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Baker v. Goldberg Segalla LLP

United States District Court, W.D. New York

April 4, 2017

MAGGIE BAKER, Plaintiff,
v.
GOLDBERG SEGALLA LLP, Defendant.

          DECISION AND ORDER

          HON. FRANK P. GERACI, JR. Chief Judge United States District Court.

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Maggie Baker (“Plaintiff”) brings this case against her former employer, Goldberg Segalla LLP (“Goldberg Segalla”), alleging violations of the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”). ECF No. 1.

         Presently before the Court is a motion to dismiss filed by Goldberg Segalla pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. ECF No. 5. United States Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott[1] issued a Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) in which he recommends that Goldberg Segalla's motion be denied. ECF No. 11. Goldberg Segalla then filed objections to the R&R. ECF No. 12. For the reasons stated below, the Court declines to adopt the R&R. Goldberg Segalla's motion to dismiss is granted and Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed without prejudice.

         BACKGROUND[2]

         Goldberg Segalla is a law firm located in Buffalo, New York. Employees at Goldberg Segalla receive benefits including FMLA leave, Short-Term Disabiliy leave, and Long-Term Disability leave.

         On September 23, 2013, after working as a legal assistant at Goldberg Segalla for twelve years, Plaintiff became seriously ill and unable to work. She notified Goldberg Segalla of her illness and “asked for leave.” Plaintiff was “subsequently” granted FMLA leave. Plaintiff does not indicate when she was granted FMLA leave, when that leave began, the amount of leave she was granted, or whether she also asked for (or received) Short-Term Disability leave, Long-Term Disability leave, or any other type of leave.

         Sometime after she was granted FMLA leave, Plaintiff was diagnosed with methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (a so-called superbug, also known as “MRSA”). Plaintiff went to the hospital for treatment and surgery “for a period of months, ” which was followed by ongoing doctor appointments. While she received treatment, Plaintiff was out of work but was “in contact” with Goldberg Segalla and “continued to update [Goldberg Segalla] as to her medical status.” In January 2014, while Plaintiff was still absent from work, she received a letter from Goldberg Segalla stating that she had received a pay raise.

         Plaintiff eventually recovered from her illness. Sometime during the week of July 14, 2014, Plaintiff “informed” Goldberg Segalla “that she would return to work on August 1, 2014.”

         On July 29, 2014, Plaintiff received a phone call from Human Resources Administrator Jennifer Majewski. Also on July 29, 2014, (1) “Defendant stated that Plaintiff was terminated”; (2) “Defendant” informed Plaintiff that her FMLA leave had expired sometime in December; and (3) Plaintiff was told by “Defendant” that “Defendant's representative did not know Plaintiff's FMLA was terminated until the day immediately prior to this call” and that “she was made aware of the expiration of Plaintiff's FMLA leave by the Defendant's facilitation committee.”[3] This was the first time Plaintiff was informed that her FMLA leave had expired.

         LEGAL STANDARDS

         I. Motions to Dismiss Under Rule 12(b)(6)

         Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a party may move to dismiss a complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). In reviewing a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court “must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint, ” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 572 (2007), and “draw all reasonable inferences in Plaintiff's favor.” Faber v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 648 F.3d 98, 104 (2d Cir. 2011). 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.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. “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). The application of this standard is “a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id. at 679.

         II. Report ...


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