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Massey v. Churchview Supportive Living, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

February 21, 2018

YVETTA MASSEY, Plaintiff,
v.
CHURCHVIEW SUPPORTIVE LIVING, INC., et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Hon, Virginia M. Kendall United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Yvetta Massey filed suit against Defendants Churchview Supportive Living, Inc., Gardant Management Solutions, Inc., and Kenyatta Bell alleging violations of the Rehabilitation Act, [1] the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), [2] and state law claims of Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress and Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress. This Court dismissed without prejudice the state law claims against all Defendants and the Rehabilitation Act and ADA claims against Gardant, and granted Plaintiff's request for leave to file an Amended Complaint. Plaintiff timely filed an Amended Complaint, which renews only the allegations of violations of the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA against each Churchview and Gardant. Both Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss. Churchview seeks dismissal pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) of the Rehabilitation Act claim against it (Count I). Gardant seeks dismissal pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) of both the Rehabilitation Act and ADA claims against it (Counts III and IV). The Motions to Dismiss are granted in part and denied in part for reasons set forth below. [Dkt. Nos. 38, 39.]

         BACKGROUND

         The facts set forth in Plaintiff's Amended Complaint are accepted as true for the purpose of reviewing the Motions to Dismiss. Reynolds v. CB Sports Bar, Inc., 623 F.3d 1143, 1146 (7th Cir. 2010). But for a few additions, the facts are largely the same as those alleged in Plaintiff's initial complaint.

         Churchview Supportive Living, Inc. provides affordable assisted facilities to the elderly in the Chicago area. (Dkt. No. 34 at ¶ 2.) Gardant Management Solutions, Inc. owns, manages or is otherwise closely associated with Churchview. (Id. at ¶ 3.) Churchview and/or Gardant receive federal funds from various programs that provide financial assistance for elderly adults' care in assisted living facilities. (Id. at ¶ 36, 52.)

         From March 3 to November 11, 2015, Plaintiff Yvetta Massey worked as the Director of Nursing (DON) at Churchview. (Id. at ¶ 7-8, 16.) In 2015, Massey was diagnosed with a rare condition known as Nesidioblastosis that requires her to eat every two hours. (Id. at ¶¶ 10-11.) Massey's employers knew of this condition and the need for a workplace accommodation. (Id. at ¶ 13.)

         During the approximately nine months Massey worked at Churchview she had several instances of extended absences. (Id. at Ex. A.) As a result of these absences, Churchview issued warnings-one verbally in July, and one in writing in August-to Massey regarding her extended periods of time away from work. (Id. at ¶¶ 14-15.) Finally, on November 11, 2015, Churchview terminated Massey over the phone and followed up with a written letter a day later informing her of the same. (Id. at ¶ 16, Ex. B.)

         In response, on January 8, 2016, Massey filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging employment discrimination based on her disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. (Id. at Ex. D.) The charge names “Churchview Supportive Living” as her employer and sole respondent of the charge. (Id.) In December 2016, the EEOC informed Massey that it was unable to conclude there was any violation of the ADA based on the information she provided. (Id. at Ex. E.) The dismissal also served as Massey's notice of her “right-to-sue” letter. (Id.)

         Massey's Amended Complaint alleges four claims against the Defendants. Counts I and II are Rehabilitation Act and ADA claims levied against Churchview for employment discrimination based on Massey's disability. (Id. at ¶¶ 41, 47.) Counts III and IV are the same but levied against Gardant. (Id. at ¶¶ 58, 64.)

         LEGAL STANDARD

         “To survive a motion to dismiss under 12(b)(6), a complaint must ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Adams v. City of Indianapolis, 742 F.3d 720, 728 (7th Cir. 2014) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “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. (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 566 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). The Court “construe[s] the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, accepting as true all well-pleaded facts alleged, and drawing all possible inferences in her favor.” Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir. 2008). However, “legal conclusions and conclusory allegations merely reciting the elements of the claim are not entitled to this presumption of truth.” McCauley v. City of Chicago, 671 F.3d 611, 616 (7th Cir. 2011) (citing Iqbal, 566 U.S. at 678). The Court may also consider exhibits attached in support of the complaint that pertain to facts set forth within the pleading. Thompson v. Illinois Dept. of Professional Regulation, 300 F.3d 750, 754 (7th Cir. 2002).

         DISCUSSION

         I. Massey's Rehabilitation Act Claims against Churchview and Gardant Are Not Dismissed

         As the Court discussed in its previous Order, to succeed on a claim of discrimination under the Rehabilitation Act, plaintiff must demonstrate that: (1) she is disabled as defined by the Act; (2) she is otherwise qualified for the position sought; (3) she has been excluded from the position solely because of her disability; and (4) the position exists as part of a program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Burks v. Wisconsin Dep't of Transp., 464 F.3d 744, 755 (7th Cir. 2006). Defendants argue that Massey ...


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