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Eddy v. J&D Home Improvement, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

May 18, 2018

J&D HOME IMPROVEMENT, INC., et al., Defendants.




         This matter is before the Court on Defendants J&D Home Improvement, Inc. and Pat Clemens' Partial Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint. (Doc. 14). The motion is fully briefed and ripe for disposition. For the following reasons, Defendants' Partial Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Christina Eddy and her husband, Phillip, both worked for Defendant J&D Home Improvement d/b/a The Basement Doctor (“J&D”). Plaintiff began working at J&D on May 18, 2012, as a team lead. She then worked in the call center as a manager and Philip worked as a laborer. Defendant Pat Clemens was Plaintiff's supervisor. (Doc. 9, Am. Compl. ¶¶ 20-23).

         On October 5, 2015, Philip injured his back at work. He filed a worker's compensation claim with the Ohio Bureau of Worker's Compensation and is still undergoing treatment pursuant to that claim. Plaintiff alleges that as a result of the back injury, her husband is disabled within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act. (Id. at ¶¶ 25-29).

         In February 2016, Sarah Witt, a Human Resources employee at J&D, informed Plaintiff that she needed to switch her insurance to reflect that Plaintiff was now responsible for her husband's health insurance. (Id. at ¶¶ 30-31). Shortly after this change in insurance, Plaintiff was demoted to a team lead position and her pay was decreased from $19.19 per hour to $16.00 per hour. (Id. at ¶¶ 32-33).

         Plaintiff alleges that J&D wanted to fire her and began looking for reasons to do so. (Id. at ¶¶ 35-42). On April 29, 2016, Plaintiff was receiving all incoming calls and she experienced technical difficulties with the phone system. She asserts that J&D did this intentionally to affect her performance and make it easier to terminate her. (Id. at ¶¶ 39-42).

         On May 11, 2016, Philip's surgeon submitted a C-9 request for medical service with the Bureau of Worker's Compensation. The surgery was scheduled for July 1, 2016. On May 20, 2016, Philip's surgery was approved by the Bureau of Worker's Compensation. Plaintiff's employment with J&D was terminated the same day. (Id. at ¶¶ 43-46). Plaintiff alleges that she was “terminated in retaliation for her husband filing the WC Claim, and/or for being associated with a disabled person” and “because Defendants did not want to cover her husband's approved surgery under the WC Claim.” (Id. at ¶ 47-48).

         On December 18, 2017, Plaintiff initiated this case alleging claims of disability discrimination in violation of both the ADA and Ohio law and disability discrimination by association, as well as claims for wrongful termination and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Defendants J&D and Pat Clemens have moved to dismiss Counts II, III, IV and V for failure to state a claim.


         Under the Federal Rules, any pleading that states a claim for relief must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim” showing that the pleader is entitled to such relief. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). To meet this standard, a party must allege sufficient facts to state a claim that is “plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A claim will be considered “plausible on its face” when a plaintiff sets forth “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).

         Rule 12(b)(6) allows parties to challenge the sufficiency of a complaint under the foregoing standards. In considering whether a complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the Court must “construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, accept its allegations as true, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff.” Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund v. Standard & Poor's Fin. Servs. LLC, 700 F.3d 829, 835 (6th Cir. 2012) (quoting Directv, Inc. v. Treesh, 487 F.3d 471, 476 (6th Cir. 2007)). However, “the tenet that a court must accept a complaint's allegations as true is inapplicable to threadbare recitals of a cause of action's elements, supported by mere conclusory statements.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 663. Thus, while a court is to afford plaintiff every inference, the pleading must still contain facts sufficient to “provide a plausible basis for the claims in the complaint”; a recitation of facts intimating the “mere possibility of misconduct” will not suffice. Flex Homes, Inc. v. Ritz-Craft Corp of Mich., Inc., 491 Fed.Appx. 628, 632 (6th Cir. 2012); Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.

         III. ...

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