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Dwight Ryan v. Pace Suburban Bus Division of the Regional Transportation

August 8, 2011

DWIGHT RYAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
PACE SUBURBAN BUS DIVISION OF THE REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY, AN ILLINOIS MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles P. Kocoras United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION CHARLES P. KOCORAS, District Judge:

This case comes before the Court on the motion of Defendant Pace Suburban Bus Division of the Regional Transportation Authority ("Pace") to dismiss the First Amended Complaint of Plaintiff Dwight Ryan ("Ryan") pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons stated below, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.

BACKGROUND*fn1

In December 1980, Ryan began working for Pace. At the time of the relevant events, Pace employed Ryan as an Inspection Technician. Around December 2003, Ryan was injured in a car accident which rendered him unable to work for approximately eight months. Around August 2004, Ryan returned to work with medical restrictions. After Ryan returned to work, his manager informed him that he would never receive a mid-level salary because he "couldn't do what the other guys could do."

Ryan was injured again in late January 2008, when he suffered an on-the-job back injury. Because of this injury, Ryan received short-term disability benefits and took leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (the "FMLA").Around late June 2008, Ryan's doctor authorized him to return to work with light-duty medical restrictions. On occasion, Ryan's pain was so intense that he was unable to sleep and, thus, unable to drive seventy-five miles to work the following morning. Because of Ryan's pain and inability to sleep, Pace allowed him to take an unpaid day off or arrive at work later than his designated start time. However, sometime during August 2008, Pace began disciplining Ryan for missing days or arriving late. When Ryan reminded his manager of his medical condition and need for accommodations, his manager said that Ryan was "not protected."

Around October 2008, Pace informed Ryan that it could not continue accommodating his disability and encouraged Ryan to again receive short-term disability benefits and take leave under the FMLA. Ryan took Pace's advice.In December 2008, Ryan's doctor permitted him to return to work. However, around that same time, Pace told Ryan's attorney that Ryan could not return to work. Pace then required Ryan to meet with Pace's company doctor and undergo a functional capacity evaluation. On February 17, 2009, Ryan completed the functional capacity evaluation and, throughout the evaluation, stated that he was being discriminated against because he was asked to perform tasks that he had never performed as an Inspection Technician. On February 20, 2009, Pace terminated Ryan because, according to the evaluation, Ryan was unable to perform the normal work requirements of an Inspection Technician and had exhausted his short-term benefits.

On December 9, 2009, Ryan filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). On February 22, 2011, Ryan filed a complaint and, on May 19, 2011, Ryan filed his First Amended Complaint, alleging claims under the FMLA (Counts I and II), Americans with Disabilities Act (the "ADA") (Counts III and IV), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (the "ADEA") (Counts V and VI). Pace now moves to dismiss all claims.

LEGAL STANDARD

A pleading must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Rule 8 does not require detailed factual allegations, but requires more than legal conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). To survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint must contain sufficient facts to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. Id. at 570. In ruling on a motion to dismiss, a court accepts the well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true, construes the allegations of the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Hentosh v. Herman M. Finch Univ. of Health Scis./The Chi. Med. Sch., 167 F.3d 1170, 1173 (7th Cir. 1999).

DISCUSSION

I. Statute of Limitations: FMLA Claims

Pace contends that Ryan's FMLA claims are barred by the statute of limitations. A plaintiff must file an FMLA claim within two years of the last event constituting the alleged violation. 29 U.S.C. § 2617(c)(1). To compute a time period stated in days or a longer unit of time, we "include the last day of the period, but if the last day is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the period continues to run until the end of the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday." Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(a)(1). Washington's Birthday is a "legal holiday." Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(a)(6)(A); 5 U.S.C. § 6103(a) (setting aside the third Monday in February to observe Washington's Birthday).

Here, the last event constituting the alleged violation is Ryan's termination from Pace's employment, which occurred on February 20, 2009. Based on the two-year statute of limitations for an FMLA claim, the statutory period expired on February 20, 2011. Since February 20, 2011, fell on a Sunday and February 21, 2011, fell on a legal holiday, Washington's Birthday, Ryan had until Tuesday, February 22, 2011, to file ...


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