United States District Court, D. Maryland
RICHARD D. BENNETT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Charles E. Mattison, Jr. (“Plaintiff” or
“Mattison”) brings this action against Defendants
Maryland Transit Administration, Maryland Department of
Transportation (“MTA”), the State of Maryland
(the “State”), and Mohammad Quraishi
“Defendants”), alleging violations of § 504
of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794; the Family
and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601, et
seq.; the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C.
§§ 12111, et seq., as amended by the
Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008; the
Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act, Md. Code Ann., State
Gov’t §§ 20-601, et seq.; and the
Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law, Md. Code Ann., Lab.
& Empl. §§ 3-501, et seq. Plaintiff
claims that, as an employee of the MTA (and thus, of the
State), he suffered discrimination, retaliation, and other
injuries due to his disability-diverticulitis.
pending is Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss the Amended
Complaint (ECF No. 24). This Court held a hearing on the
pending Motion on May 16, 2016. For the reasons that follow,
Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint
(ECF No. 24) is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. In sum,
Count I will proceed solely against the MTA and the State;
Counts II and III will proceed against the MTA and the State
only for injunctive relief; Count IV will proceed against the
MTA and the State; and Count V is dismissed as to all
Defendants. Plaintiff’s claims are dismissed in their
entirety as to Defendant Quraishi.
motion to dismiss stage, this Court accepts as true the facts
alleged in the plaintiff’s complaint. See Aziz v.
Alcolac, Inc., 658 F.3d 388, 390 (4th Cir. 2011).
Plaintiff Charles Mattison, Jr. is currently an employee of
the Maryland Transit Administration (“MTA”) and
was originally hired as an A Cleaner at the MTA’s Bush
Maintenance Division on May 20, 2011. Amended Compl. ¶ 11,
ECF No. 41. Less than a year later, he was promoted to C
Repairman with a commensurate increase in compensation to
$13.35 per hour. Id. ¶ 13. As a C Repairman,
Plaintiff was tasked with refueling and cleaning the MTA
buses. Id. ¶ 23. He claims that he consistently
performed in a competent and satisfactory manner.
Id. On May 20, 2012, he received another increase in
compensation to $14.23 per hour (plus evening compensation).
Id. ¶ 14.
on June 17, 2012, Mattison claims that he was wrongfully
demoted to an A Cleaner at a pay rate of $11.45 per hour.
Id. ¶ 15. After a hearing to discuss his
demotion,  he was restored to the position of a C
Repairman at the end of June 2012, with a pay rate of $14.23
per hour. Id. ¶ 16. He then succeeded in
obtaining an A Repairman position on October 21, 2012 and was
compensated at a rate of $17.09 per hour. Id. ¶
17. Mattison alleges that this pay rate and the ensuing
increases, however, remain less than the rate to which he is
allegedly entitled as an A Repairman. Id.
¶¶ 17-20. Another A Repairman, Austin Breckinridge,
III (“Breckinridge”), was hired nearly a year
after the Plaintiff at a “top” pay rate of $27.63
per hour. Id. ¶ 18. Mattison’s pay rate
has not surpassed $20.72, which remains his current hourly
wage. Id. ¶ 20. He alleges that he is entitled
to the same compensation as Breckinridge, but has been denied
that pay due to his discriminatory demotion. Id.
claims that his demotion and unequal compensation stem from
Defendants’ discrimination and retaliation against him
due to his disability. He suffers from diverticulitis, an
inflammation of the digestive tract. Id. ¶ 25.
Although Mattison has had surgery to address his condition,
he experiences periodic debilitating “flare-ups”
of severe pain in his abdomen, constipation, infection, and
fever. Id. ¶ 27. During a flare-up,
Plaintiff’s pain is “sufficiently severe so as to
prevent the ability to pursue normal life functions, . . .
necessitate[ing] time off and bedrest.” Id.
¶ 28. To prevent flare-ups, he follows a high fiber diet
that requires frequent use of the bathroom. Id.
¶ 29. Given his condition, Plaintiff applied for leave
under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”)
in May 2012. Id. ¶ 31. He alleges that the MTA,
MDOT, and Quraishi, Plaintiff’s supervisor, were aware
and on notice of his disability and request for FMLA leave.
Id. ¶¶ 30-31. Plaintiff’s request
was approved on June 4, 2012. Id. ¶ 33.
Mattison filed for leave under the FMLA, he claims that
Quraishi began a consistent campaign of harassment and
intimidation. Id. ¶ 35. Prior to his request
for leave, Mattison alleges that he performed in a
satisfactory manner and did not receive any discipline of any
kind. Id. ¶ 34. On June 3, 2012, Quraishi
created a report reprimanding Mattison for taking over two
hours for lunch. Id. ¶ 37. Plaintiff claims
that this report was part of Quraishi’s effort to
demote him to an A Cleaner. Id. ¶¶ 37, 40.
He was indeed demoted to an A Cleaner on the basis of the
“patently untrue” report, an action that
continues to affect his compensation today. Id.
¶¶ 15, 19, 42. Even further, he claims that
Quraishi assigned him larger work quotas than his peers, made
frequent comments about his disapproval of unplanned
absences, ridiculed Mattison for his frequent bathroom use,
and generally “hyper scrutinize[d]”
Mattison’s performance, among other alleged forms of
harassment. Id. ¶¶ 35, 36, 38, 39, 49, 51.
Plaintiff alleges that this discrimination and harassment
continue to this day. As recently as February 21, 2015,
Quraishi allegedly authored a false report of
Plaintiff’s “absence without
justification.” Id. ¶ 50.
filed the present action on June 3, 2015 solely against the
MTA and the State. See Compl., ECF No. 1. After the
MTA and the State collectively moved to dismiss (ECF No. 13),
this Court allowed the Plaintiff to file an Amended Complaint
(ECF No. 41), in which Quraishi was named as an additional
defendant. Mattison asserts five claims against the
Defendants: violations of § 504 of the Rehabilitation
Act (“§ 504”), 29 U.S.C. § 794 (Count
I); the “self-care” provisions of the Family and
Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C.
§§ 2601, et seq. (Count II); Title I of
the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42
U.S.C. §§ 12111, et seq., as amended by
the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008
(Count III); the Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act
(“MFEPA”), Md. Code Ann., State Gov’t
§§ 20-601, et seq. (Count IV); and the
Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law
(“MWPCL”), Md. Code Ann., Lab. & Empl.
§§ 3-501, et seq. (Count V). Defendants
collectively moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint under
Rules 12(b)(1) and (12)(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1)
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure for lack of subject matter jurisdiction
challenges a court’s authority to hear the matter
brought by a complaint. See Davis v. Thompson, 367
F.Supp.2d 792, 799 (D. Md. 2005). This challenge under Rule
12(b)(1) may proceed either as a facial challenge, asserting
that the allegations in the complaint are insufficient to
establish subject matter jurisdiction, or a factual
challenge, asserting “that the jurisdictional
allegations of the complaint [are] not true.” Kerns
v. United States, 585 F.3d 187, 192 (4th Cir. 2009)
(citation omitted). With respect to a facial challenge, a
court will grant a motion to dismiss for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction “where a claim fails to allege
facts upon which the court may base jurisdiction.”
Davis, 367 F.Supp.2d at 799.
the challenge is factual, “the district court is
entitled to decide disputed issues of fact with respect to
subject matter jurisdiction.” Kerns, 585 F.3d
at 192. “[T]he court may look beyond the pleadings and
‘the jurisdictional allegations of the complaint and
view whatever evidence has been submitted on the issue to
determine whether in fact subject matter jurisdiction
exists.’” Khoury v. Meserve, 268
F.Supp.2d 600, 606 (D. Md. 2003) (citation omitted). The
court “may regard the pleadings as mere evidence on the
issue and may consider evidence outside the pleadings without
converting the proceeding to one for summary judgment.”
Velasco v. Gov’t of Indon., 370 F.3d 392, 398
(4th Cir. 2004); see also Sharafeldin v. Md. Dep’t
of Pub. Safety & Corr. Servs., 94 F.Supp.2d 680,
684-85 (D. Md. 2000). A plaintiff carries the burden of
establishing subject matter jurisdiction. Lovern v.
Edwards, 190 F.3d 648, 654 (4th Cir. 1999).
Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)
Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a
complaint must contain a “short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P 8(a)(2). Rule 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorizes the dismissal of
a complaint if it fails to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted. The purpose of Rule 12(b)(6) is “to
test the sufficiency of a complaint and not to 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).
Supreme Court’s opinions in Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), “require that
complaints in civil actions be alleged with greater
specificity than previously was required.” Walters
v. McMahen, 684 F.3d 435, 439 (4th Cir. 2012) (citation
omitted). In Twombly, the Supreme Court articulated
“[t]wo working principles” that courts must
employ when ruling on Rule 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. First, while a court must
accept as true the factual allegations contained in the
complaint, the court is not so constrained when the factual
allegations are conclusory or devoid of any reference to
actual events. United Black Firefighters v. Hirst,
604 F.2d 844, 847 (4th Cir. 1979). Moreover, a court need not
accept any asserted legal conclusions drawn from the
proffered facts. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. (stating
that “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause
of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice” to plead a claim); see also Wag More Dogs,
LLC v. Cozart, 680 F.3d 359, 365 (4th Cir. 2012)
(“Although we are constrained to take the facts in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff, we need not accept
legal conclusions couched as facts or unwarranted inferences,
unreasonable conclusions, or arguments.” (internal
quotation marks omitted)).
a complaint must be dismissed if it does not allege “a
plausible claim for relief.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 679. Although a “plaintiff need not plead the
evidentiary standard for proving” her claim, she may no
longer rely on the mere possibility that she could later
establish her claim. McCleary-Evans v. Maryland
Department of Transportation, State Highway
Administration, 780 F.3d 582, 584 (4th Cir. 2015)
(emphasis omitted) (discussing Swierkiewicz v. Sorema
N.A., 534 U.S. 506 (2002) in light of Twombly
and Iqbal). Under the plausibility standard, a
complaint must contain “more than labels and
conclusions” or a “formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555. While the plausibility requirement does not
impose a “probability requirement, ” id.
at 556, “[a] claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678; see also Robertson v. Sea Pines Real Estate
Cos., 679 F.3d 278, 291 (4th Cir. 2012) (“A
complaint need not make a case against a defendant or
forecast evidence sufficient to prove an
element of the claim. It need only allege facts
sufficient to state elements of the claim.”
(emphasis in original) (internal quotation marks and citation
omitted)). In making this assessment, a court must
“draw on its judicial experience and common
sense” to determine whether the pleader has stated a
plausible claim for relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.
“At bottom, a plaintiff must nudge [its] claims across
the line from conceivable to plausible to resist
dismissal.” Wag More Dogs, LLC, 680 F.3d at
365 (internal quotation marks omitted).
move to dismiss the Amended Complaint on numerous grounds.
For the sake of clarity, this Court will address
Defendants’ arguments in the following order. First,
this Court will consider Defendants’ immunity
arguments: (a) the MTA and the State are entitled to
sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment, U.S. Const.
amend. XI, with respect to Mattison’s FMLA and ADA
claims for monetary relief; and (b) Quraishi is entitled to
immunity with respect to Mattison’s § 504, FMLA,
and ADA claims. Second, this Court will address the various
statute of limitations issues raised against
Plaintiff’s § 504, ADA, and MFEPA claims. Finally,
this Court will address whether Mattison has stated a
plausible hostile environment claim under either § 504
or the ADA.
Sovereign Immunity-the MTA and the State
moving to dismiss Counts II and III, Defendants contend that
they are entitled to sovereign immunity under the Eleventh
Amendment, U.S. Const. amend. XI. As such, this Court lacks
subject-matter jurisdiction to adjudicate Plaintiff’s
claims arising under the “self-care” provision of
the Family and Medical Leave Act and Title I of the Americans
with Disabilities Act. This Court recognizes that “the
ultimate guarantee of the Eleventh Amendment is that
nonconsenting States may not be sued by private individuals
in federal court.” Bd. of Trs. of Univ. of Alabama
v. Garrett, 531 U.S. 356, 363 (2001) (citing Kimel
v. Florida Bd. of Regents, 528 U.S. 62, 73 (2000)).
Given this guarantee, Congress may abrogate a state’s
Eleventh Amendment sovereign ...