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Mumford v. Florence County Disabilities and Special Needs Board

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division

September 17, 2019

Lakeshia Mumford, Plaintiff,
v.
Florence County Disabilities and Special Needs Board, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Kaymani D. West United States Magistrate Judge

         This employment-related matter is before the court on Defendant's Partial Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 14, in which Defendant Florence County Disabilities and Special Needs Board (“Defendant” or “FCDSN”) seeks Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal as to one of Plaintiff's several causes of action. Plaintiff Lakeshia Mumford (“Plaintiff” or “Mumford”) opposes the Motion, ECF No. 18, and Defendant has filed a Reply, ECF No. 19. All pretrial proceedings in this case were referred to the undersigned pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(g) (D.S.C.). As the pending motion is dispositive, this Report and Recommendation (“Report”) is entered for review by the district judge. Having reviewed the pleadings, briefs, and applicable law, the undersigned recommends Defendant's Partial Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 14, be granted.

         I. Factual and procedural background

         Plaintiff's operative Amended Complaint, ECF No. 12, includes federal causes of action for discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), as amended; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”); and the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). The Complaint also includes a state-law-based cause of action for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy (“WDPP”). Am. Compl., ECF No. 12. Defendant responded to the Amended Complaint by filing an answer as to the federal causes of action and moving to dismiss the WDPP cause of action. ECF Nos. 14, 15. Discovery has begun. ECF No. 16.

         Taken from the Amended Complaint and accepted as true for purposes of this Report, Plaintiff alleges the following potentially relevant facts:

         Plaintiff was employed by Defendant as a vocational specialist from February 2002 until her discharge on August 16, 2018. Am. Compl. ¶ 6. Plaintiff avers that, during the course of her employment with Defendant she informed Defendant of a medical condition that “had the ability to affect her ability to perform essential functions of her job.” Id. ¶ 7. Plaintiff is over the age of 40 and has the “disability of Attention deficit disorder [ADD] which affects her ability to perform her job duties without accommodations.” Id. ¶ 8.

         Plaintiff's averments continue to include the following:

10. Plaintiff engaged in the protective activity of requesting and utilizing her employer granted FMLA leave in 2016, when her mother needed to be cared for a serious health condition; Plaintiff returned to work approximately one week after her mother passed away in May 2016.
11. After returning to work from FMLA leave in May 2016, Plaintiff was asked to complete paperwork falsely representing that she was present at the times indicated on the paperwork, although she knew this would have been the time she was out on FMLA leave.
12. Since being out on FMLA leave and returning in May 2016 and since being asked to falsify paperwork, Plaintiff has requested accommodations of decreased case load and/or additional time to complete tasks as she had fallen behind on paperwork or charts and was having trouble completing them with her attention deficit disorder.

Am. Compl. ¶¶ 10-12.

         Plaintiff alleges her request for accommodation was denied and several individuals “corrected Plaintiff about her paperwork and charts” despite their knowing about Plaintiff's medical condition. Am. Compl. ¶ 13. Plaintiff avers younger employees were not disciplined for poor performance. Id.

         She claims she was “singled out” and her work was more scrutinized. Id. ¶ 14. Plaintiff “is aware” of younger employees who do not have ADD and have not been out on FMLA leave who were treated better than she has been treated. Id. ¶ 15. On July 25, 2018, Plaintiff complained to human resources of “harassment and unfair treatment and not being accommodated with more time to complete tasks, ” and she was terminated on August 16, 2018. Id. ¶ 16. Plaintiff appealed her termination on August 21, 2018, complaining that she needed more time to do her work because of ADD. Id. ¶ 17. Defendant determined on September 6, 2018 that Plaintiff's termination would be upheld. Id.

         In claiming an ADA violation, Plaintiff indicated she communicated her ADD disability to Defendant and advised of her “need for an accommodation of extended time to complete paperwork due to ADD issues[.]” Am. Compl. ¶ 23. Plaintiff claims she was harassed through discipline and heightened scrutiny of her work and claims ...


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