United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
LATONYA L. BRYANT, Plaintiff,
U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the court on Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss Plaintiffs Intentional Infliction of Emotional
Distress Claim (ECF No. 8). This matter is fully briefed and
ready for disposition.
Latonya L. Bryant ("Bryant") was employed by U.S.
Bank National Association ("U.S. Bank") from April
2002 until January 3, 2017. (Complaint, ECF No. 1, ¶5).
Bryant alleges she was a covered employee under the Family
and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), 29 U.S.C.
§§2601, et seq. (Complaint, ¶7).
contends that she received positive performance evaluations,
except for December 2015; Bryant attributes her negative
December 2015 evaluation to her use of FMLA leave from April
to August 2015. (Complaint, ¶14). Thereafter, Bryant was
placed on a Performance Improvement Plan ("PIP") in
January 2016. (Complaint, ¶15). Bryant was taken off of
her PIP in February 2016, and her team was first in the
office rankings from March to May 2016. (Complaint,
¶16). In August 2016, Bryant's supervisor, Michael
Prophete ("Prophete") gave Bryant a strong
performance evaluation and she was given an excellent rating
for her mid-year score. (Complaint, ¶16). In December
2016, Prophete contacted Bryant while she was on vacation and
asked her to come in to perform work. (Complaint, ¶17).
Prophete also requested various employment documents from
Bryant by January 6, 2017.
claims that in January 2017 her mother, Carolyn, suffered a
"serious health condition" under the FMLA. Her
mother was hospitalized for chronic lung failure and kidney
failure. (Complaint, ¶ll). In addition, Bryant's son
suffers from autism, a "serious medical condition."
(Complaint, ¶12). On January 2, 2017, Bryant's
mother was hospitalized and placed on ventilation with a
potential life-threatening illness. (Complaint, ¶18). On
January 3, 2017, Bryant contacted The Hartford, U.S.
Bank's third-party FMLA administrator, and requested FMLA
intermittent leave to care for her mother. (Complaint,
¶19). That afternoon, The Hartford gave Bryant a claim
number for her FMLA intermittent leave. (Complaint,
¶22). Bryant then contacted Prophete and notified him
that she had requested FMLA leave to care for her mother.
(Complaint, ¶21). The afternoon of January 3, 2017,
Prophete called Bryant into the office and terminated her.
(Complaint, ¶23). Prophete told Bryant she needed a less
stressful position due to her mother's and her son's
medical conditions. (Complaint, ¶24).
January 27, 2017, Bryant filed her Complaint, alleging claims
for Retaliation (Count I) and Intentional Infliction of
Emotional Distress (Count II). On February 27, 2017, U.S.
Bank filed a Motion to Dismiss Bryant's Intentional
Infliction of Emotional Distress Claim. (ECF No. 8).
Standard of Review
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint "must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'"
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct.
1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic
Corp., v. Twombly, 550 U.S 544, 570 (2007). A
"formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action" will not suffice. Twombly, 550 U.S. at
555. "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." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
state a claim for intentional infliction of emotional
distress ("IIED") under Missouri law, "a
plaintiff must plead extreme and outrageous conduct by a
defendant who intentionally or recklessly causes severe
emotional distress that results in bodily harm."
Gibson v. Brewer, 952 S.W.2d 239, 249 (Mo.1997) (en
banc) (citing KG. v. R.T.R., 918 S.W.2d 795, 799
(Mo.1996) (en banc)); Bailey v. Bayer CropScience
L.P., 563 F.3d 302, 310 (8th Cir. 2009). The
defendant's intent in acting must have been "only to
cause extreme emotional distress to the victim."
Id. (citing K.G., 918 S.W.2d at 799).
"The conduct must have been 'so outrageous in
character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all
possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious,
and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.'"
Id. (quoting Warrem v. Parrish, 436 S.W.2d
670, 673 (Mo. 1969)). Liability for IIED
clearly does not extend to mere insults, indignities,
threats, annoyances, petty oppressions, or other
trivialities. The rough edges of our society are still in
need of a good deal of filing down, and in the meantime
plaintiffs must necessarily be expected and required to be
hardened to a certain amount of rough language, and to
occasional acts that are definitely inconsiderate and unkind.
There is no occasion for the law to intervene in every case
where someone's feelings are hurt.
Pretsky v. Southwestern Bell Tel Co., 396 S.W.2d
566, 569 (Mo. 1965) (abrogated on other grounds) (quoting
Restatement (Second) of Torts § 46, comment (d) ...