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Robinson v. Board of Supervisors of Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

September 13, 2017

CLARENCE E. ROBINSON, JR.
v.
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY AND AGRICULTURAL AND MECHANICAL COLLEGE, THROUGH ITS HEALTHCARE SERVICES DIVISION

         SECTION: "S" (2)

          ORDER AND REASONS

          MARY ANN VIAL LEMMON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. #6) is GRANTED. Plaintiff is granted leave to file an amended complaint within fifteen days of the date of this order to properly allege an official capacity claim against a state actor. Failure to file a proper amended complaint within the allotted time will result in dismissal of this action.

         BACKGROUND

         This matter is before the court on a motion to dismiss filed by defendant, the Board of Supervisors of Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, through its Healthcare Services Division ("LSU"). LSU argues that this case should be dismissed because plaintiff's claims against it are barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity.[1]

         Plaintiff, Clarence E. Robinson, Jr., was employed at LSU as the Clinical Systems Director. On May 2, 2011, Robinson fell at work and ruptured his bilateral quad tendons on both legs, which were surgically repaired. Robinson alleges that this injury resulted in his being a person with a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADAA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq.

         After the injury, Robinson requested, and was approved, for leave under the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), 29 U.S.C § 2601, et seq. Robinson claims that he repeatedly asked for information regarding his sick leave status, but the information was not provided. Robinson also alleges that he asked his supervisor if he could work from home, but the supervisor did not respond, or engage in any interactive process to explore possible accommodations to allow Robinson to perform his essential job functions.

         On July 19, 2011, Robinson's physician determined that Robinson could return to work. On July 27, 2011, Robinson submitted documentation to LSU stating that he could return to work on August 1, 2011, with the reasonable accommodation of being able to use a wheelchair at work. On July 29, 2011, Adler Voltair, the Chief Administrative Officer, gave Robinson a Notice of Pre-Removal Hearing, stating that LSU was considering terminating Robinson because he had exhausted all usable sick leave as of July 11, 2011, and his FMLA leave was exhausted as of July 22, 2011. On August 1, 2011, Robinson was terminated for violating Civil Service Rule 12.6(a)1 for having fewer than 8 hours of sick leave and being unable to perform his essential job functions.

         Robinson filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and was issued a Right to Sue Letter on March 22, 2017. On June 16, 2017, Robinson filed his petition against LSU in the Civil District Court, Parish of Orleans, State of Louisiana alleging that LSU violated the ADAA by failing to engage in an interactive discussion with him regarding reasonable accommodations, discriminating against him because of his disability and retaliating against him for asking to use a wheelchair at work. Robinson seeks various items of monetary damages, including lost compensation and benefits, compensatory damages, attorneys' fees and costs. Robinson also seeks an order requiring LSU to engage in the interactive process of considering a reasonable accommodation for individuals with a disability.

         LSU removed the action to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana alleging federal question subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Thereafter, LSU filed the instant motion to dismiss arguing that Robinson's ADAA claim against it is barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Robinson concedes that he cannot seek monetary damages against LSU, but argues that he can maintain a claim for injunctive relief under the Ex Parte Young doctrine. Robinson states that he will amend his complaint if necessary to add proper defendants or additional plaintiffs.

         ANALYSIS

         I. Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

         "Motions filed under Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allow a party to challenge the subject matter jurisdiction of the district court to hear a case.” Ramming v. United States, 281 F.3d 158, 161 (5th Cir.2001). “Lack of subject matter jurisdiction may be found in any one of three instances: (1) the complaint alone; (2) the complaint supplemented by undisputed facts evidenced in the record; or (3) the complaint supplemented by undisputed facts plus the court's resolution of disputed facts.” Id. In a 12(b)(1) motion, the party asserting jurisdiction bears the burden of proof that jurisdiction does in fact exists. Id.

         II. ...


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