United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
SUSAN M. MANLEY, Plaintiff,
WASHINGTON ADVENTIST HOSPITAL et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
W. Grimm United States District Judge
Susan M. Manley was a registered nurse at Washington
Adventist Hospital in Montgomery County, Maryland for 10
years. Compl. 7, ECF No. 1. On October 13, 2016, the hospital
administration fired her, citing a string of unscheduled
absences over the preceding 10 months. See Id. at 9;
Termination Report 5, ECF No. 1-4. Ms. Manley responded with
this lawsuit, asserting a series of federal employment
discrimination claims against the hospital, her supervisor,
and various colleagues. Her Complaint also asserts a claim
under a recently enacted county ordinance that aims that
protects workers' rights to accrue and use "sick and
safe leave." Defendants have moved for dismissal under
Rule 12(b)(5) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
arguing Ms. Manley failed to properly serve them with a
summons and a copy of her Complaint before the Court-ordered
deadline. See Defs.' Mem. 3-8, ECF No. 15-2.
Failing that, they say, the Court should dismiss most of her
claims under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim.
are correct that Ms. Manley failed to effect service of
process before the court-ordered deadline of November 5,
2018. I choose, nevertheless, to exercise my discretion to
extend the deadline. The case will proceed, but in a
streamlined form, as I agree with Defendants that Ms. Manley
has failed to state any claims against the individual
defendants and, further, has not stated a plausible claim
under the county ordinance.
Manley, who is representing herself, has brought this suit
against Washington Adventist Hospital and four of her
colleagues on her unit: Miriam Prudente, who was the director
of the unit; Elizabeth Karley and Nancy Wetmore, who were
assistant directors; and Laurien Yeneberi, a "patient
care tech." See Compl. 7-9; ECF No. 1-5. The
Complaint identifies the director, Ms. Prudente, as Filipino.
See Id. at 10. It also identifies all of the
individual defendants as members of the Seventh Day Adventist
Church. See Id. at 8-9. Ms. Manley herself is white
and Catholic. See Id. at 7; EEO Charge 3, ECF No.
1-1. She states that, at 62, she was the "oldest
one" on the day shift. Compl. 10.
Manley's Complaint is voluminous, with more than 150
pages of exhibits. Among those exhibits are several
"corrective action" reports Ms. Manley received in
the course of her final year and a half of employment at the
hospital. An April 2015 report alleges Ms. Manley
"incurred 5 unscheduled absences from January 1 to Dec.
31, 2014." Corrective Actions 9, ECF No. 1-4. An October
2015 report states, similarly, that she "incurred 5
unscheduled absences from January 1 to Oct. 1, 2015."
Id. at 11. Ms. Manley disputes these accusations.
See Attendance R. 14-18, ECF No. 1-2. She also
asserts that a spate of tragedies between 2014 and 2016,
including the deaths of several family members, had forced
her to take more time off of work during this period than she
otherwise might have. See Compl. 7.
January 23, 2016, Ms. Manley was unable to make it into work
because of a major snowstorm. See Compl. 8-9. Ms.
Prudente spoke with her the following week and issued another
corrective action report, citing her "[f]ailure to plan
for inclement weather and meet [her] responsibility of
working [her] assigned shift even during inclement/hazardous
weather conditions." Corrective Actions 1. The report
noted that administrators had emailed the staff two days
before the storm, reminding those who were scheduled to work
during the storm that "it is expected they will be
there" and advising them "to begin making
arrangements to ensure attendance." Id. Ms.
Prudente, who signed the report, labeled it as a "final
written" warning and wrote: "Failure to report to
work when scheduled will result in additional disciplinary
action, up to and including termination of employment."
months later, after Ms. Manley phoned in saying she "had
been sick for a week," Ms. Prudente sent her an email
under the heading "Unscheduled absences." ECF No.
1-4. The email, which opened with a wish for Ms. Manley's
speedy recovery, counted three unscheduled absences over the
preceding four months and said that, while her supervisors
were "trying to be very understanding," they wanted
to "make it clear that because we are stewards of the
patients we serve and the people we work with, it is with
extreme importance that you have to make a personal plan on
how to manage your work attendance." Id.
situation came to a head toward the end of that summer, when
Ms. Manley requested approval for a one-week vacation in
November 2016. See Aug.-Sept. 2016 Emails 20-21, ECF
No. 1-7. Ms. Prudente hesitated to approve the request,
explaining that it did not appear that Ms. Manley had enough
hours of paid leave to cover it. See Id. at 20. Ms.
Manley insisted she did. See Id. A few weeks later,
Ms. Manley's niece died, and Ms. Manley asked for time
off to attend the funeral. See Compl. 7. Ms.
Prudente's response, allegedly, was, "It looks like
you have a lot going on[.] [A]re you going to retire?"
Prudente issued a final corrective action report, terminating
Ms. Manley's employment, on October 13, 2016, shortly
after the latter took what Ms. Prudente counted as her fourth
unscheduled absence since February 2016. See
Termination Report 5.
Manley filed a charge with the U.S. Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on September 10,
2017. EEO Charge. The charge accused Ms. Prudente of
consistently chastising her for seeking to take time off and
treating her less favorably than her coworkers. See
Id. The EEOC dismissed the claim on October 25, 2017.
See ECF No. 1-1.
lawsuit followed. Ms. Manley, acting without the assistance
of counsel, filed the Complaint on January 5, 2018, asserting
what appear to be three claims: (1) racial and religious
discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964, (2) age-based discrimination under the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), and (3)
violation of the Montgomery County Earned Sick and Safe Leave
February 15, 2018, I issued an order directing Ms. Manley to
effect service on each defendant and to have the server
promptly notify the Court, through an affidavit, that this
has been done. ECF No. 3. The order noted that service was
due 90 days after the Complaint was filed and that the
failure to provide proof of service could result in the
dismissal of her case. Id.
revisited this issue in an October 5, 2018 letter order,
noting that Ms. Manley had not effected service within the
90-day timeframe. I reasoned, though, that a pair of motions
she had filed seeking the benefit of court-appointed
counsel had demonstrated "good cause for the
delay," and so I extended the deadline to November 5,
2018. ECF No. 7.
Manley later notified me in a letter that she effected
service via certified mail on October 31, 2018. ECF No. 8.
Defendants, however, countered that she had failed to request
"restricted delivery" in compliance with Maryland
procedural rules and, for that matter, had failed to include
a copy of the Complaint. See ECF No. 9. Defendants
also pointed out that she had not served the hospital's
resident agent and that none of the individual defendants
received anything until sometime after the November 5, 2018
deadline. See id.
Manley continued to keep me apprised of her efforts to effect
service, see ECF No. 13, even after I approved
Defendants' request to file a motion to dismiss the
Complaint, see ECF No. 12. Defendants filed their
motion on January 23, 2019. Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 15. Five
days later, Ms. Manley filed proof that she served all five
defendants via certified mail, receipt requested, on January
24, 2019. ECF No. 18.
motion to dismiss has been fully briefed. See ECF
Nos. 15-2, 21, 26, 27. There is no need for a hearing.
See Loc. R. 105.6.