBGYN also required her to be on light duty
for the remainder of her pregnancy, meaning that she could
not bend or lift anything because it would aggravate her
liver function and cause her pain. (Id. at ¶
25, 27.) She called Malkie Scher (“Scher”), the
Defendant's office manager, to inform her of these
restrictions. (Id. at ¶ 26.) Plaintiff's
OBGYN provided Defendant with out of work notes and light
duty restrictions. (Id. at ¶ 28.) Plaintiff was
able to perform the essential functions of her job while on
light duty and with a reasonable accommodation. (Id.
at ¶ 30.)
February 4, 2014, Plaintiff received a call from Scher who
told her that Dr. Ephraim P. Bartfeld, a doctor for the
Defendant, would not allow Plaintiff to return to work until
her light duty restrictions were lifted. (Id. at
¶ 29.) Plaintiff requested that she be allowed to work
the 26 hours per week of her schedule as a receptionist, as
that did not require any bending or lifting. (Id. at
¶ 31.) Her request was denied, and Defendant did not
allow her to return to work at all, because Scher stated that
the Defendant did not want to “risk it.”
(Id. at ¶ 33-34.)
March 10, 2014, Plaintiff gave birth to a premature daughter,
who contracted necrotizing enterocolitis (“NEC”)
and passed away on March 27, 2014. (Id. at ¶
35-36.) On April 18, 2014, Plaintiff's OBGYN released her
back to work with the same light duty restrictions of no
bending or lifting because of her recovery from HELLP
Syndrome. (Id. at ¶ 37.) At that time,
Plaintiff asked Scher if she could return to work for the 26
hours a week that she had performed receptionist duties.
(Id. at ¶ 38-40.) Her request was again denied,
and Scher informed Plaintiff that Defendant had hired a new
receptionist. (Id. at ¶ 42.)
April and May of 2014, Plaintiff remained in contact with
Scher about her employment status. (Id. at ¶
43.) On June 12, 2014, Plaintiff sent Scher a text message
informing her that Plaintiff's OBGYN would lift her light
duty restrictions on July 7, 2014, and that she could return
to work on that date. (Id. at ¶ 44.) When Scher
did not respond to the message, Plaintiff contacted Scher
again on June 13 and June 16, 2014, to ask about her
employment status. (Id. at ¶ 46.) On June 17,
2014, after Scher failed to respond, Plaintiff contacted
Gabrielle Ministro (“Ministro”), an employee of
Defendant, informed Ministro of her anticipated return to
work date, and told her that Scher had not responded.
(Id. at ¶ 48.) Ministro told the Plaintiff that
she would inform the Defendant. (Id. at ¶ 49.)
When Plaintiff contacted Ministro again on June 18, 2014, she
was told that Dr. Bartfeld was handling her employment.
(Id. at ¶ 50.) Plaintiff then contacted Dr.
Bartfeld that same day. (Id. at ¶ 51.) Dr.
Bartfeld informed Plaintiff that Defendant had filled her
position. (Id. at ¶ 52.) He asked her to call
back on June 20, 2014. (Id. at ¶ 52.) Plaintiff
called back on June 20, 2014, and Dr. Bartfeld asked her to
provide a doctor's note clearing her to return to her
regular duties. (Id. at ¶ 53.) He also informed
her that the only hours Defendant could provide her were on
Sundays, meaning that Plaintiff's hours would decrease
from 39.5 hours to six or seven hours a week. (Id.
at ¶ 54.) On June 30, 2014, Plaintiff received a letter
from Defendant stating that her employment with Defendant was
terminated. (Id. at ¶ 55.) Defendant has hired
two new receptionists and a new medical assistant.
(Id. at ¶ 56.)
filed an administrative complaint with the Commission on
Human Rights and Opportunities (“CHRO”) and Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) on
July 18, 2014. (Id. at ¶ 5.) Plaintiff received
a Dismissal and Notice of Rights letter dated August 17,
2015. (Id.) Plaintiff filed her original complaint
on October 5, 2015. (ECF No. 1.) On January 13, 2016,
Defendant filed a Motion for a More Definite Statement. (ECF
No. 19.) The Court granted the motion and ordered the
Plaintiff to “submit an amended complaint that sets
forth clearly which causes of action she seeks to
plead.” (ECF No. 20.) Plaintiff filed an amended
complaint (ECF No. 21), and Defendant filed a Motion to
Dismiss under Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. (ECF No. 22.) Thereafter, the Court
gave Plaintiff an opportunity to file an amended complaint
“to address the alleged defects discussed in
Defendants' memorandum of law” (ECF No. 24), and
she did so on March 10, 2016. (SAC, ECF No. 28.) On March 24,
2016, the Defendant renewed its motion to dismiss the SAC and
incorporated by reference its prior brief.(ECF No. 23.)