United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S
MOTION FOR PARTIAL JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS (ECF NO.
J. FURSE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
O'Reilly Auto Enterprises, LLC d/b/a O'Reilly Auto
Parts (“O'Reilly”) moves the
Court for partial judgment on the pleadings.
(Mot. for Partial J. on the Pleadings (“Mot.”),
ECF No. 25.) O'Reilly asks this Court to (1) dismiss Mr.
Owen's claim of damages from physical injuries under the
Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), (2)
exclude evidence of Mr. Owen's physical injuries from his
punitive damages claim under the ADA, and (3) dismiss Mr.
Owen's intentional infliction of emotional distress
claim. (Mot. 3, ECF No. 25.) The Court held a hearing on
O'Reilly's Motion on July 12, 2017. (ECF No. 38.) At
the conclusion of the hearing, the Court took the Motion
under advisement. (Id.) After considering the
parties' briefing and oral argument presented by counsel,
the Court DENIES O'Reilly's Motion for Partial
Judgment on the Pleadings because Mr. Owen does not claim
damages from physical injury as part of his ADA claim; making
evidentiary rulings based on the pleadings is premature; and
Mr. Owen does state a claim for intentional infliction of
FACTUAL BACKGROUND & PROCEDURAL HISTORY
October 27, 2016, Mr. Owen filed the immediate action against
O'Reilly, alleging three ADA-related claims, including
(1) failure to provide reasonable accommodation, (2)
disability discrimination, (3) retaliation, and one state law
claim (4) intentional infliction of emotional distress.
(See Compl. 9-12, ECF No. 2.) On March 8, 2017,
O'Reilly moved the Court for partial judgment on the
pleadings. (Mot., ECF No. 25.) O'Reilly asks this Court
to (1) dismiss Mr. Owen's claim of damages for physical
injuries, (2) exclude evidence of Mr. Owen's physical
injuries from his punitive damages claim, and (3) dismiss Mr.
Owen's intentional infliction of emotional distress
claim. (Mot. 3, ECF No. 25.)
Court recites the following pertinent facts accepting, as it
must, the well-pled factual allegations as true, viewing the
allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and
drawing all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's
favor. See Atl. Richfield Co. v. Farm Credit Bank,
226 F.3d 1138, 1160 (10th Cir. 2000); Wilson v.
Montano, 715 F.3d 847, 852 (10th Cir. 2013).
litigation arises out of O'Reilly's refusal to
accommodate Mr. Owen's disability request and Mr.
Owen's subsequent termination from O'Reilly in
February of 2015. (Compl. 8, ECF No. 2.) O'Reilly's
store manager, Ms. Jones, hired Mr. Owen as a part-time parts
specialist in May 2014. (Compl. ¶ 20, ECF No. 2.) Mr.
Owen alleges that during his interview, he “disclosed
he had extensive injuries that prohibited him from lifting
anything weighing more than three (3) pounds and performing
repetitive tasks with his wrists, arms, and shoulders.”
(Compl. ¶ 16, ECF No. 2.)
to working for O'Reilly, the United States Air Force
employed Mr. Owen at Hill Air Force Base. (Compl.
¶¶ 6-7, ECF No. 2.) While there, a piece of an
aircraft fell on Mr. Owen injuring his back, neck, arms,
wrists, and shoulders, causing him to have thirty-six
surgeries, including the fusing of both of his wrists.
(Compl. ¶¶ 7-9, ECF No. 2.) Mr. Owen alleges that
Ms. Jones told him O'Reilly could accommodate his
restrictions by allowing Mr. Owen to assist customers while
relying on other employees to perform the tasks that Mr. Owen
could not. (Compl. ¶ 18, ECF No. 2.)
Owen successfully worked as a parts specialist with the
requested accommodation between May and August of 2014.
(Compl. ¶¶ 18, 21, 24, ECF No. 2.) Mr. Owen alleges
that in August of 2014, a coworker complained to Ms. Jones
that Mr. Owen “worked too slowly.” (Compl. ¶
22, ECF No. 2.) In response, Mr. Owen claims Ms. Jones began
asking “Mr. Owen to perform tasks that violated his
medical restrictions, ” such as “stocking brake
rotors and brake parts that weighed more than three (3)
pounds.” (Compl. ¶ 24, ECF No. 2.) Despite Mr.
Owen routinely reminding Ms. Jones that his disability
prevented him from lifting more than three pounds or engaging
in repetitive tasks from August 2014 through January of 2015,
Ms. Jones repeatedly asked Mr. Owen to complete assignments
that violated his physical limitations. (Compl. ¶¶
25-26, 30-32, ECF No. 2.) For example, in January of 2015,
Ms. Jones asked Mr. Owen to stock thirty five five-quart oil
containers, each weighing approximately ten pounds. (Compl.
¶¶ 36-37, ECF No. 2.) In addition, Ms. Jones told
Mr. Owen to open and break down the boxes in which the oil
came. (Compl. ¶ 38, ECF No. 2.) When Mr. Owen told Ms.
Jones that these tasks caused him pain, Ms. Jones told Mr.
Owen that the tasks “better be done.” (Compl.
¶¶ 39-40, ECF No. 2.)
December 23, 2014, Ms. Jones gave Mr. Owen a medical form for
his medical provider to complete. (Compl. ¶ 28, ECF No.
2.) On January 25, 2015, Ms. Jones placed Mr. Owen on unpaid
leave for failing to return the medical form. (Compl. ¶
46, ECF No. 2.) On February 4, 2016, O'Reilly told Mr.
Owen he had until February 18, 2016 to submit a letter from
his medical prover detailing his physical limitations.
(Compl. ¶ 51, ECF No. 2.) Mr. Owen submitted the letter
from his medical provider on February 10, 2015, after Ms.
Jones refused to accept it on February 6, 2015. (Id.
¶¶ 51-52.) On February 26, 2015, Mr. Owen received
a letter from O'Reilly stating it could not accommodate
his medical restrictions and terminating his employment,
effective February 24, 2015. (Id. ¶ 55.)
motion for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c) is
treated as a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6).”
Atl. Richfield Co. v. Farm Credit Bank, 226 F.3d
1138, 1160 (10th Cir. 2000). To survive a motion to dismiss,
a complaint must allege “enough facts to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.” Hogan v.
Winder, 762 F.3d 1096, 1104 (10th Cir. 2014) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 547
(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.” Id. (quoting
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). In
reviewing a motion to dismiss, and thus a motion for judgment
on the pleadings, courts accept as true the well-pled factual
allegations and view the allegations in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff, drawing all reasonable inferences
in the plaintiff's favor. See Wilson v. Montano,
715 F.3d 847, 852 (10th Cir. 2013).
The Court Declines to Rule on the Admissibility of Evidence
of Physical Injuries at this Time.
first asks this Court to dismiss Mr. Owen's claim for
physical injury damages, arguing the ADA does not allow
claims for physical injuries. (Mot. 10, ECF No. 25.) Mr. Owen
counters that he “has simply not made a claim
that O'Reilly should compensate him for his physical
injuries in and of themselves. Consequently, it is both
unnecessary and ultimately impossible to dismiss a claim
which has not actually been asserted.” (Pl's Mem.
in Opp'n to Def.'s Mot. for Partial J. on the
Pleadings, (“Opp'n”), 7, ECF No. 26.) Rather,
Mr. Owen claims he merely seeks to introduce evidence of his
physical injuries, exacerbated while working at O'Reilly,
pursuant to his ADA claim for punitive damages. (Id.
hearing, O'Reilly conceded that Mr. Owen has not pled a
claim of damages for his exacerbated physical injuries.
Nonetheless, O'Reilly asks this Court to address whether
Mr. Owen may put on evidence during trial of his physical
injuries pursuant to his ADA claim for punitive damages.
(Mot. 12-13, ECF No. ...