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Johnson v. Lou Fusz Automotive Network, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

December 22, 2014

LISA JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
v.
LOU FUSZ AUTOMOTIVE NETWORK, INC., Defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

JEAN C. HAMILTON, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for Remand, filed November 7, 2014. (ECF No. 14). The motion is fully briefed and ready for disposition.

BACKGROUND

On or about October 9, 2013, Plaintiff Lisa Johnson filed a Petition ("Complaint") in the Circuit Court of Saint Louis County, Missouri. (ECF No. 6). In her Complaint Plaintiff alleged associational disability discrimination, in violation of the Missouri Human Rights Act, ยง 213.010 R.S.Mo. et seq. [1] Plaintiff did not specifically assert a claim regarding the denial of a benefit or right under an ERISA[2] based plan. The Complaint was replete, however, with references to Defendant's medical insurance policy and Plaintiff's loss of benefits thereunder. For example, after noting that she had consistently received positive performance evaluations and was never the subject of disciplinary measures, and then detailing the disability her son Colson suffers, Plaintiff alleged as follows:

31. From 2006 (the year of Colson's disability onset) until Johnson's termination from Defendant on January 24, 2013, medical costs associated with monitoring and treating Colson's brain AVMs were covered by the health insurance policy provided through Johnson's employment with Defendant.
32. The serious and continuing nature of Colson's medical condition led to increased costs in the medical insurance provided to Johnson as a benefit of her employment with Defendant....
38. Defendant knew Johnson's insurance policy covered costs associated with Colson's treatment for brain AVMs.
39. Defendant was aware of incurring continuing and increasing costs associated with insuring Johnson's family as a result of Colson's disability.
40. During a telephone conversation between Defendant and Johnson on January 24, 2013, Defendant terminated Johnson's employment from Defendant.
41. During the telephone conversation in which Defendant terminated Johnson's employment, Defendant informed Johnson that Defendant eliminated her Fleet Leasing Agent position to "cut company employment costs."
42. During the telephone conversation in which Defendant terminated Johnson's employment, Defendant repeatedly mentioned Colson's disability, and how Johnson's termination placed her in a "bad position" regarding Colson's medical costs.
43. During the telephone conversation in which Defendant terminated Johnson's employment, Defendant directly stated to Johnson that she would no longer be able to rely on the insurance policy provided by Defendant to cover Colson's extensive medical expenses, but that Johnson could receive COBRA benefits or unemployment compensation to help cover Colson's medical costs....
48. Defendant was aware of the extensive expenses it incurred as a result of insuring Colson's medical care through Johnson.
49. Defendant further knew that Colson would require consistent medical monitoring, hospital stays, and treatment for ...

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