United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Robert Blakey, United States District Judge.
Mark Richardson alleges that Defendant Chicago Transit
Authority terminated his employment as a bus operator in
violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42
U.S.C. § 12112 et seq. (hereinafter the
“ADA”). Defendant moved to dismiss
Plaintiff's claim , and for the reasons explained
below, Defendant's motion is denied.
worked for Defendant as a bus operator from August 15, 1999
through at least February 14, 2012.  at 1. In September of
2010, Plaintiff attempted to return to his job from an
extended medical leave. Id. at 2. On or about
September 13, 2010, a physician employed by Defendant
determined that Plaintiff was physically able to return to
work as a bus operator. Id. Defendant was also given
a “safety assessment” on September 16, 2010,
which “was different” from the safety assessment
that is normally required of bus operators returning from
extended leave. Id.
eventually rejected Plaintiff's request to return to
work. Id. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant refused
to allow him to return to work because Defendant regarded him
as disabled, due to his obesity. Id. On December 1,
2010 Plaintiff filed, with the assistance of his present
counsel, a Charge of Discrimination with the U.S. Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).
Id. Ex. A. The substantive portion of that Charge of
Discrimination reads as follows:
I have been employed by Respondent since August 15, 1999, as
a Bus Operator. I was given a Special Assessment, which I
passed and my doctor released me to return to work.
Respondent denied my return to work.
I believe I have been discriminated against because of my
disability, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities
Act of 1990, as amended.
Id. Plaintiff's EEOC Charge did not resolve the
parties' dispute, and Plaintiff was issued a “right
to sue” letter on December 15, 2015. Id. Ex.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), this Court must
construe the Complaint in the light most favorable to
Plaintiff, accept as true all well-pleaded facts and draw all
reasonable inferences in his favor. Yeftich v. Navistar,
Inc., 722 F.3d 911, 915 (7th Cir. 2013); Long v.
Shorebank Dev. Corp., 182 F.3d 548, 554 (7th Cir. 1999).
Statements of law, however, need not be accepted as true.
Yeftich, 722 F.3d at 915. Rule 12(b)(6) limits this
Court's consideration to “allegations set forth in
the complaint itself, documents that are attached to the
complaint, documents that are central to the complaint and
are referred to in it, and information that is properly
subject to judicial notice.” Williamson v.
Curran, 714 F.3d 432, 436 (7th Cir. 2013). To survive
Defendant's motion under Rule 12(b)(6), the Complaint
must “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Yeftich, 722 F.3d at 915. 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.
prohibits an employer from discriminating against a
“qualified individual on the basis of disability”
in employment decisions, including decisions to discharge. 42
U.S.C. § 12112(a). An ADA plaintiff must, inter
alia, “prove that she has a ‘disability'
in order to prevail.” Knapp v. Evgeros, Inc.,
No. 15-cv-754, 2016 WL 4720026, at *5 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 9,
2016). In addition, a putative plaintiff under the ADA must
exhaust his administrative remedies through the EEOC. See
Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1087 (7th Cir.
argues that Plaintiff's claim must be dismissed because
he has: (1) failed to sufficiently allege that he is
“disabled” within the meaning of the ADA; and (2)
failed to exhaust his administrative remedies with the EEOC.
The Court addresses these arguments in turn.