United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
OPINION AND ORDER
LOZANO, Judge United States District Court.
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Rule 12(b)(6)
Motion to Dismiss and Rule 12(f) Motion to Strike, filed by
the Defendants, American Mattress and Upholstery, Inc., Mark
Roedeske,  and Lajuan Wade, on November 24, 2015. (DE
#16.) For the reasons set forth below, the motion is DENIED.
Jason Ehlerding (“Plaintiff”), filed his
complaint on June 29, 2015. (DE #1.) He was granted leave to
amend on August 13, 2015; his first amended complaint was
docketed that same day. (DE #7 & DE #8.) The first
amended complaint brings claims against American Mattress and
Upholstery, Inc. (“American Mattress”), Mark
Roedeske (“Roedeske”), and Lajuan Wade
(“Wade”) (collectively, “Defendants”)
pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42
U.S.C. section 2000(e) et seq (“Title
VII”), the American with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42
U.S.C. section 12111 et seq (“ADA”), 42
U.S.C. section 1981 (“Section 1981”), and the
Family Medical Leave Act of 1993, 29 U.S.C. section 2601
et seq (“FMLA”). The first amended
complaint incorporates and attaches a copy of Plaintiff's
Charge of Discrimination, which was filed with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) on or
about August 25, 2014. (DE #8.) Plaintiff also attaches a
Notice of Right to Sue from the EEOC which is dated April 30,
2015. (Id.) Defendants filed the instant motion to
dismiss on November 24, 2015. (DE #16.) Plaintiff filed his
reply on December 7, 2015. (DE #18.) Defendants filed their
reply on December 14, 2015. (DE #19.) Thus, the motion is
ripe for adjudication.
adequately set forth by Defendants in their memorandum in
support of the motion to dismiss,  Plaintiff alleges, through
his attached Charge of Discrimination, that he is a biracial
male who was employed as a sales manager at American
Mattress, located at 4614 Coldwater Road in Fort Wayne,
Indiana from January 21, 2013, until his wrongful termination
on April 4, 2014. According to Plaintiff, on March 10, 2014,
he underwent hernia surgery in relation to an injury he
allegedly sustained at work. Prior to the surgery, he
notified the regional manager about his need for time off of
work. Plaintiff alleges that he was entitled to use FMLA to
address this serious health condition.
his surgery, Plaintiff was placed on work restrictions and
was directed not to lift heavy objects. American Mattress
initially indicated it would comply with the work
restrictions by having an assistant help Plaintiff when
necessary. However, Plaintiff alleges that he was only given
assistance twice during the remainder of his employment with
American Mattress. Otherwise, he was required to go against
this lifting restriction. In addition, upon his return from
medical leave, Plaintiff was allegedly given an increased
work load and scheduled to work six days a week, at least one
of those days for which he was not paid. Later, he returned
to his normal work schedule.
April 4, 2014, Plaintiff encountered a customer who was upset
by a delivery driver who had failed to assemble a bed that
had been ordered. Plaintiff contacted his regional manager,
Roedeske, about the situation. Roedeske told Plaintiff that
the customer was lying and argued with Plaintiff, allegedly
using profanity. Following the phone conversation, Plaintiff
spoke again with Roedeske and was told he was fired.
contends that he was discriminated against, retaliated
against, and wrongfully terminated on the basis of race and
disability as well as for his use of medical leave. He claims
to have suffered from emotional distress and mental anguish
as a result of Defendants' wrongdoing. Plaintiff seeks
compensatory damages, punitive damages, liquidated damages,
and attorney fees and costs.
12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss
evaluating a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), a court must accept all facts alleged in
the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in
the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Johnson v.
Rivera, 272 F.3d 519, 520 (7th Cir. 2001). A complaint
is not required to contain detailed factual allegations;
however, the plaintiff must allege facts that state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face. Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). It is not enough that
there might be some conceivable set of facts that entitle the
plaintiff to relief. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 553-56 (2007). The plaintiff's obligation
“requires more than labels and conclusions. . .
.” Id. At 555. The Supreme Court has provided
that “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause
of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
reviewing a motion to dismiss, a court generally considers
only the factual allegations of the complaint and any
reasonable inferences that can be drawn from those
allegations; however, a court may also examine information
from documents “if they are referred to in the
plaintiff's complaint and are central to his
claim.” Adams v. City of Indianapolis, 742
F.3d 720, 729 (7th Cir. 2014); see Williamson v.
Curran, 714 F.3d 432, 443 (7th Cir. 2013) (noting the
Seventh Circuit has taken “a relatively expansive view
of the documents that a district court properly may consider
in disposing of a motion to dismiss.”). Here,
Plaintiff's Complaint attaches, refers directly to, and
incorporates the Charge of Discrimination which may be
considered by this Court in ruling on the motion to dismiss
without converting it into a motion for summary judgment. See
Vasquez v. Caterpillar Logistics, Inc., No.
1:15-CV-398-TLS, 2016 WL 1573179, at *1 (N.D. Ind. Apr. 19,
2016) (citing Miller v. Herman, 600 F.3d 726, 733
(7th Cir. 2010) (documents attached to complaint are
considered part of the complaint)).