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Geary v. Maryville Academy

June 12, 2012


Name of Assigned Judge or Magistrate Judge Amy J. St. Eve Sitting Judge if Other than Assigned Judge



The Court denies Defendant's motion to dismiss and motion to strike (R. 11.) Status hearing remains set for 7/16/12 at 8:30 a.m.

O[ For further details see text below.] Notices mailed by Judicial staff.


On March 8, 2012, Plaintiff Monica Geary filed the present two-count Complaint against her former employer Defendant Maryville Academy ("Maryville") for violating the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 ("FMLA"), 29 U.S.C. § 2601, et seq., and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq. Before the Court is Maryville's motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and motion to strike pursuant to Rule 12(f). For the following reasons, the Court denies Maryville's motion to dismiss and motion to strike.


Geary started working at Maryville Academy as a Youth Care Worker in March 1999. (R. 1, Compl. ¶ 8.) At all times relevant to this lawsuit, Geary suffered from Raynaud's disease and scleroderma.*fn1 (Id. ¶ 9.) On or about January 18, 2010, Geary submitted a medical certification of a serious health condition and request for accommodation in the form of periodic leave pursuant to the FMLA due to chronic and periodic exacerbation of her physical disabilities. (Id. ¶ 11.) Geary alleges that Maryville acknowledged her physical disabilities and agreed to grant her authorized leave on those occasions when her physical disabilities resulted in periodic "flare-ups" preventing her from performing her job duties. (Id. ¶ 12.) Nevertheless, Geary alleges that Maryville failed to grant Geary authorized leave during flare-ups and, instead, issued Geary notices of absence without leave ("AWOL") and disciplinary sanctions. (Id. ¶ 13.)

Further, Geary alleges that she was scheduled to work the 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. shift on October 3, 2010, but that prior to her shift she contacted her supervisor explaining that she would be late to work due to a flare-up. (Id. ¶¶ 14, 15.) Geary alleges that she arrived approximately nine minutes late to work on October 3, 2010, and that she worked the remainder of her shift that day. (Id. ¶ 16.) On October, 6, 2010, Maryville terminated Geary's employment. (Id. ¶ 17.) Geary also alleges that Maryville contested her application for unemployment compensation benefits based on misconduct, namely, her tardiness on October 3, 2010, yet the Illinois Department of Employment Security ("IDES") determined that Geary's tardiness was due to her medical disability. (Id. ¶ 18.)


I. Motion to Strike -- Rule 12(f)

"Rule 12(f) provides that a district court 'may strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter.'" Delta Consulting Group, Inc. v. R. Randle Const., Inc., 554 F.3d 1133, 1141 (7th Cir. 2009) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f)). Motions to strike pursuant to Rule 12(f) are generally disfavored. See Williams v. Jader Fuel Co., 944 F.2d 1388, 1405-06 (7th Cir. 1991); Riemer v. Chase Bank, N.A., 275 F.R.D. 492, 494 (N.D. Ill. 2011) ("Rule 12(f) motions are generally viewed with disfavor 'because striking a portion of a pleading is a drastic remedy and because it is often sought by the movant simply as a dilatory tactic.'") (citation omitted). Motions to strike are appropriate, however, if they serve to expedite litigation. See Heller Fin., Inc. v. Midwhey Powder, 883 F.2d 1286, 1294 (7th Cir. 1989); see also Talbot v. Robert Matthews Distrib. Co., 961 F.2d 654, 664 (7th Cir. 1992) (allegations may be stricken if matter bears no possible relation to controversy). District courts have considerable discretion to strike allegations under Rule 12(f). See Delta, 554 F.3d at 1141-42. "The party moving to strike has the burden of showing that the challenged allegations are so unrelated to plaintiff's claim as to be devoid of merit, unworthy of consideration, and unduly prejudicial." E & J Gallo Winery v. Morand Bros. Beverage Co., 247 F.Supp.2d 979, 982 (N.D. Ill. 2003) (citation and internal quotation omitted).

II. Motion to Dismiss -- Rule 12(b)(6)

"A motion under Rule 12(b)(6) challenges the sufficiency of the complaint to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of Police of Chicago Lodge No. 7, 570 F.3d 811, 820 (7th Cir. 2009). Under Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint must include "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). The short and plain statement under Rule 8(a)(2) must "give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S. Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47, 78 S. Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957)). Under the federal notice pleading standards, a plaintiff's "factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Put differently, 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, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). "In evaluating the ...

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