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Aylsworth v. Ryobi Die Casting USA, Inc.

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

November 27, 2018

KEVIN AYSLWORTH, Plaintiff,
v.
RYOBI DIE CASTING USA, INC., Defendant.

          ENTRY ON MOTION TO DISMISS

          Hon. William T. Lawrence, Senior Judge

         This cause is before the Court on the Defendant's motion to dismiss (Dkt. No. 15). The motion is fully briefed and the Court, being duly advised, DENIES the Defendant's motion for the reasons set forth below.[1]

         I. APPLICABLE STANDARD

         “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, if 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 Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). We “must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint” that are not legal conclusions. Id. “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id.

Toulon v. Cont'l Cas. Co., 877 F.3d 725, 734 (7th Cir. 2017).

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. The plausibility standard is not akin to a “probability requirement, ” but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.

Forgue v. City of Chicago, 873 F.3d 962, 966 (7th Cir. 2017) (citations omitted).

         II. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

         The facts alleged in the Amended Complaint are as follow. The Plaintiff, who is 49 years old, has been employed by the Defendant since approximately January 30, 2012, as a waste water technician. The Plaintiff suffers from osteoarthritis in his right knee, which substantially limits the use of his right knee and leg. Throughout 2016 and 2017, the Plaintiff received painkiller injections in his knee on as-needed basis. The Plaintiff's supervisor, Troy Keller, was aware of these injections and stated that he had “no problem” with them occasionally causing the Plaintiff to be late for work.

         On or about October 28, 2017, an employee of the Defendant was injured when a large diecast fell on her. After 911 was called, an ambulance and a fire truck responded. The Plaintiff was dispatched to let the paramedics through the gate entry so they could treat the injured employee. On or about October 31, 2017, the Plaintiff was called into a meeting with Tim Dravet, the Defendant's assistant manager of facilities, and Beth Slusser, a human resources representative for the Defendant. Dravet stated that he had written testimony from other employees stating that the Plaintiff took between twenty and twenty-five minutes to respond to the paramedics at the gate, and that when he did arrive, he was rude and threw a set of keys at them. These allegations were not true.

         Dravet informed the Plaintiff that as a result of these allegations, he was removing the Plaintiff from his position of waste water technician as well as from an apprenticeship program in which the Plaintiff was enrolled. The Plaintiff was demoted to the position of machine operator/inspector and assigned to a less desirable shift.

         The Plaintiff appealed the decision and participated in the Defendant's alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) process. The Plaintiff obtained a statement from the fire department indicating that the response time was eleven minutes and fifty seconds, and “the responding crews reported in the statement that they did not feel [the Plaintiff] was rude or discourteous.” Dkt. No. 19 at 4. Additionally, the other employers “recanted and/or changed their earlier statements” and no “‘written testimony' regarding the [Plaintiff's] alleged slow response to the paramedics was ever produced.” Id. After the Plaintiff produced the statement from the fire department, the Defendant “focused on other alleged reasons for the demotion including alleged ‘chronic tardiness.'” Id.

         During the ADR proceeding, the Plaintiff “referenced his disability and that his ‘knees aren't what they used to be,' referencing his disability, ” to which the Defendant's human resources manager, Scott Shepherd, responded that “He knows how it is when you get up there in age.” Id. at 5.

         During the ADR proceeding, Dravet stated that he had intended to place the Plaintiff on a Performance Improvement Plan (“PIP”) before the October 28, 2017, incident. The Plaintiff, however, was not given such a plan ...


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