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Teetor v. Rock-Tenn Services Inc.

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

October 2, 2017

VICKI TEETOR, Plaintiff,
v.
ROCK-TENN SERVICES, INC., Defendant.

          OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          HENRY EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. No. 54]. Plaintiff opposes the Motion and has submitted a written Memorandum. Defendant has filed its Reply. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is denied.

         Facts and Background

         Plaintiff's Amended Complaint sets out the following allegations and claims:

         Plaint worked for Defendant as a Market Analyst for ten years, from March, 2005 to March, 2015. Plaintiff's employment was terminated by Defendant.

         Plaintiff suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, (“COPD”), asthma, and emphysema. Plaintiff's right diaphragm is paralyzed. In 2013, Plaintiff was hospitalized and she missed five weeks of work. She was absent from work on several occasions in late 2014 and early 2015 due to her medical condition. Plaintiff alleges that these absences were covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).

         In January, 2015, Plaintiff's toes turned black, she had difficulty breathing and standing, and she developed bronchitis and pneumonia. On February 2, 2015, Plaintiff informed Defendant that she needed to take an extended leave of absence from work due to her medical condition. She requested leave from work pursuant to the FMLA.

         In early February 2015, Plaintiff informed Defendant that she needed to take an extended leave of absence from work due to her serious medical condition and requested leave pursuant to the FMLA. This request was approved, however, on March 26, 2015, while on FMLA leave, Plaintiff received a letter informing her that her employment was terminated, effective March 14, 2015.

         Plaintiff charges that Defendant refused to provide leave and retaliated against Plaintiff for engaging in protected activity under the FMLA.

         Plaintiff also claims she routinely worked in excess of 40 hours per week for which Defendant did not pay time and a half for the excess. She claims Defendant failed to keep consistent, accurate, and complete time records of her hours.

         Plaintiff filed a dual charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (“MCHR”) on June 25, 2015. The MCHR issued a “Right to Sue” letter on February 18, 2016. The EEOC issued its Right to Sue letter on March 1, 2016. Plaintiff filed this action on June 25, 2015. Her Amended Complaint sets forth the following claims: Count I is brought under the FMLA for interference with Plaintiff's FMLA rights; Count II is a claim for FMLA retaliation. Plaintiff claims she was fired because she took FMLA leave; Count III is a claim for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act; Count IV alleges a violation of the Missouri Minimum Wage Law; Count V and VI are brought for the alleged violations of the MHRA discrimination and for failure make reasonable accommodations for Plaintiff; and Count VII is brought under the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

         Standard

         The Court may grant a motion for summary judgment if “the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). The substantive law determines which facts are critical and which are irrelevant. Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome will properly preclude summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). Summary judgment is not proper if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Id.

         A moving party always bears the burden of informing the Court of the basis of its motion. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. Once the moving party discharges this burden, the nonmoving party must set forth specific facts demonstrating that there is a dispute as to a genuine issue of material fact, not the “mere existence of some alleged factual dispute.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Anderson, 477 U.S. at ...


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