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Camacho v. Advocate Health Care

November 22, 2011

CAMACHO
v.
ADVOCATE HEALTH CARE



Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge Blanche M. Manning than Assigned Judge

CASE

TITLE

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

For the reasons stated below, the court grants the defendant's motion to dismiss the disparate impact and retaliation claims, denies the motion to dismiss the breach of written contract claim [7-1], and grants Camacho's motion for leave to file an amended complaint as to Count I [15-1]. By allowing the plaintiff to file the amended complaint, the court is not opining on the legal sufficiency of the allegations. Camacho shall file her amended complaint no later than 5 days from the date of this order and the defendant shall answer or otherwise plead to the amended claims no later than 14 days from the date of filing of the amended complaint.

O[ For further details see text below.]

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STATEMENT

Maria Camacho sued Advocate Health Care under Title VII for pregnancy discrimination and retaliation, among other things. The defendant has filed a motion to dismiss the disparate impact claim, the retaliation claim and the breach of written contract claim. In responding to the motion to dismiss, the plaintiff also sought leave to file an amended complaint as to all three counts. For the reasons stated below, the court grants the defendant's motion to dismiss the disparate impact and retaliation claims, denies the motion to dismiss the breach of written contract claim, and grants Camacho's motion for leave to file an amended complaint as to Count I. Camacho shall file her amended complaint no later than 5 days from the date of this order. The defendant shall answer or otherwise plead to the amended claims no later than 14 days from the date of filing of the amended complaint.

Facts

The following well-pled facts are accepted as true for purposes of this motion to dismiss. Camacho was employed as a patient service representative at Advocate Medical Group in Logan Square between January 2005 and November 16, 2009. In May 2009, Camacho told her supervisor Gwendolyn Young, that she was pregnant and expected to work up until the date of the delivery in December 2009. On August 26, 2009, when Camacho was 5 1/2 months pregnant, she requested an intermittent FMLA leave of absence. Camacho was initially told that she was eligible for and could take intermittent leave. However, her request for intermittent leave was ultimately denied and the defendant insisted that Camacho take a full-time leave of absence under the FMLA. This leave expired on November 16, 2009, when Camacho was eight months pregnant.

The defendant sent Camacho a letter stating that after November 16, 2009, she had exhausted her job guarantee and that unless she immediately returned to work, she would be considered to have voluntarily resigned. Camacho called Young in early November 2009 to ask if she could return to her job. Young told her to stay home and take care of her babies. Camacho also called Donna Jackson, another supervisor, in November 2009 and asked to return to work, but Jackson told her the position had been filled. She was discharged on November 16, 2009. Camacho gave birth to twins on December 6, 2009.

Camacho's complaint contains a claim under Title VII, alleging pregnancy discrimination (both on a disparate treatment and disparate impact theory) and retaliation, a claim under the Family Medical Leave Act for interference and retaliation, a claim for breach of oral contract, a claim for breach of written contract and a claim for promissory estoppel.

Standard on Motion to Dismiss

A complaint need only contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). The Seventh Circuit explained that this "[r]ule reflects a liberal notice pleading regime, which is intended to focus litigation on the merits of a claim rather than on technicalities that might keep plaintiffs out of court." Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 580 (7th Cir. 2009) (internal quotations omitted). However, a complaint must contain "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face" and also must state sufficient facts to raise a plaintiff's right to relief above the speculative level. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 547 (2007). In Ashcroft v. Iqbal, the Supreme Court stated that a claim has facial plausibility "when the plaintiff pleads ...


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