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Teasdell v. Baltimore County Board of Education

United States District Court, District of Maryland, Northern Division

December 16, 2014



William D. Quarles, Jr., United States District Judge.

Patricia Teasdell, pro se, sued the Baltimore County Board of Education (the "Board"), and others[1] (collectively, the "defendants"), for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended ("ADA")[2] and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, as amended ("HIPAA").[3] Pending is the Board's unopposed motion for summary judgment, or, to dismiss. ECF No. 23. No hearing is necessary. Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2014). For the following reasons, the Board's motion, construed as a motion for summary judgment, will be granted.

I. Background

A. Facts[4]

Teasdell was a Building Service Worker assigned to various elementary schools for the Baltimore County Public Schools System, which is operated by the Board. ECF No. 2 ¶¶ 1-2. Todd is a Building Operation Supervisor, Eppig a Senior Operations Supervisor, and Baker a Field Representative for the Board. Id. ¶¶ 3-5. Teasdell's essential job functions include " [c] limb-ting] a 25 foot ladder to replace lights, clean ceilings[, ] and walls"; "[c] limb[ing] steps"; and other activities involving bending, stretching, and reaching. ECF No. 23-4 at 1.

On June 23, 2011, Teasdell "fell over a rug" while cleaning at Milbrook Elementary School and injured her left knee. ECF Nos. 2 ¶ 8; 23-5 at 1; 23-16 at 1. Teasdell's primary care physician excused her from work from June 24 to June 28, 2011. ECF No. 23-16 at 1. On June 29, Teasdell returned to light duty work. ECF Nos. 23-5 at 1; 23-16 at 1.

On August 5, 2011, Teasdell met with Baker and Todd about her lateness for work on three days when she had physical therapy. ECF Nos. 2 ¶ 18; 23-6. Baker memorialized the discussion in a letter to Teasdell, which stated that "[t]his letter is not a disciplinary action and is informational only"; Teasdell refused to acknowledge receipt by signing the letter. ECF No. 23-6.[5]

On August 11, 2011, Todd took Teasdell's photograph while she was cleaning. ECF No. 23-16 at 1. Todd explained that he took the picture to prove that "[she] was faking [her] injury." Id.

On November 11, 2011, during an inspection at Milbrook Elementary School, Baker "told [Teasdell] that the school looked good, except that there were a lot of lights out." ECF No. 23-7 at 2. Teasdell asked "if it was her job to change the lights"; Baker responded that it was. Id. According to Teasdell, she "was threatened by [Baker] to climb a ladder to change a light bulb . . . [or] he would personally terminate [her]." ECF No. 23-16 at 1. Teasdell told him she "had a doctor's note not to climb ladders." Id. Baker swore that Teasdell "never mentioned . . . that she had been suffering from a knee injury[, ] or that she feared that changing the light bulbs might" worsen her knee injury. ECF No. 23-7 at 2. Baker never "threaten[ed] to terminate her, and " [did] not have the independent authority to recommend her termination." Id. Teasdell climbed the ladder, changed the light bulbs, fell while descending, and reinjured her knee. ECF No. 23-16 at 1.

Baker further swore that, on November 11, 2011, Teasdell "was not receiving any accommodations and . . . had no restrictions in place regarding her workload." Id. On November 15, 2011, Teasdell saw Angela Swinson, M.D., for a re-evaluation of her left knee after her fall from the ladder. ECF No. 23-25 at 12. Dr. Swinson noted that--as of October 4, 2011--Teasdell was discharged from medical care in connection with her June 23, 2011 injury, because " [a]t that time, her left hip and left knee were improved and . . . stable." Id. Dr. Swinson recommended that Teasdell take time off from work as a result of her worsening left knee symptoms. Id.[6]

B. Procedural History

On November 15, 2012, Teasdell filed suit in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County, Maryland, alleging (1) "action for improper and illegal retaliation and conspiracy to commit retaliation, " (2) violation of the ADA, and (3) violation of HIPAA. ECF No. 2. On January 9, 2013, the defendants removed to this Court. ECF No. 1.

On January 16, 2013, the defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim. ECF No. 9. On February 22, 2013, Teasdell moved to strike the defendants' motion asserting that she had not received the motion from them. ECF No. 13.

On September 6, 2 013, the Court granted in part, and denied in part, the defendants' motion to dismiss, and denied Teasdell's motion to strike. ECF No. 17. The Court granted the defendants' motion on (1) the ADA claims against the individual defendants because the ADA only permits actions against employers, (2) the retaliation claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and (3) the HIPAA claim, because the statute does not contain a private right of action; the Court denied the motion on the hostile work environment claim. ECF ...

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