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Regenia Brown v. Casey's Retail Company

May 13, 2013

REGENIA BROWN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CASEY'S RETAIL COMPANY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herndon, Chief Judge

MEMORANDUM and ORDER

I. Introduction

Now before the Court is defendant Casey's Retail Company's (CRC) motion to dismiss Count II of plaintiff Regenia Brown's (Brown) complaint (Doc. 8). CRC moves to dismiss Count II of Brown's complaint under FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 12(b)(6), arguing Brown fails to state a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Specifically, CRC contends that Brown "failed to allege any severe and outrageous conduct" by CRC. Brown opposes the motion (Doc. 17). Based on the following, the Court DENIES the motion.

II. Background and Allegations

On September 20, 2012, Brown filed a three-count complaint against CRC, her former employer (Doc. 2). The complaint is comprised of: Count I for retaliatory discharge; Count II for intentional infliction of emotional distress; and Count III for a labor standards violation.

According to the complaint, Brown took leave from her employment, pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act on March 5, 2012, "for a serious medical condition requiring a hysterectomy." Upon returning from leave on May 1, 2012, Brown alleges she was subjected to retaliation and harassment because of her temporary absence. Brown alleges she was wrongfully discharged on May 23, 2012, in retaliation for having taken an FMLA leave.

Relevant to CRC's instant request, the allegations of Count II for intentional infliction of emotional distress are as follows:

10. [CRC] knew that [Brown] has suffered a serious medical condition requiring a surgical hysterectomy. [CRC], by its store manager, Connie Holland, complained to [Brown] about that the fact that she had taken FMLA leave and harassed [Brown] for taking the leave.

11. Upon [Brown's] return to work, she found [CRC's] store manager to be extremely upset with her, rude, making comments about [Brown's] poor work performance, and would bring [Brown] to tears with her negativity and harassing language. [Brown] became extremely upset and distraught and cried in [CRC's] store manager's presence. [CRC's] store manager knew [Brown] was in a weakened mental and physical condition and her comments and actions were part of a course of conduct which was consistent and began even before [Brown] took her leave with [CRC] questioning the need for her leave and complaining about the burdens it was creating for other staff.

12. [CRC] should have reasonably have known that this would create tremendous emotional upset and distress to [Brown]. [Brown] was, in fact, subjected to an intolerable and unbearable work environment and finally on May 23, 2012 was wrongfully discharged in retaliation for her exercising her rights for FMLA leave.

13. [CRC] should have reasonably known that the wrongful discharge would cause tremendous distress and upset to [Brown] with worry over her financial condition, her loss of her career, loss of her benefits, and further upset. [Brown] suffered emotional distress which was profound requiring medical attention and medication with damages exceeding in excess of $100,000. (Doc. 2, pp. 3-4).

II. Legal Standard

A Rule 12(b)(6) motion challenges the sufficiency of the complaint to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge 7, 570 F.3d 811, 820 (7th Cir. 2009). The Supreme Court explained in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007), that Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal is warranted if the complaint fails to set forth "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face."

In making this assessment, the district court accepts as true all well-pled factual allegations and draws all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. See Rujawitz v. Martin, 561 F.3d 685, 688 (7th Cir. 2009); St. John's United Church ...


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