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Garrett v. Community Health Network, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

March 7, 2017

JULIE GARRETT, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMUNITY HEALTH NETWORK, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER

          HON. JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, CHIEF JUDGE.

         Defendant Community Health Network, Inc. (“Community”) hired Plaintiff Julie Garrett to work as a nurse. Before accepting the position, Ms. Garrett underwent hip surgery. After she started working, she suffered an injury while at work and reported her injury to Community to seek compensation under the Workers Compensation Act. Community subsequently terminated her employment. Ms. Garrett initiated this litigation against Community, alleging that it terminated her employment when it learned of her disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and in retaliation for reporting her injury to seek compensation under the Workers Compensation Act. [Filing No. 1 at 1-2.] Community has filed a Motion to Dismiss Ms. Garrett's Complaint, [Filing No. 12], and Ms. Garrett opposes that motion, [Filing No. 14].

         I.

         Standard of Review

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) “requires only ‘a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.'” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 8(a)(2)). “Specific facts are not necessary, the statement need only ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Erickson, 551 U.S. at 93 (quoting Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).

         A motion to dismiss asks whether the complaint “contain[s] sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). In reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint, the Court must accept all well-pled facts as true and draw all permissible inferences in favor of the plaintiff. See Active Disposal, Inc. v. City of Darien, 635 F.3d 883, 886 (7th Cir. 2011). The Court will not accept legal conclusions or conclusory allegations as sufficient to state a claim for relief. See McCauley v. City of Chicago, 671 F.3d 611, 617 (7th Cir. 2011). Factual allegations must plausibly state an entitlement to relief “to a degree that rises above the speculative level.” Munson v. Gaetz, 673 F.3d 630, 633 (7th Cir. 2012). This plausibility determination is “a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id.

         II.

         Relevant Background

         The relevant background is set forth from the allegations of Ms. Garret's Complaint, [Filing No. 1], which the Court must accept as true pursuant to the applicable standard of review at this stage of the proceedings. The Court emphasizes that these allegations are considered to be true only for purposes of deciding the pending motion.

         Ms. Garrett began her employment as a nurse with Community on January 5, 2015. [Filing No. 1 at 2.] Prior to accepting employment with Community, Ms. Garrett had hip surgery. [Filing No. 1 at 2.] On August 22, 2015, Ms. Garrett injured her back on the job while assisting a patient. [Filing No. 1 at 2.] She reported her injury to Community and “a claim for workers compensation was opened.” [Filing No. 1 at 2.] On November 4, 2015, Community terminated Ms. Garrett's employment, “stating that she would have never been hired had [Community] known of her previous hip condition.” [Filing No. 1 at 2.]

         On March 2016, Ms. Garrett filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). [Filing No. 1 at 2.] The EEOC issued Ms. Garrett a Right-To-Sue letter on July 20, 2016. [Filing No. 1 at 2.] On December 5, 2016, Ms. Garrett filed the underlying lawsuit alleging that Community terminated her employment when it learned of her disability in violation of the ADA and in retaliation for reporting her injury to seek compensation under the Workers Compensation Act. [Filing No. 1.] Community has filed a Motion to Dismiss Ms. Garrett's claims, [Filing No. 13], and Ms. Garrett opposes that motion, [Filing No. 14]. The Court will now address the merits of the pending motion.

         III.

         Discussion

         Community raises two issues: 1) whether Ms. Garrett failed to allege an ADA discriminatory discharge claim, [Filing No. 13 at 9]; and 2) whether she failed to allege a retaliatory discharge claim under Indiana common law. [Filing ...


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