United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
matter comes before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss brought under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and filed on
October 27, 2017. (Doc. 3). Plaintiff filed his response on
December 12, 2017, and Defendant filed its reply on December
21, 2017. (Docs. 11 and 12). Having reviewed the parties'
briefing, the relevant law, and Plaintiff's
“Complaint for Employment Discrimination”
(“Complaint”), (Doc. 1) at 6, the Court grants
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss.
alleges in his Complaint that Defendant employed him from
June 21, 2012, until January 9, 2015. (Doc. 1) at 6, ¶
5. Sometime in November 2014, Plaintiff became ill and was
later diagnosed with a ruptured ulcer in his abdomen.
Id. at 7, ¶ 6. Plaintiff then underwent
emergency surgery. Id. at 7, ¶ 7. Defendant
placed Plaintiff on paid leave while Plaintiff recovered from
his surgery and until Plaintiff returned to work on January
8, 2015. Id. at 7, ¶¶ 8-9. Plaintiff
returned to work with doctor's orders to perform light
work duty, which Plaintiff provided to his supervisor.
Id. at 7, ¶ 10.
Plaintiff returned to work on January 8, 2015, Defendant
tasked him with lifting tools weighing over 100 pounds and
traveling to four or five locations on rough roads.
Id. at 7, ¶ 11. At some point that day,
Plaintiff informed his supervisor that he could not make any
more trips. Id. at 7, ¶ 12. Plaintiff's
supervisor directed Plaintiff to obtain a doctor's note
if he could not complete a full day's work. Id.
That same day, Plaintiff visited his doctor who gave
Plaintiff a note explaining that Plaintiff should lift no
more than ten pounds and avoid jarring movements.
Id. at 7, ¶ 13. Plaintiff returned to work
later that day but was unable to give the note to his
supervisor. Id. at 7, ¶ 14. Instead, Plaintiff
was instructed to meet with Glenn Coates the next morning.
next day, on January 9, 2015, Plaintiff met with Mr. Coates,
who asked Plaintiff to resign. Id. at 7, ¶ 15.
Plaintiff refused, and Defendant thereafter fired him.
Id. at 8, ¶ 16. At some later time, Plaintiff
filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). Id. at
8, ¶ 17. On April 26, 2017, he received a Notice of
Right to Sue. Id. at 8, ¶ 18.
25, 2017, Plaintiff filed his Complaint in the Fifth Judicial
District Court, claiming that Defendant discriminated against
him because of his alleged disability. (Doc. 1) at 7-10,
¶¶ 6-36. He asserted three claims against
Defendant: violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”) (“Claim I”); violation of the
New Mexico Human Rights Act (“NMHRA”)
(“Claim II”); and violation of the Family Medical
Leave Act (“FMLA”) (“Claim III”).
Id. at 8-10, ¶¶ 20-36. Defendant removed
the matter to this Court on the basis of federal question
jurisdiction related to the ADA and FMLA claims and
supplemental jurisdiction over the NMHRA claim. (Doc. 1).
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss
contends that Plaintiff fails to state a claim for relief
under the ADA, the NMHRA, and the FMLA. Specifically,
Defendant argues that with respect to the ADA claim,
Plaintiff fails to allege the existence of a disability or
that Plaintiff was qualified, with or without reasonable
accommodation, to perform the essential functions of his job;
that Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies
under the NMHRA; and, that Plaintiff's FMLA claims fall
outside the statute of limitations. In response to the ADA
arguments, Plaintiff argues (1) the existence of an actual
disability, that (2) Defendant regarded him as having a
physical impairment, and that (3) Defendant failed to provide
reasonable accommodation. Plaintiff also argues that he filed
a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC and received a
Notice of Right to Sue from the EEOC, thereby exhausting
administrative remedies under the NMHRA. Plaintiff did not
respond to Defendant's FMLA argument. In the alternative,
Plaintiff seeks leave to amend his Complaint if the Court
finds his allegations insufficient. The Court first addresses
the Motion to Dismiss as to Claims I and III under Rule
12(b)(6), and then Claim II under Rule 12(b)(1).
Standard of Review
ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court must
accept all well-pleaded allegations as true and must view
them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See
Zinermon v. Burch, 494 U.S. 113, 118 (1990);
Swanson v. Bixler, 750 F.2d 810, 813 (10th Cir.
1984). Rule 12(b)(6) requires that a complaint set forth the
grounds of a plaintiff's entitlement to relief through
more than labels, conclusions and a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action. See Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must
allege facts sufficient to state a plausible claim of relief.
Id. at 570. A claim is facially plausible if the
plaintiff pleads facts sufficient for the court to reasonably
infer that the defendant is liable for the alleged
misconduct. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (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.”
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.” Henry
v. Office of Thrift Supervision, 43 F.3d 507, 511 (10th
Cir. 1994) (citations omitted). The Court presumes
“that a cause lies outside [of its] limited
jurisdiction” until the party asserting jurisdiction
proves otherwise. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of
Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994) (citations omitted). In
cases like this, in which a Rule 12(b)(1) motion
“challenges the facts upon which subject matter
depends, a district court may not presume the truthfulness of
the complaint's factual allegations.” Sizova v.
Nat. Inst. of Standards & Tech., 282 F.3d 1320, 1324
(10th Cir. 2002) (internal quotation ...