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Malone v. General Motors Financial Company, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Fort Worth Division

November 19, 2019




         Came on for consideration the amended motion of defendants, General Motors Financial Company, Inc. ("GMFCI"), and AmeriCredit Financial Services, Inc. d/b/a GM Financial ("GMF"), to dismiss. The court, having considered the motion, the response of plaintiff, Anissa Malone, the reply, the record, and applicable authorities, finds that the motion should be granted in part.

         I. Plaintiff's Claims

         On September 18, 2019, plaintiff filed her first amended complaint in this action. Doc.[1] 21. In it, she alleges:

         GMF hired plaintiff in February 2016 as a financial analyst. Doc. 21 ¶ 6. She excelled in her position, receiving positive feedback. Id. On September 21, 2017, plaintiff dislocated the pinky finger on her dominant hand, slowing her ability to type and complete her job duties. Id. ¶ 7. On December 7, she underwent a closed manipulation of her finger. Id. ¶ 8. In January 2 018, plaintiff was approved for intermittent FMLA leave. Id. By March, plaintiff had no active motion in the finger and was scheduled to undergo surgery on March 21. Id. ¶ 9. Following her request for surgical leave, plaintiff's supervisor was condescending, frustrated, angry, and distant. Id. On March 9, plaintiff was informed of alleged performance deficiencies that had never been provided before. Id. ¶ 1.0. She was given a Notice of Corrective Action ("NOCA") giving her 60 days to improve her performance. Id. Plaintiff was out on FMLA leave from March 19 to May 4, 2018. Id. ¶ 12. On May 7, she received an amended level 2 NOCA for the same performance issues, but was given only 3 0 days to perform a different list of tasks. Id. Plaintiff asked for help due to her medical restrictions but received none. Id. ¶¶ 16-22. Plaintiff was approved for a leave of absence for a second surgery on June 25. Id. ¶ 24. Plaintiff was terminated one week before her scheduled surgery. Id. ¶¶ 25-26. On September 12, 2018, plaintiff filed an EEOC charge naming GMFCI as her employer. Id. ¶ 49. On information and belief, GMF became aware of the charge. Id. ¶ 50.

         Plaintiff asserts claims against defendants under the Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601-2654 ("FMLA"}, for interference and retaliation, and under the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-12213 ("ADA"), for discrimination and retaliation.

         II. Grounds of the Motion

         Defendants allege that plaintiff has failed to exhaust her administrative remedies against GMF as to her ADA claims. They further allege that she has failed to plead facts sufficient to state plausible claims against GMFCI under the FMLA and ADA. Doc.


         Applicable Legal Principles

         Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides, in a general way, the applicable standard of pleading. It requires that a complaint contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief," Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), "in order to give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests," Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal quotation marks and ellipsis omitted). Although a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, the "showing" contemplated by Rule 8 requires the plaintiff to do more than simply allege legal conclusions or recite the elements of a cause of action. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 & n.3. Thus, while a court must accept all of the factual allegations in the complaint as true, it need not credit bare legal conclusions that are unsupported by any factual underpinnings. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009) ("While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations.").

         Moreover, to survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the facts pleaded must allow the court to infer that the plaintiff's right to relief is plausible. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. To allege a plausible right to relief, the facts pleaded must suggest liability; allegations that are merely consistent with unlawful conduct are insufficient. Id. In other words, where the facts pleaded do no more than permit the court to infer the possibility of misconduct, the complaint has not shown that the pleader is entitled to relief. Id. at 679. "Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief . . . [is] a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id.

         As the Fifth Circuit has explained: "Where the complaint is devoid of facts that would put the defendant on notice as to what conduct supports the claims, the complaint fails to satisfy the requirement of notice pleading," Anderson v. U.S. Dep't of Housing & Urban Dev., 554 F.3d 525, 528 (5th Gir. 2008). In sum, "a complaint must do more than name laws that may have been violated by the defendant; it must also allege facts regarding what conduct violated those laws. In other words, a complaint must put the defendant on notice as to what conduct is being called for defense in a court of law." Id. at 528-29. Further, the complaint must specify the acts of the defendants individually, not collectively, to meet the pleading standards of Rule 8(a). See Griggs v. State Farm Lloyds, 181 F.3d 694, 699 (5th Cir. 1999); see also Searcv v. Knight (In re Am. Int'l Refinery), 402 B.R. 728, 738 (Bankr. W.D. La. 2008).

         In considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the court may consider documents attached to the motion if they are referred to in the plaintiff's complaint and are central to the plaintiff's claims. Scanlan v. Tex. A&M Univ., 343 F.3d 533, 536 (5th Cir. 2003). The court may also refer to matters of public record. Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 268 n.l (1986); Davis v. Bayless, 70 F.3d 367, 372 n.3 (5th Cir. 1995); Cinel v. Connick, 15 F.3d 1338, 1343 n.6 (5th Cir. 1994). This includes taking notice of pending judicial proceedings. Patterson v. Mobil Oil Corp., 335 F.3d 476, 481 n.l (5th Cir. 2003). And, it ...

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