United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
JERAMIE A. MCCULLEN, o/b/o himself and a class of others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY, Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO PARTIALLY DISMISS PLAINTIFF'S
D. SMITH, SENIOR JUDGE
is Defendant's Motion to Partially Dismiss
Plaintiff's Amended Petition for Damages. Doc. #10. For
the following reasons, Defendant's motion is granted in
part and denied in part.
April 2019, Plaintiff filed a putative class action against
Defendant Union Pacific Railroad Company. Doc. #1-1. In his
Amended Petition for Damages, Plaintiff alleges Defendant
violated the Missouri Human Rights Act (“MHRA”).
Doc. #1-2. Plaintiff claims he and others similarly situated
sought employment with Defendant, they were offered
conditional employment pending a pre-employment physical, and
in at least some instances, they passed the pre-employment
physical. Doc. #1-2. However, the applicants' conditional
offers of employment were rescinded because they had physical
or mental impairments, Defendant regarded them as having
impairments, and/or the applicants' medical records
indicated they had impairments. Id.
2019, Defendant removed the matter to this Court. Doc. #1.
Defendant now moves to dismiss Plaintiff's failure to
accommodate, and also moves to dismiss Plaintiff's class
allegations, or alternatively, dismiss class claims accruing
before January 6, 2018, due to Plaintiff's failure to
administratively exhaust said claims.
brings its motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The liberal pleading
standard created by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
requires “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)). “Specific facts
are not necessary; the statement need only 'give the
defendant fair notice of what the…claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests.'” Id. (citing
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007)). The Court Amust accept as true…the
complaint's factual allegations and view them in the
light most favorable to the Plaintiff[ ].”
Stodghill v. Wellston Sch. Dist., 512 F.3d 472, 476
(8th Cir. 2008).
To 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. 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. 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. Where a complaint
pleads facts that are merely consistent with a
defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between
possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
considering a motion to dismiss, the court “can choose
to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no
more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of
truth.” Id. at 679. “[L]egal conclusions
can provide the framework” for a claim, but the legal
conclusions “must be supported by factual
allegations.” Id. When faced with
“well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should
assume their veracity and then determine whether they
plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.”
Id. In alleged class actions, the Eighth Circuit has
held “class claims that fail to meet the requirements
of Rule 23 may be properly dismissed by granting a Rule
12(b)(6) motion.” McCrary v. Stifel, Nicolaus &
Co., 687 F.3d 1052, 1059 (8th Cir. 2012).
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure sets forth the
requirements for class certification. Under Rule 23(a), the
party seeking to certify a class must show (1) the class is
so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable, (2)
questions of law or fact are common to the class, (3) the
representative party's claims are typical of the
class's claims, and (4) the representative party will
fairly and adequately protect the class's interests.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a). If the Rule 23(a) requirements are met,
the class action may be maintained only if it falls into one
of three different categories set forth in Rule 23(b).
moves to dismiss Plaintiff's class allegations because
they do not satisfy the commonality, typicality, or
predominance requirements in Rule 23(a) and 23(b)(3) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Defendant argues a putative
class member's claim hinges on individualized inquiries,
and thus, the Rule 23 requirements are not met. Defendant
points to the individual inquiry that is necessary to
determine whether a plaintiff is “disabled” under
the MHRA, which includes 1) examination of whether the person
has an impairment; (2) a record of such an impairment, or is
regarded as having an impairment; (3) whether the impairment
substantially limits or is treated as substantially limiting
a major life activity; (4) whether mitigating measures are
available to ...