United States District Court, D. Connecticut
GARY M. REHO, Plaintiff,
SACRED HEART UNIVERSITY, INC., Defendant.
RULING RE: MOTION FOR PARTIAL DISMISSAL (DOC. NO.
C. Hall United States District Judge.
October 11, 2016, plaintiff Gary M. Reho (“Reho”)
instituted this suit against his former employer Sacred Heart
University, Inc. (“SHU”). See Compl.
(Doc. No. 1) at 1. Reho alleges that his employment was
terminated in violation of the Americans with Disabilities
Act (“Count 1”), see Compl. ¶¶
25-30, and the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act
(“Count 2”), see Compl. ¶¶
31-36. Reho also claims that SHU “intended to inflict
emotional distress upon [him] or knew or should have known
that emotional distress was a likely result of terminating
[Reho] because [he] was a loyal employee for over twenty-five
years and [SHU] was aware that continuing to and returning to
work would improve his ‘cognitive functioning and
emotional wellbeing'” (“Count 3”).
Compl. ¶ 37. Included among Reho's damages demands
was a request for “punitive damages under C.G.S.A.
§ 46a-60(a)(1).” See Compl. at 8.
filed a Motion for Partial Dismissal, in which it contends
that Count 3 should be dismissed, whether it is based on a
theory of intentional infliction of emotional distress or
negligent infliction of emotional distress, and that punitive
damages are not available under the Connecticut Fair
Employment Practices Act (“CFEPA”). See
Mot. for Partial Dismissal (“Motion”) (Doc. No.
13) at 1.
initially failing to respond to the Motion, see
Order (Doc. No. 15), Reho simultaneously filed an Amended
Complaint, see generally First Am. Compl.
(“FAC”) (Doc. No. 22), and opposed the Motion to
the extent it was not rendered moot by the FAC, see
Pl.'s Obj. to Def.'s Mot. for Partial Dismissal
(“Obj.”) (Doc. No. 23) at 1. First, the FAC
removes any request for punitive damages pursuant to section
46a-60(a)(1) of the Connecticut General
Statutes. See Obj. at 1; FAC at 8. Second,
Reho clarified that he is asserting a claim of intentional
infliction of emotional distress-not negligent infliction of
emotional distress-that he argues has been sufficiently
pleaded. See Obj. at 1.
replied in a timely manner. See generally Reply to
Pl.'s Opp'n to Mot. to Dismiss (“Reply”)
(Doc. No. 26).
reasons set forth below, SHU's Motion to Dismiss is
GRANTED IN PART and TERMINATED AS MOOT IN PART.
1990, SHU hired Reho to serve as its head football coach. FAC
¶ 9. Several years later, Reho assumed the position of
Associate Director of Athletics, while continuing to serve as
head football coach. Id. ¶ 11. In July 1997,
Reho accepted a new position at SHU: Director of the William
H. Pitt Health and Recreation Center and Athletic Facilities
(“Pitt Center”). Id. ¶ 12. In that
role, Reho reported to the Dean of Students, managed both
daily and special events at the Pitt Center, supervised other
SHU employees, and developed the Pitt Center's operating
budget. See id. ¶ 13.
December 2014, Reho received the results of neurological
tests he had recently undergone. See id.
¶¶ 16-17. His doctors, including Christine McCarthy
(“Dr. McCarthy”) and Srinath Kadimi (“Dr.
Kadimi”), determined that his test results were
consistent with the onset of dementia. See id.
¶ 17. Reho informed SHU of Dr. McCarthy's
conclusions shortly thereafter and provided SHU with the
“Neuropsychological Evaluation Report” from his
December 22, 2014 evaluation. Id. ¶ 19. That
Report contained Dr. McCarthy's note that Reho's
“cognitive functioning and emotional wellbeing [would]
be improved by returning to work.” Id. ¶
18-19. It also identified accommodations and modifications to
Reho's professional responsibilities that Dr. McCarthy
recommended. Id. ¶ 19.
February and June 2015, employees of SHU's Human
Resources Department corresponded with people affiliated with
the medical practice-Associated Neurologists of Southern
Connecticut, P.C.-from which Reho had received his diagnosis.
See id. ¶ 20. Among these communications was an
inquiry into whether Reho remained capable of performing his
job responsibilities. Id. In a June 10, 2015 letter
sent to SHU's Executive Director for Human Resources
Julie Nofri, Dr. McCarthy made clear that “Mr. Reho is
NOT described as an ‘ . . . individual who is possibly
a candidate for legal conservatorship' in any portion of
my report of his December 2014 neuropsychological
evaluation.” Id. ¶ 21. Dr. McCarthy
further characterized portions of a letter from SHU that
claimed she had opined that Reho was unable to perform the
essential functions of his job as “an entirely
incorrect and inaccurate account of the overall gist of the
professional opinions that I related over the course of our
past telephone conversations.” Id. ¶ 22.
August 27, 2015, Reho was terminated as Director of the Pitt
Center. Id. ¶ 24. This decision was made
notwithstanding the fact that, throughout his employment with
SHU, Reho “never received verbal or written warnings,
disciplinary actions, or reprimands, ” id.
¶ 14, and “received high praise in each of his
annual performance reviews, ” id. ¶ 15.
reviewing a Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the
court “accept[s] all factual allegations as true and
draw[s] all reasonable inferences in favor of the
plaintiff.” Trs. of Upstate N.Y. Eng'rs Pension
Fund v. Ivy Asset Mgmt., 843 F.3d 561, 566 (2d Cir.
2016) (citing City of Pontiac Policemen's &
Firemen's Ret. Sys. v. UBS AG, 752 F.3d 173, 179 (2d
Cir. 2014)). “To 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.'” In re Actos End-Payor Antitrust
Litig., 848 F.3d 89, 97 (2d Cir. 2017) (quoting
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)).
“A claim has facial ...