United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION
Scott Coogler, United States District Judge.
Ivory Jean Seay (“Seay”), who is proceeding
pro se, brings this action against her former
employer Eagle Cleaning Service (“Eagle”),
alleging claims for disability discrimination and retaliation
in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990,
42 U.S.C. § 12112 et seq. (“the
ADA”). Before the Court is Eagle's Motion to
Dismiss. (See Doc. 9.) The motion has been fully
briefed and is ripe for review. For the reasons stated below,
Eagle's motion (doc. 9) is due to be denied. However,
Seay's supervisor, Debra Lewis (“Lewis”), who
Seay also names as a defendant, is due to be dismissed from
March 7, 2017, Eagle hired Seay to work as a cleaning service
agent. On September 19, 2017, Seay told Lewis, her
supervisor, that she was experiencing pain and needed to go
to the hospital. Seay was then informed that she needed to
work, so she waited to go to the hospital until after her
last cleaning assignment. On September 20, 2017, Seay's
physician advised her not to return to work the next day due
to the medication she had been provided. That same day, after
Seay provided this information to Lewis, Lewis terminated
claims to suffer from degenerative arthritis in her arms,
hips, and lower back. Seay receives injections for this
condition. According to Seay, after a fellow employee
resigned, Eagle assigned her extra work, which caused her
medical condition to deteriorate. Seay states that she told
Lewis that the extra work was too much and that additional
help was needed. However, even after Lewis informed Seay that
a new employee had been hired, she was still being assigned
Standard of Review
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that a complaint
provide “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). To meet this standard, the complaint
must state enough facts to raise the right to relief
“above a speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Pleadings based
upon “labels and conclusions” or “naked
assertion[s]” without supporting factual allegations
will not suffice. Id. at 555, 557. A party need not
specifically plead each element in his or her cause of
action, but the pleading must contain “enough
information regarding the material elements of a cause of
action to support recovery under some viable legal
theory.” Am. Fed'n of Labor & Cong. Of
Indus. Orgs. v. City of Miami, Fla., 637 F.3d 1178, 1186
(11th Cir. 2011). Ultimately, the Court must be able to draw
a reasonable inference from the facts that the other party is
liable. Reese v. Ellis, Painter, Ratterree & Adams,
LLP, 678 F.3d 1211, 1215 (11th Cir. 2012).
process for evaluating the sufficiency of a complaint has two
steps. This Court “begin[s] by identifying pleadings
that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not
entitled to the assumption of truth.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009). Conclusory statements
and recitations of a claim's elements are thus
disregarded for purposes of determining whether a plaintiff
is entitled to survive a motion to dismiss. Id. at
678. Next, this Court “assume[s] [the] veracity”
of “well-pleaded factual allegations” and
“determine[s] whether they plausibly give rise to an
entitlement to relief. Id. at 679. In reviewing the
complaint, this Court “draw[s] on its judicial
experience and common sense.” Id.
Seay has submitted her complaint pro se, this Court
must construe her complaint liberally. See Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). However, while a pro
se plaintiff will be given greater leniency,
“[t]his leniency . . . does not require or allow courts
to rewrite an otherwise deficient pleading in order to
sustain an action.” Thomas v. Pentagon Fed. Credit
Union, 393 Fed.Appx. 635, 637 (11th Cir. 2010).
copy of a written instrument that is an exhibit to a pleading
is a part of the pleading for all purposes.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c). Thus, exhibits attached to a complaint
may be considered when ruling on a motion to dismiss without
converting that motion into a motion for summary judgment.
See Horsley v. Feldt, 304 F.3d 1125, 1134 (11th Cir.
2002). Because Seay has attached her EEOC charge as an
exhibit to her complaint, the Court has considered the
allegations contained within the EEOC charge when rendering
state an ADA discrimination claim, a plaintiff must allege
that she was disabled, qualified to perform the job, and
discriminated against because of her disability. See
Mazzeo v. Color Resolutions Int'l, LLC, 746 F.3d
1264, 1268 (11th Cir. 2014). A disability, for the purposes
of the ADA, is “a physical or mental impairment that
substantially limits . . . [a] major life activit[y].”
42 U.S.C. § 12102(1)(A). A physical impairment includes
“[a]ny physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic
disfigurement, or anatomical loss” that affects the
musculoskeletal system. See 29 C.F.R. §
1630.2(h)(1). Working, walking, standing, sitting, and
bending are all examples of major life activities.
See 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(i). An impairment
“substantially limits” one of these activities if
it restricts “the ability of an individual to perform
[the life activity] as compared to most people in the general
population.” 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(j)(1)(ii).
Seay has sufficiently alleged that she was disabled.
Degenerative arthritis is a condition that affects the
musculoskeletal system. Seay states that when Eagle assigned
her additional duties her condition deteriorated and that
“the added work was too much and additional help was
needed.” (See Doc. 1 at 11.) Thus, Seay has
plausibly alleged that her arthritis made it more difficult
for her to work, which is considered a major life activity.
Construing Seay's complaint liberally, as it must, the
Court finds that it is plausible that “most people in
the general ...