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Carastro v. Alabama Department of Public Health

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

June 25, 2019

MARIE CARASTRO, Plaintiff,
v.
ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          EMILY C. MARKS CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

          This matter is before the Court on a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's second amended complaint (Doc. 31), filed on June 12, 2019.

         The Plaintiff, Marie Carastro (“Carastro”), originally filed a complaint in this case on September 14, 2018. (Doc. 1). She has filed two amended complaints. (Doc. 18 & 30). In her second amended complaint, Carastro brings a claim of retaliation pursuant to Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000 et seq. (“Title VII”), against the Alabama Department of Public Health (“the ADPH”) (count one); a claim for injunctive relief as a remedy for age discrimination against Dennis Blair, Mia Sadler, and Lisa Pezent (count two); a claim of disability discrimination brought pursuant to the Rehabilitation Act against the ADPH (count three); and a Title VII hostile working environment claim against the ADPH (count four).

         For the reasons that follow, the Defendants' motion is due to be GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

         I. LEGALSTANDARD

         “To survive a motion to dismiss [for failure to state a claim], a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 663 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “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.” Id. at 678. “Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief [is] . . . a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id. at 679.

         In analyzing a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the court assumes the factual allegations in the complaint to be true. However, “if allegations [in the complaint] are indeed more conclusory than factual, then the court does not have to assume their truth.” Chaparro v. Carnival Corp., 693 F.3d 1333, 1337 (11th Cir. 2012) (citing Mamani v. Berzain, 654 F.3d 1148, 1153- 54 (11th Cir. 2011)). “[A] plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         II. FACTS

         The allegations of the second amended complaint are as follows:

         Carastro began working for the ADPH in 1989. At the time her employment ended in October of 2018, she worked as a Licensure & Certification Surveyor of nursing homes and related facilities. Carastro is ninety years old.

         Carastro identifies actions taken by the ADPH which she contends were discriminatory on the basis of her age and that she was regarded by the ADPH as being disabled.

         Carastro alleges that as a result of three complaint letters, she was recommended for suspension from surveying facilities. She was subsequently suspended without pay from June 3, 2017 to June 9, 2017.

         With regard to the three complaints, Carastro alleges that staff at nursing homes had been told by the ADPH to call if they had a problem with her and were told that she has Alzheimer's disease. (Doc. 30, at p. 8). Carastro states that she does not have Alzheimer's disease. Carastro also alleges that she was forced to drive long distances to do inspection work and that when she arrived, she was prohibited from doing inspection work. She alleges that no other surveyor was treated that way. (Doc. 30, at p. 8). Carastro alleges that she was required to use electronic devices and computers and that this requirement is evidence of age discrimination. (Doc. 30, at p. 9). Carastro states that the ADPH incorrectly perceived that she is disabled and attempted to make her appear incompetent because of her age.

         Carastro alleges that she has filed multiple charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), including charges in December 2015, ...


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