United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PATRICIA L. COHEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on the motions to dismiss filed by
Defendants St. Louis County Government and Steven Stenger
(“County Defendants”) (ECF No. 7) and Defendants
Sharon Gardner and Joyce Theard (ECF No. 19) (collectively,
“Defendants”). Plaintiff filed a memorandum in
opposition to the County Defendants' motion to dismiss
(ECF No. 9) and an amended memorandum in opposition to the
motion to dismiss (ECF No. 25). Defendants filed replies to
Plaintiff's memoranda in opposition to their motions to
dismiss. (ECF Nos. 10, 27).
Procedural and Factual Background
September 28, 2016, Plaintiff filed a three-count petition in
the Circuit Court of St. Louis County against Defendants
Gardner and Theard, in their official and individual
capacities, and the County Defendants. (ECF No. 3). In the
petition, Plaintiff alleged that Defendants: (1)
discriminated against him on the basis of age in violation of
the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA) (Count I); (2)
discriminated against him on the basis of disability in
violation of the MHRA (Count II); and (3) discriminated
against him on the basis of disability in violation of the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (Count III). In support
of these claims, Plaintiff stated that: he previously worked
as a health inspector for St. Louis County; “had a
severe allergy to shellfish”; was over the age of forty
“at all times material hereto”; and, due to the
allergy, suffered a “physical impairment that
substantially limits one or more major life
activities.” Additionally, Plaintiff averred that
Defendants: were aware of his shellfish allergy; refused to
accommodate him; repeatedly assigned him jobs that forced him
into contact with shellfish, causing him to become ill and
require hospitalization; treated him differently than
younger, allergy-free coworkers; subjected him to
“abusive treatment, ” demotion, and termination;
and, for the ADA claim, failed to make reasonable
County Defendants removed this case to federal court pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1441, and filed a motion to dismiss the
case with prejudice under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failure
to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Specifically, the County Defendants argued that: (1)
Plaintiff's MHRA claims were untimely; (2) Plaintiff
failed to exhaust his administrative remedies for his age
discrimination claim; and (3) a shellfish allergy was not a
disability under the ADA. (ECF Nos. 1, 7). The County
Defendants attached Plaintiff's EEOC charge and right to
sue letter as exhibits to their motion to
dismiss. (ECF No. 7-1, 7-2).
filed a memorandum in opposition to the County
Defendants' motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 9). Plaintiff did
not dispute the County Defendants' assertions either that
his MHRA claims were untimely or that he did not exhaust his
administrative remedies for age discrimination. Rather,
Plaintiff contended that he pleaded sufficient facts to state
a claim under the ADA. More specifically, Plaintiff argued
that the Court could not properly determine whether his
allergy constituted a disability under the ADA without a
factual record establishing: (1) the “severity and
breadth of the limitation”; and (2) whether the
defendants perceived Plaintiff's allergy as a disability.
Plaintiff urged the Court to deny the County Defendants'
motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, grant Plaintiff
leave to amend his pleadings.
their reply memorandum, the County Defendants asserted that
the Court does not require a more developed record as to the
severity of Plaintiff's allergic reaction because, in
Land v. Baptist Med. Ctr., 164 F.3d 423, 425 (8th
Cir. 1999), the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth
Circuit held that a deadly peanut allergy did not constitute
a disability under the ADA. (ECF No. 10). The County
Defendants further asserted that Plaintiff failed to allege
sufficient facts to support his claim that Defendants
“regarded” him as disabled.
remaining defendants, Sharon Gardner and Joyce Theard, then
filed a motion to dismiss with prejudice and a memorandum in
support of their motion to dismiss. (ECF Nos. 19, 20).
Defendants Gardner and Theard “incorporate[d] every
reason and ground that was asserted in the Motion to Dismiss
and supporting Memorandum of Law filed by their co-defendants
as reasons and grounds for their own dismissal.” (ECF
No. 20). In addition, Defendants Gardner and Theard urged the
Court to dismiss the ADA claim against them “because
there is no individual liability under the ADA as a matter of
subsequently filed, upon leave of the Court and over the
County Defendants' objections, an amended memorandum
opposing the motion to dismiss his MHRA claims for
untimeliness. (ECF No. 25). In the amended memorandum,
Plaintiff asserted that, under the Missouri Supreme
Court's decision in Farrow v. St. Francis Med.
Ctr., 407 S.W.3d 579 (Mo. banc 2013), Defendants waived
their challenge to the timeliness of his MHRA claim because
they did not raise this issue “by writ of mandamus in
the Circuit Court, where the case was initially filed.”
(ECF No. 25 at 1). Defendants Gardner and Theard filed a
reply to Plaintiff's amended memorandum in opposition to
dismissal of his MHRA claims, arguing that Farrow
was inapposite and “there is no law whatsoever that
requires defendants to file a separate lawsuit to challenge
the timeliness of plaintiff's state court
petition.” (ECF No. 27).
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (per curiam) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2)). A viable complaint must include “enough facts
to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007). “A claim has facial plausibility when
the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). When considering a Rule
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the reviewing court must accept
the plaintiff's factual allegations as true and construe
them in the plaintiff's favor. Id.
MHRA claims (Counts I and II)
moved to dismiss Plaintiff's MHRA claims for disability
and age discrimination (Counts I and II) on the ground that
they were filed out of time. (ECF Nos. 7, 8, 19, 20). In his
amended memorandum in opposition to the motion to dismiss,
Plaintiff argued that Defendants waived this claim because,
under Farrow, a defendant must raise issues of
timeliness by writ of mandamus in the court ...