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Platt v. Chicago Transit Authority

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

October 22, 2019

QUENTIN PLATT Plaintiff,
v.
CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY, DESHONE MADDOX, GEORGETTE HAMPTON, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          Mary M. Rowland United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Quentin Platt filed suit against the Chicago Transit Authority (“CTA”), Deshone Maddox, and Georgette Hampton, alleging employment discrimination and wrongful termination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq., 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and the Fourteenth Amendment. Before the Court is CTA's motion to dismiss Counts I, III, and IV of Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint. For the following reasons, CTA's motion to dismiss (Dtkt. 41) is granted without prejudice. Plaintiff has 28 days from the date of this order to amend his complaint.[1]

         BACKGROUND

         The following facts are alleged in Platt's Second Amended Complaint and are presumed true for the purpose of resolving the pending motion. Platt was employed as a CTA bus operator starting in July 2008. (Dkt. 34 at 3) In April 2009, Platt suffered disabling lower back injuries. (Id.) As a result of that injury, Platt underwent medical treatment including two surgeries for a Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant. (Id.) These treatments and surgeries required medically approved time off, and Platt was unable to work for periods of time covering approximately five years and five months. (Dkt. 42 at 2) In accordance with CTA's policies, Platt requested medically required time off that CTA approved. (Dkt. 34 at 3)

         In 2014, Platt underwent surgery and had a Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant implanted into his back. (Dkt. 34 at 3) This surgery rendered him disabled and unable to drive commercial vehicles. (Id.) From September 19, 2014 through September 18, 2017, Platt was medically unable to perform his duties as a CTA bus operator. (Id.) CTA again approved his medically required time off. (Id.)

         As a result of his disability, Platt requested medical leave and reasonable accommodations so as to continue working at the CTA. (Dkt. 34 at 4) In September of 2014, CTA placed Platt on administrative inactive status known as Temporary Medical Disability Area 605 (“Area 605”). (Id.) Platt remained in Area 605 until his termination in September 2017. (Id.) Platt alleges that between September 2014 and September 2017, he made multiple requests for reasonable accommodations, including requests for reassignment. (Id.)

         Platt alleges that CTA offered Platt several reassignment positions, but that he was not medically qualified to accept them. (Dkt. 34 at 4) So Platt continued to request reassignment. (Id.) Platt also alleges that similarly situated individuals were offered vacant positions-positions for which, Platt claims, he was also qualified. (Id. at 4-5)

         CTA terminated Platt on September 18, 2017. (Dkt. 34 at 5) In March of 2018, Platt filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). (Id.) That September, the EEOC issued a Notice of Right to Sue. (Id.) Plaintiff timely filed this lawsuit alleging employment discrimination and wrongful termination in violation of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq., 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and the Fourteenth Amendment. Counts I and II are brought against Defendant CTA, and Counts III and IV are brought against Defendant Deshone Maddox and Georgette Hampton. Because CTA was unsure which counts applied to them, CTA moved to dismiss Counts I, III, and IV pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). (Dkt. 42) As clarified by Plaintiff, Counts III and IV do not name Defendant CTA. (Dkt. 45 at 11) As such, the Court will only address Count I.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) challenges a complaint for failure to state claim upon which relief may be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6); Gen. Elec. Capital Corp. v. Lease Resolution Corp., 128 F.3d 1074, 1080 (7th Cir. 1997). In ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court accepts as true all well-pleaded facts in the Plaintiff's complaint and must “construe the complaint in the ‘light most favorable to the' plaintiff.” Zahn v. N. Am. Power & Gas, LLC, 847 F.3d 875, 877 (7th Cir. 2017) (quoting Bell v. City of Chi., 835 F.3d 736, 738 (7th Cir. 2016)). However, the Court is not “obliged to accept as true legal conclusions or unsupported conclusions of fact.” Hickey v. O'Bannon, 287 F.3d 656, 658 (7th Cir. 2002).

         “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual allegations to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.” Ill. Bible Coll. Ass'n v. Anderson, 870 F.3d 631, 636 (7th Cir. 2017), as amended (Oct. 5, 2017), cert denied sub nom. Ill. Bible Coll. Ass'n v. Cross, 138 S.Ct. 1021 (2018). “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.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007)). “While a plaintiff need not plead ‘detailed factual allegations' to survive a motion to dismiss, she still must provide more than mere ‘labels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action' for her complaint to be considered adequate….” Bell v. City of Chi., 835 F.3d 736, 738 (7th Cir. 2016) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678).

         ANALYSIS

         CTA argues that Count I should be dismissed as time barred because Platt failed to file a charge of discrimination within 300 days of the occurrence of the unlawful employment practice. (Dkt. 42 at 4) Even if Platt filed in a timely manner, CTA argues that Platt was not a “qualified individual” under the ADA. (Id.) CTA asserts that Platt failed to plausibly plead that he was qualified to perform the essential functions of his position with or without reasonable accommodation. (Id.)

         1. Plaintiff's Failure to Accommodate Claims is ...


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