United States District Court, D. Maryland
Lipton Hollander United States District Judge
Lydia Courtney-Pope, a school teacher, filed suit on December
21, 2016, against defendant Board of Education of Carroll
County (the “Board”), her former employer. ECF 1
(Complaint). Plaintiff, who is self-represented, alleges
violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C.
§ 12101 et seq. (“ADA”); the
Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act (“FEPA”),
Md. Code (2014 Repl. Vol., 2017 Supp.), § 20-606 of the
State Government Article (“S.G.”); and the Family
and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq.
(“FMLA”). ECF 1. Jurisdiction is predicated on 28
U.S.C. § 1331, on the basis of federal questions. ECF 1,
particular, plaintiff alleges that defendant failed to make
reasonable accommodations for plaintiffs disability (Counts
One and Two, under federal and state law); discriminated
against her on the basis of her disability (Counts Three and
Four, under federal and state law); interfered with her
medical leave (Count Five, under federal law); and retaliated
against her for taking medical leave (Count Six, under
federal law). ECF 1, at 18-33.
has filed a combined motion to dismiss as to Count Two of
plaintiffs Complaint, for failure to state a claim, and a
pre-discovery motion for summary judgment with respect to the
remaining counts. ECF 6. The motions are supported by a
memorandum (ECF 6- 1) (collectively, the
“Motions”) and 29 exhibits. Plaintiff opposes the
Motions. ECF 9 (“Opposition”). Defendant replied.
ECF 10 (“Reply”).
seeking leave of Court, plaintiff filed a surreply. ECF 11.
Defendant moved to strike the surreply. ECF 12 (“Motion
to Strike”). Nearly three months later, plaintiff filed
a “supplemental surreply request” (ECF 14,
“Motion for Supplemental Surreply”), with lengthy
exhibits. Defendant moved to strike this surreply, as well.
ECF 16 (“Second Motion to Strike”).
hearing is necessary to resolve the pending motions.
See Local Rule 105.6. For the reasons that follow, I
shall grant the motion to dismiss Count Two; deny the motion
for summary judgment, as premature; deny the Motion to
Strike; deny the Motion for Supplemental Surreply; and deny,
as moot, the Second Motion to Strike.
Factual Background 
alleges that from 2005 to 2014, she was a dance and chorus
teacher at South Carroll High School (“SCHS” or
the “School”) in Carroll County, Maryland. ECF 1,
¶ 1. For the first nine years of her employment, from
2005 through August 2014, plaintiff asserts that she
“met or exceeded her employment expectations and never
received a complaint concerning her work performance,
teaching style, or interactions with SCHS' faculty,
staff, or parents.” Id. ¶ 14.
summer of 2014, plaintiff states that she was diagnosed with
post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”), which
constitutes a disability within the meaning of the ADA.
Id. ¶¶ 20-24. At the beginning of the 2014
school year, plaintiff informed two of her supervisors of her
diagnosis and requested several accommodations. Id.
25-26. Plaintiff mentions three such accommodations that she
requested, and she does not allege that any of those requests
were denied. Id. ¶ 26. However, plaintiff
asserts that defendant's employees were “cold,
insensitive, and callous, ” and she complains that they
never “engage[d] her in an interactive process to 
discuss her disability . . . and how SCHS could
accommodate” her. Id. ¶¶ 32-33.
September 2014, plaintiff requested twelve weeks of
intermittent FMLA leave, and her request was granted.
Id. ¶¶ 42, 44. But, plaintiff contends
that she was mistreated as a result of using her FMLA leave.
For example, plaintiff claims that on several occasions she
only used 45 minutes of leave, yet her salary was docked for
half a day. Id. ¶¶ 49, 90, 91. Plaintiff
also asserts that she was treated worse than other employees
with comparable disabilities who needed comparable
accommodations but did not use FMLA leave. Id.
¶¶ 52-56. And, according to plaintiff, she was
instructed to prepare ten extra lesson plans for the days for
which she took leave, although other teachers were not
required to do so. Id. ¶¶ 71-73.
plaintiff alleges that the Board deterred her from using FMLA
leave. Id. ¶¶ 84-87. She continued to use
intermittent leave, but plaintiff states that on December 19,
2014, she was told that she must either resign or be fired.
Id. ¶ 94. On December 22, 2014, plaintiff
claims she was “let go immediately, ” and the
next day her benefits were cancelled. Id.
plaintiff was removed from the School, a hearing was held
before the Board, pursuant to Md. Code (2014 Repl. Vol., 2017
Supp.), § 6-202(a)(3) of the Education Article
(“Educ.”). See ECF 10 at 8; ECF 6-5
(transcript of termination hearing). After the hearing in
March 2015, the hearing examiner recommended plaintiff's
termination. ECF 6-26 at 53. In August 2015, the Board agreed
with the hearing examiner's decision. ECF 6-27 at
filed a charge of discrimination with the Maryland Commission
on Civil Rights (“MCCR”) on February 3, 2015, and
amended it on April 20, 2015. ECF 6-25. The charge was also
filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”). See ECF 6-30. On August 11,
2016, the MCCR issued a finding of “No Probable Cause
to believe that [defendant] discriminated against [plaintiff]
because of her . . . disability.” ECF 6-29 at 12. On
October 26, 2016, the EEOC adopted the findings of the MCCR
and closed its file on the charge. ECF 6-30 at 1. This suit
followed on December 21, 2016. ECF 1.
Surreplies and Motions to Strike
the briefing of the Motions, plaintiff filed a surreply. ECF
11. However, she did not seek leave of court, as required by
Local Rule 105.2(a). Defendant filed a Motion to Strike,
citing Local Rule 105.2(a). ECF 12. Plaintiff did not respond
to the Motion to Strike.
three months later, plaintiff filed a “Supplemental
Surreply Request in Response to Defense's Memorandum to
Reply to Plaintiffs' [sic] Opposition to
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and Motion for Summary
Judgment.” ECF 14. The contents of that filing are
largely unrelated to the earlier briefs concerning
defendant's Motions. Plaintiff also submitted a binder of
exhibits, including affidavits of several former Carroll
County teachers concerning their experiences in the Carroll
County schools and with plaintiff. Plaintiff states that the
binder constitutes her “informal discovery” and
“unassailably prove[s] the need for formal discovery by
Plaintiff.” Id. at 2. Defendant moved to
strike the supplemental surreply. ECF 16. Plaintiff did not
Rule 105.2(a) provides that a party is not permitted to file
a surreply without permission of the court. The filing of a
surreply “is within the Court's discretion,
see Local Rule 105.2(a), but they are generally
disfavored.” EEOC v. Freeman, 961 F.Supp.2d
783, 801 (D. Md. 2013), aff'd in part, 778 F.3d
463 (4th Cir. 2015); see also, e.g., Chubb &
Son v. C & C Complete Servs., LLC, 919 F.Supp.2d
666, 679 (D. Md. 2013). A surreply may be permitted when the
party seeking to file the surreply “would be unable to
contest matters presented to the court for the first
time” in the opposing party's reply. Clear
Channel Outdoor, Inc. v. Mayor & City Council of
Baltimore, 22 F.Supp.3d 519, 529 (D. Md. 2014)
(quotations and citations omitted). However, a surreply is
not generally permitted where the reply is merely responsive
to an issue raised in the opposition. See Khoury v.
Meserve, 268 F.Supp.2d 600, 605-06 (D. Md. 2003).
clear that plaintiff did not follow Local Rule 105.2(a). She
did not seek leave to file her first surreply, and although
the second surreply is styled as a “Supplemental
Surreply Request, ” the body of that filing appears to
be the surreply itself. However, plaintiff is pro
se, and “a document filed pro se is
‘to be liberally construed.'” Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94, (2007) (citation omitted);
see also Macena v. U.S. Citizenship & Immigration
Servs., TDC-14-3464, 2015 WL 6738923, at *1 (D. Md. Nov.
2, 2015). For this reason, I shall construe plaintiffs
surreplies as motions for leave to file a surreply, and I
shall consider them accordingly.
first surreply appears to respond to new arguments raised in
defendant's Reply. ECF 11 at 6-7. In particular, the
Board argued extensively in its Reply that summary judgment
prior to discovery was appropriate because plaintiff had an
opportunity for discovery during her termination hearing. ECF
10 at 8-14. Although defendant likely raised this argument in
response to plaintiffs contention in her Opposition that
summary judgment was premature (ECF 9 at 20), plaintiff
should be permitted to challenge defendant's assertions
as to the prior opportunity for discovery. Therefore, I shall
consider plaintiff's first surreply. See ECF 11.
As a result, I shall deny defendant's Motion to Strike.
See ECF 12.
plaintiffs Supplemental Surreply is not responsive to any new
arguments raised in defendant's Reply. Therefore, I shall
deny leave for plaintiff to file a supplemental surreply.
Accordingly, I shall ...