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Archer v. Partners in Recovery LLC

United States District Court, D. Arizona

July 19, 2019

Janette R. Archer, Plaintiff,
Partners in Recovery LLC, Defendant.


          Dominic W. Lanza United Slates District Judge.

         Pending before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim and Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction Or, in the Alternative, for a More Definite Statement. (Doc. 36.) As explained below, the Court will partially grant and partially deny the motion.[1]


         The following facts, which the Court assumes to be true for purposes of ruling on the pending motion, are derived from Plaintiff Janette Archer's (“Plaintiff”) first amended complaint (“FAC”). (Doc. 33.)

         Plaintiff is a registered nurse who was hired by Defendant in 2014. (Id. ¶ 7.) Plaintiff has adult attention deficit disorder (“ADD”), which made it difficult for her to keep written notes as required by Defendant's employment policies. (Id. ¶¶ 8-9.) Defendant issued Plaintiff a smart phone as an accommodation, thereby allowing her to dictate her notes. (Id. ¶ 11.) Plaintiff lost the phone and requested a replacement (at her own expense) but Defendant denied the request. (Id. ¶¶ 12-13.) Plaintiff contacted the Human Resources Department (“HR”) and requested a “mobile device with electronic note-taking capabilities.” (Id. ¶ 15.) Defendant then issued Plaintiff a laptop with dictation software. (Id. ¶ 16.) The laptop was unwieldy, often needed to be charged, had poor Wi-Fi connection, and had inadequate dictation software. (Id. ¶¶ 17-18.) Plaintiff contacted HR and provided a doctor's note stating Plaintiff needed a handheld device to complete her work. (Id. ¶¶ 19-21.) Defendant eventually complied and issued Plaintiff a phone; however, she struggled to configure the phone and contacted the Information and Technology Department (“IT”) for assistance. (Id. ¶¶ 21-22.) IT also struggled to configure the phone. (Id. ¶ 21.) IT treated Plaintiff “with distrust and ridicule, ” accusing her of causing the software's malfunction, which Plaintiff denies. (Id. ¶ 24.)

         Defendant subsequently began monitoring Plaintiff more closely at work. (Id. ¶ 25.) From August 4, 2017 to October 2, 2017, Plaintiff was reprimanded five times- four for making unauthorized changes to her accommodation equipment and one for discussing “political, ideological, and/or religious matters in the workplace.” (Id. ¶¶ 26- 31.) Plaintiff alleges that she recalls other employees discussing similar topics without discipline. (Id. ¶ 27.) During this time, Plaintiff also requested time off related to her ADD, but Defendant denied the request. (Id. ¶ 32.)

         On or about November 14, 2017, a traffic enforcement officer pulled Plaintiff over while she was driving to work. (Id. ¶ 34.) Plaintiff reported this incident to Defendant, which investigated. (Id. ¶¶ 35, 38.) This investigation included obtaining “a motor vehicle report, ” which was provided by a third-party company called SambaSafety. (Id. ¶ 38.) Amanda Morales[2] told Plaintiff the report showed “that Plaintiff had a suspended license.” (Id.) This statement was inaccurate-Plaintiff's license wasn't suspended. (Id. ¶¶ 40, 42.) Plaintiff told Ms. Morales that her license wasn't suspended, but Defendant “nevertheless terminated Plaintiff's employment.” (Id. ¶ 40.) The sole reason Defendant provided for the termination decision was the suspended license. (Id.)

         In Count I of the FAC, Plaintiff asserts a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., for disability discrimination, failure to accommodate, harassment, hostile work environment, and retaliation. (Id. ¶¶ 44-56.) In Counts II, III, and IV of the FAC, Plaintiff asserts various state-law claims that are discussed in more detail infra. (Id. ¶¶ 64-85.)

         Defendant now moves to dismiss for failure to state a claim and for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, or alternatively, for a more definite statement. (Doc. 36.)


         “[T]o survive a motion to dismiss, a party must allege ‘sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” In re Fitness Holdings Int'l, Inc., 714 F.3d 1141, 1144 (9th Cir. 2013) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). “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.” Id. (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). “[A]ll well-pleaded allegations of material fact in the complaint are accepted as true and are construed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party.” Id. at 1144-45 (quotation omitted). However, the court need not accept legal conclusions couched as factual allegations. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679-80. The court also may dismiss due to “a lack of a cognizable legal theory.” Mollett v. Netflix, Inc., 795 F.3d 1062, 1065 (9th Cir. 2015) (quotation omitted).


         I. Motion to Dismiss[3]

         A. ...

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