United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY ON DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS
William T. Lawrence, Judge
cause is before the Court on the Motion to Dismiss filed by
the Defendants, Ivy Tech Community College (“Ivy
Tech”) and Henry County Memorial Hospital (“the
Hospital”). Dkt. Nos. 37 & 41. The motions are
fully briefed, and the Court, being duly advised, DENIES the
motions for the reasons set forth below.
Defendants move to dismiss the Plaintiff's Amended
Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), arguing that the Complaint fails to state a claim
for which relief can be granted. In reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion, the Court “must accept all well pled facts as
true and draw all permissible inferences in favor of the
plaintiff.” Agnew v. National Collegiate Athletic
Ass'n, 683 F.3d 328, 334 (7th Cir. 2012). For a
claim to survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a
claim, it must provide the defendant with “fair notice
of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.” Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th
Cir. 2009) (quoting Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89,
93 (2007)) (omission in original). A complaint must
“contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true,
to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Agnew, 638 F.3d at 334 (citations
omitted). A complaint's factual allegations are plausible
if they “raise the right to relief above the
speculative level.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007).
Plaintiff, Angela Seward, has brought a claim against the
Defendants under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities
Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. (“ADA”) and
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C.
§ 794(a). For the purposes of this motion, the Court
accepts the following facts as true.
began the Physical Therapy Assisting Program
(“PTAP”) at Ivy Tech in August 2014 and planned
to graduate on May 12, 2016. As part of the program, Seward
was required to complete three clinical training sessions.
Seward did well in her first two clinical training sessions.
She successfully completed each session, earning an A in
final clinical session, Seward was assigned to work at Henry
County Memorial Hospital's Rehabilitation Services
Department, which was located in the Forest Ridge Medical
Pavilion (“Forest Ridge”), in New Castle,
Indiana. Seward's Clinical Instructor for the final
assignment was Allison Stroud, a Physical Therapy Assistant
(“PTA”) employed by the Hospital at Forest Ridge.
Seward's clinical training session at Forest Ridge began
on February 29, 2016, and her first day of work was March 2,
March 23, 2016, Seward's Ivy Tech instructor, Lori Hobbs,
visited Seward at Forest Ridge for a site visit. After
conferring with Stroud, Hobbs performed Seward's mid-term
evaluation. Seward performed well on the evaluation, scoring
one of the highest marks for a student at her level. Stroud
was on vacation on March 28-29, 2016. During her absence,
Seward had a conversation with another student in the program
during which Seward responded to a question from the student
about whether Seward had any mental health issues. Seward
responded that, while she did not have any major issues, due
to circumstances in her earlier personal life, she did
struggle with depression and self-esteem issues.
March 30, Seward saw Stroud talking to Doe, one of the
Physical Therapists with whom Stroud and Seward worked, in
the main office. Shortly thereafter, Seward heard Stroud make
a comment to another person that Steward had mental health
problems. Seward also heard Stroud make a similar remark-that
Seward had mental health and depression problems-to
afternoon, Seward was taken into a conference room, where
Stroud and Doe confronted her. Seward was told that she had
lied about her Titer test, had lied about graduation testing,
and that Stroud knew about a pending shoplifting charge
against Seward. Although Seward successfully explained the
actual situation with respect to all of Stroud's
allegations, Doe told Seward that he had to believe Stroud
and that they wanted to sever ties with Seward. The Hospital
terminated Seward from her clinical rotation two weeks before
the rotation was scheduled to end.
appealed the Hospital's decision to Mark Wise, Director
of the Ivy Tech PTAP. Seward clearly described to Wise the
nature of Stroud's discriminatory remarks and the
discriminatory basis for her termination from the clinical
rotation. Wise told Seward that she might be able to use her
mid-term evaluation as a final grade for her third clinical
but that only Dr. Paula Boley, Dean of Ivy Tech's School
of Health Sciences, could make that decision.
informed Seward that she was dismissed from the PTAP
effective April 6, 2016. Boley refused to meet with Seward
until April 18, 2016, and then upheld Wise's initial
decision. Seward was advised that, because she had not
completed three clinical instruction sessions, she would not
be allowed to participate in the week-long review program
that began on April 25, 2016. Seward was not allowed to
graduate on May 12, 2016, and thus was ineligible to sit for
her Indiana state PTA licensing examination.