United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Central Division
NANETTE K. LAUGHREY United States District Judge.
before the Court are Defendant's Partial Motion for
Judgment on the Pleadings, [Doc. 35], and Plaintiff's
Motion for Reconsideration [Doc. 36');">36]. For the following
reasons, both motions are denied.
Hope Quaintance brings this suit pro se under the Americans
with Disabilities Act, alleging that Defendant City of
Columbia-COMO Connect discriminated against her on the basis
of race, gender, and disability. [Doc. 1');">1]. According the
Plaintiff's Complaint, she was hired to work as a city
bus driver on February 9, 201');">13. Plaintiff saw her primary
care doctor in May 201');">14 and she was released to return to
work with no restrictions. Nevertheless, Defendant required
Plaintiff to undergo a “fitness for duty exam.”
On or about May 1');">14, 201');">14, Defendant's Employee Health
Medical Advisor determined Plaintiff was not fit to drive and
needed additional medical treatment. A “return to
work” exam was scheduled for July 1');">15, 201');">14, but the
exam was cancelled and was not rescheduled. On August 25,
201');">14, Plaintiff was terminated because she “was not DOT
certified, was not medically capable of performing the
essential functions of [the] job; because [Plaintiff] had
canceled [her] July 1');">15 follow up appointment and declined to
reschedule it; and because [Plaintiff] had not completed the
return to duty process.” [Doc. 1');">1-1');">1, p 4]. Plaintiff
also alleges “[t]hroughout her employment, [she] was
subjected to harassment, in the form of derogatory comments
about [her] race and sex from [her immediate supervisor] and
from coworkers.” Id. The Complaint alleges she
“complained to managers and to human resources verbally
and in writing” but “the behavior
first page of the Employment Discrimination Complaint she
completed to file this suit lists four statutes and asks the
claimant to check “only those that apply.” The
form lists Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1');">1964, the Age
Discrimination Employment Act of 1');">1967, the Americans with
Disabilities Act of 1');">1990, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1');">1973.
Plaintiff only checked the “Americans with Disabilities
Act of 1');">1990.” Later in her complaint, however, she was
asked to check all that apply to complete the following
sentence: “I believe I was discriminated against
because of my ___.” [Doc. 1');">1, p. 4]. Plaintiff checked
“race, ” “color, ” “gender,
” and “disability.” Defendant now moves for
Partial Judgment on the Pleadings on the grounds that
“Plaintiff is attempting to allege claims of race,
color, and gender discrimination in her complaint which is
filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act.” [Doc.
35, p. 1');">1].
response to Defendants' Motion, Plaintiff also moves for
reconsideration of the Court's Order, [Doc. 30], on her
previous Motion for Recusal.
Motion for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings
allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint, [Doc. 1');">1], are taken
as true for the purpose of determining whether
Defendant's Motion should be granted. Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007). “A pro se
complaint must be liberally construed, and ‘pro se
litigants are held to a lesser pleading standard than other
parties'.” Topchian v. JP Morgan Chase Bank,
N.A., 760 F.3d 843 (8th Cir. 201');">14) (citing Fed.
Express Corp. v. Holowecki, 552 U.S. 389, 402 (2008)).
moves for judgment on the pleadings as to Plaintiff's
claims of race, color, and gender discrimination. Plaintiff
only indicated she was bringing suit under the American's
with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. Section 1');">121');">101');">1, et
seq., which only allows for lawsuits on the basis of
disability. In her response to Defendant's Motion,
Plaintiff asks that race and gender discrimination remain,
noting “witness against two white disabled men
coworkers” who “are also involved in [her]
case.” [Doc. 36');">36, p. 1');">1].
on her filing, it seems clear to the Court that Plaintiff
means to bring claims based on alleged racial and gender
discrimination. See [Doc. 1');">1, Doc. 36');">36]. On page six
of her Complaint, she writes:
I believe I have been discriminated against due to my race,
black; sex, female, and in retaliation for my complaints of
harassment in the workplace in violation of Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1');">1964, as amended. I also believe that I
have been discriminated against because of my disability
and/or my record of a disability in violation of the
Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended.
1');">1, p. 6]. It is therefore clear to the Court that
Plaintiff's failure to place a mark next to “Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1');">1964” on page one of her
Complaint was an inadvertent mistake and does not warrant
judgment on the pleadings. Stone v. Harry, 36');">364 F.3d
91');">12, 91');">15 (8th Cir. 2004) (“When we say that a pro se
complaint should be given liberal construction, we mean that
if the essence of an allegation is discernible, even though
it is not pleaded with legal nicety, then the district court
should construe the complaint in a way that permits the
layperson's claim to be considered within the proper
chooses, Plaintiff may move for leave to file an amended
complaint in order to make clear on the first page of her
form that she brings this suit under both Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
However, because she explicitly notes elsewhere in her
Complaint that this suit is brought under both ...