United States District Court, D. Maryland
J. HAZEL United States District Judge
pending before the Court is a motion to dismiss the Amended
Complaint filed by Plaintiff Monica Jeffries against her
former employer, Defendant Wal-Mart Stores East. LP
("Wal-Mart"). ECF No. 23. Plaintiff, proceeding pro
se, brings claims of failure-to-accommodate, retaliation, and
wrongful discharge against her former employer. Wal-Mart, for
purported violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act
("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12112 et seq.
The Court has reviewed the record and deems a hearing
unnecessary. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For
the reasons stated herein, Wal-Mart's motion to dismiss
to the Amended Complaint. Wal-Mart terminated Plaintiff from
her employment in 2013. during which time she was suffering
from Stage III breast cancer, the side effects of
chemotherapy treatment, and a work-related blunt-force injury
to the forefront of her leg. ECF No. 22 at 2. Plaintiff alleges
that Wal-Mart was aware of Plaintiff s breast cancer prior to
hiring her and during her tenure as an employee. Id.
at 13. Plaintiff took a medical leave of absence from January
2013 to August 2013 related to her breast cancer,
chemotherapy side effects, treatment for the leg injury,
depression, and pneumonia. Id. at 4. Plaintiff
alleges that she contacted Wal-Mart at "all relevant
times" to inform the company of her health status from
the time of her leave until her termination. Id. at
4. She claims that Wal-Mart refused to enter into the
"required interactive process" to accommodate her
disability, and wrongfully discharged her "for
absolutely no reason, except in retaliation because,
plaintiff tiled a grievance against the defendants" for
worker's compensation and unemployment benefits.
Id. at 3-4.
filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), alleging
disability discrimination and retaliation. ECF No. 1-4. She
received a right to sue notice from the EEOC on January 29,
2015. which instructed her that she had ninety days to file a
lawsuit in federal court. ECF No. 1-5. Plaintiff filed her
initial Complaint in this Court on February 18. 2015. and
Wal-Mart moved to dismiss the Complaint on May 27, 2015. ECF
Nos. 1 & 8. On June 16. 2015. Plaintiff filed a
"Memorandum of Law in Support of her Motion to Dismiss
Defendants Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs Complaint."
which the Court construed as a response in opposition to
Wal-Mart"s Motion to Dismiss. ECF No. 10. Wal-Mart filed
its reply on June 26, 2015. ECF No. 15. Plaintiff then filed
a Motion for Leave to File a Surreply. ECF No. 17. which
Wal-Mart opposed. ECF No. 18. On February 3, 2016. the Court
denied Plaintiffs Motion for Leave to File a Surreply and
granted Wal-Mart's motion to dismiss without prejudice,
allowing Plaintiff to amend her initial Complaint in order to
add factual allegations to satisfy the requirements for
pleading a claim under the ADA. See ECF No. 20.
filed her Amended Complaint on March 7, 2016. and Wal-Mart
moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint on March 10. 2016. ECF
Nos. 22, 23. On March 22. 2016. Plaintiff filed her
opposition to Wal-Mart's motion to dismiss, and Wal-Mart
filed its reply on April 1, 2016. ECF Nos. 25, 26. On April
27. 2016. Plaintiff again filed a motion for leave to file a
surreply, ECF No. 28, which Wal-Mart opposed. ECF No. 29.
MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE SURREPLY
first issue to be considered is whether Plaintiffs motion for
leave to file a surreply should be granted. "As a
general rule, this Court will not allow parties to file
sur-replies." See Nicholson v. Volkswagen Grp. of
Am., Inc., No. RDB-13-3711. 2015 WL 1565442. at *3 (D.
Md. Apr. 7, 2015) (citing Loc. R. 105.2.a (D. Md. 2001)):
MTB Servs., Inc. v. Tuckman-Barbee Const. Co., No.
RDB-12-2109. 2013 WL 1224484, at *6 (D. Md. Mar. 26, 2013)).
"A party moving for leave to file a surreply must show a
need for a surreply." Id. (citing Loc. R.
105.2.a (D. Md. 2001)). The Court may, however, permit a
plaintiff to file a surreply if "a defendant raises new
legal issues or new theories in its reply brief."
Id. (citing TECH USA., Inc. v. Evans. 592
F.Supp.2d 852, 862 (D. Md. 2009)). "Surreplies may be
permitted when the moving party would be unable to contest
matters presented to the court for the first time in the
opposing party's reply." MTB Servs., 2013
WL 1224484. at *6; .see also Khoury v. Meserve, 268
F.Supp.2d 600, 605 (D. Md. 2003).
Wal-Mart's reply does not introduce any new facts, legal
issues, or theories. Plaintiff has shown no need to file a
surreply, and Plaintiffs motion is therefore denied.
MOTION TO DISMISS
Standard of Review
has moved to dismiss Plaintiffs Amended Complaint for failure
to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). When deciding a
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). a court "must
accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in
the complaint" and must "draw all reasonable
inferences [from those facts] in favor of the
plaintiff." E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. v. Kolon
Indus.. Inc.. 637 F.3d 435, 440 (4th Cir. 2011)
(citations and internal quotation marks omitted). 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.""
Ashcrofl v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662. 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544. 570
(2007)). The factual allegations must be more than
"labels and conclusions . . . [they] must be enough to
raise a right to relief above the speculative level . . .
." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; see also
5 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure
§ 1216, 235-36 (3d ed. 2004) ("[T]he pleading must
contain something more . . . than ... a statement of facts
that merely creates a suspicion [of] a legally cognizable
right of action."). "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 663. "But where the
well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than
the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has
alleged-but it has not show[n]-that the pleader is entitled
to relief." Id. at 679 (citing Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2)) (alterations in original). Although pleadings of
self-represented litigants must be liberally construed,
see Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147. 1151 (4th Cir.
1978), liberal construction does not give the court license
to ignore a clear failure to allege facts that set forth a
cognizable claim. See Weller v. Dep't of
Soc. Servs. for City of Baltimore, 901 F.2d 387. 391
(4th Cir. 1990).
Amended Complaint raises three distinct causes of action: (1)
failure-to-accommodate under the ADA; (2) retaliation under
the ADA; and (3) wrongful discharge ...