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Quigley v. Meritus Health, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Northern Division

February 24, 2015

MARGARET QUIGLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
MERITUS HEALTH, INC., et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

WILLIAM D. QUARLES, Jr., District Judge.

Margaret Quigley, pro se, sued Meritus Health, Inc. and others ("the Defendants") for violating the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 ("FMLA").[1] Pending are the Defendants' motion to dismiss the original complaint and motion to dismiss the amended complaint. No hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2011). For the following reasons, the Defendants' motion to dismiss the original complaint will be denied as moot; the motion to dismiss the amended complaint will be denied.

I. Background[2]

On September 10, 2007, Meritus Medical Center ("Meritus") hired the Plaintiff as a full-time ultrasonographer. ECF No. 13 ("Am. Compl.") at ¶ 8. Between April 2008 and April 2012, the Plaintiff "held the night shift position in the ultrasound department...." Id. at ¶ 9.

In 2012, Meritus had six full-time sonographers. Am. Compl. at ¶ 11. The other five sonographers were on a rotating shift schedule; the only permanent shift was the Plaintiff's. Id. The Plaintiff worked Wednesday through Sunday from 11 pm to 7 am. Id. "[The] night shift pa[id] an additional shift differential of 20% during weeknights... [and] 25% during weekend nights." Id. at ¶ 10.

In February 2012, the Plaintiff informed Meritus that she would be undergoing surgery and would take medical leave starting on April 6, 2012. Am. Compl. at ¶ 12. Meritus approved the leave request. Id. While the Plaintiff was on leave, Meritus shifted all sonographers to a rotating shift schedule, eliminating the Plaintiff's permanent shift. Id. at ¶¶ 15-17.

On May 4, 2012, the Plaintiff notified Meritus that she would be ready to return to her normal shift on May 30, 2012. Am. Compl. at ¶ 13. Meritus informed the Plaintiff that she could return as a full-time sonographer, but she would be placed on a rotating shift schedule like the other sonographers. Id. at ¶ 13. On May 23, 2012, the Plaintiff called the Human Resources Benefit Specialist to complain about being removed from the night shift. Id. at ¶ 14. On May 24, 2012, the Plaintiff called the head of human resources. Id. at ¶ 15. The head of human resources told the Plaintiff that "all employees in ultrasound now work rotating shifts due to the business needs of the department. Id.

The Plaintiff insisted that a rotating shift was not an equivalent position. Am. Compl. at ¶¶ 16-17. The Plaintiff "was adamant about returning to her original position because a rotating shift position would result in a substantial loss of income." Id. at ¶ 18. Further, working a rotating shift interfered with the Plaintiff's care of her elderly mother. Id. In June 2012, the head of the ultrasound department informed the Plaintiff that her last day of work would be June 4, 2012. Id. at ¶ 19.

On June 4, 2014, the Plaintiff sued Meritus and others for violating the FMLA. ECF Nos. 1-2. On July 11, 2014, the Defendants removed the case to this Court. ECF No. 1. On July 16, 2014, the Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim. ECF No. 7. On July 31, 2014, the Plaintiff filed an amended complaint. ECF No. 13.

On August 18, 2014, the Defendants moved to dismiss the amended complaint. ECF No. 16. On September 4, 2014, the Plaintiff opposed the motion. ECF No. 18. On September 22, 2014, the Defendants replied. ECF No. 19.

II. Analysis

A. Legal Standard

Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), an action can be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of a complaint, but does not "resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses." Presley v. City of Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir. 2006).

The Court bears in mind that Rule 8(a)(2) requires only a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Migdal v. Rowe Price-Fleming Int'l Inc., 248 F.3d 321, 325-26 (4th Cir. 2001). Although Rule 8's notice-pleading requirements are "not onerous, " the plaintiff must allege facts that support each element of the claim advanced. Bass v. E.I. Dupont de Nemours & Co., 324 F.3d 761, 764-65 (4th Cir. 2003). These facts must be ...


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