United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division
MEMORANDUM AND OPINION
Rosenthal Chief United States District Judge
Haas was fired from his position as a computed tomography
technician at St. Luke's Health - The Vintage Hospital,
in Houston, Texas. (Docket Entry No. 1-A-2). Haas's
original state-court petition alleged that the Hospital
discriminated against him on the basis of his
disability-posttraumatic stress disorder-and retaliated
against him for exercising his right to request a reasonable
accommodation, both in violation of the Texas Labor Code,
§ 21.001, et seq. (Id.). Haas sued St.
Luke's Community Development Corporation the Vintage
d/b/a Chi St. Luke's Health - The Vintage Hospital,
CommonSpirit Health, and St. Luke's Health System
Corporation in state court. (Id.). Haas amended his
petition to allege violations of the Americans with
Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12112, et seq.,
and the defendants timely removed. (Docket Entry Nos. 1-A-9,
1). The defendants then moved to dismiss Haas's amended
petition for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction and for
failure to state a claim; Haas responded; and the defendants
replied. (Docket Entry Nos. 3, 8, 9).
on the amended pleading, the motion and responses, the
record, and the applicable law, the court grants the
defendants' motion to dismiss, with prejudice, because
both Haas's state and federal claims are time-barred and
amendment would be futile. The reasons for this ruling are
set out below.
allegations are taken from the original and amended
petitions. Coby Haas worked as an x-ray technician in a
military hospital from 2003 to 2005. (Docket Entry No. 1-A-2
at 2). Haas alleges that he has posttraumatic stress disorder
from working in that hospital. (Id. at 2-3). After
his honorable discharge in 2008, he became a computed
technography technician and began working for the defendants
at The Vintage Hospital in September 2015. (Id. at
alleges that in spring 2017, he was assigned to work in the
Hospital's operating room. (Id.). Haas alleges
that the idea of working in an operating room triggered his
PTSD, and he requested a reasonable accommodation.
(Id.). Haas alleges that the Hospital ignored his
request and engaged in a series of discriminatory and
retaliatory actions that resulted in his termination on July
12, 2017. (Id. at 2-6). Haas attempted to appeal his
termination, but he was allegedly told that there was no
right to appeal. (Id. at 7-8). In May 2018, Haas
filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC and received a
right-to-sue letter that shows a mailing date of June 5,
2019. (Docket Entry No. 1-A-9 at 23; Docket Entry No.
September 3, 2019, Haas filed suit in state court, alleging
violations of the Texas Labor Code. (Docket Entry No. 1-A-2).
In November 2019, after the defendants challenged the state
court's jurisdiction because Haas's claims were filed
too late to meet a jurisdictional deadline, Haas amended his
petition to assert violations of the Americans with
Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12112, et seq.
(Docket Entry No. 3 at 3; Docket Entry No. 1-A-9). The
defendants timely removed on the basis of federal-question
jurisdiction, and moved to dismiss on the ground that
Haas's state and federal claims were time-barred. (Docket
Entry Nos. 1, 3). Haas responded that his new claims were
part of his original petition because it can be read
liberally to include any claims that he could have initially
pleaded, even if he did not do so then. (Docket Entry No. 8
The Legal Standard
must be dismissed if the court lacks subject-matter
jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). In ruling on a motion to
dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, courts may
evaluate: (1) the petition alone; (2) the petition
supplemented by undisputed facts evidenced in the record; or
(3) the petition supplemented by undisputed facts plus the
court's resolution of disputed facts. Choice Inc. of
Tex. v. Greenstein, 691 F.3d 710, 714 (5th Cir. 2012)
(quoting Williamson v. Tucker, 645 F.2d 404, 413
(5th Cir. 1981)). The party invoking jurisdiction has the
burden of proving it exists, by a preponderance of the
evidence. See Three Expo Events, L.L.C. v. City of
Dall., 907 F.3d 333, 343 (5th Cir. 2018).
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a plaintiff must plead facts
that, taken as true, state a plausible claim for relief.
Bell Atlantic Corp v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007). Rule 8 “does not require ‘detailed
factual allegations,' but it demands more than an
accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
“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.” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “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.”
Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
court should generally give a plaintiff at least one chance
to amend under Rule 15(a) before dismissing the action with
prejudice, unless it is clear that to do so would be futile.
See Pervasive Software Inc. v. Lexware GmbH & Co.
KG, 688 F.3d 214, 232 (5th Cir. 2012); Carroll v.
Fort James Corp., 470 F.3d 1171, 1175 (5th Cir. 2006)
(“[Rule 15(a)] evinces a bias in favor of granting
leave to amend.” (quotation omitted)); Great Plains
Tr. Co. v. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., 313
F.3d 305, 329 (5th Cir. 2002). “Whether leave to amend
should be granted is entrusted to the sound discretion of the
district court.” Pervasive Software, 688 F.3d
at 232 (quotation omitted). “A motion to dismiss may be
granted on a statute of limitations defense where it is
evident from the pleadings that the action is time-barred,
and the pleadings fail to raise some basis for
tolling.” Taylor v. Bailey Tool Mfg. Co., 744
F.3d 944, 946 (5th Cir. 2014).