United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
ALECIA M. RIDEAU, M.D.
LAFAYETTE HEALTH VENTURES, INC., LAFAYETTE GENERAL HEALTH SYSTEM, INC. AND AL PATIN
A. DOUGHTY, JUDGE
PATRICK J. HANNA, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
pending before the court is the motion to strike certain
allegations of the plaintiff's complaint, which was filed
by the defendants, Lafayette Health Ventures, Inc., Lafayette
General Health System Inc., and Al Patin. (Rec. Doc. 10). The
motion is opposed. (Rec. Doc. 16). Considering the evidence,
the law, and the arguments of the parties, and for the
reasons fully explained below, the motion is DENIED.
plaintiff's complaint asserted a claim under the Family
and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C.
§ 2601 et seq. According to the complaint, Dr.
Alecia M. Rideau is a radiologist whose specialty is
interpreting breast imaging. She was allegedly hired to work
at the Breast Center at Lafayette General Medical Center in
Lafayette, Louisiana, in December 2014.
February 2016, Dr. Rideau was diagnosed with breast cancer.
She took eight weeks of the FMLA leave from March 28, 2016 to
May 23, 2016 to accommodate the first stage of her cancer
treatment. Upon her return from leave, she requested an
additional two weeks of leave in the fall of 2016 to have the
second stage of her breast cancer treatment - reconstruction
of her breasts following bilateral mastectomy. Dr. Rideau
claims that, although she was entitled to another four weeks
of FMLA leave in 2016, her direct supervisor, defendant Al
Patin, told her that reconstructive surgery was a cosmetic
procedure that was not medically necessary, denied her
request for leave, and advised that she would have to wait
until 2017 to schedule the reconstruction. Mr. Patin also
allegedly told Dr. Rideau that he would require her to find a
temporary replacement to cover her duties before scheduling
her leave. Mr. Patin also allegedly informed Dr. Rideau that
her leave in the spring of 2016 had “inconvenienced the
staff” and “was distressing” to the other
Breast Center radiologist.
August 2016, Dr. Rideau requested two weeks of medical leave
in March 2017 for breast reconstructive surgery.
Approximately a week later, Mr. Patin allegedly summoned Dr.
Rideau to his office to discuss her FMLA request. He
allegedly fired her instead.
lawsuit, Dr. Rideau seeks to recover for the defendants'
alleged violation of the FMLA. She claims that the defendants
both interfered with her FMLA rights by illegally denying her
FMLA leave to which she was entitled and also retaliated
against her for requesting FMLA leave, treating her less
favorably than employees who did not request FMLA leave, and
ultimately terminating her employment.
defendants filed the instant motion, seeking to strike
certain allegations set forth in Dr. Rideau's complaint,
claiming that they are “immaterial, impertinent, or
scandalous” (Rec. Doc. 10 at 1; Rec. Doc. 10-1 at 2)
and have no bearing on the plaintiff's claims.
Specifically, the defendants moved to strike Paragraph 27 of
the complaint, in its entirety, which reads as follows:
Since 1998, health insurers have been required by federal law
to provide coverage for reconstructive surgery following
mastectomies. See the Women's Health and Cancer Rights
Act of 1998 (“WHCRA”), 29 U.S.C. § 1185b. At
the time the WHCRA was under consideration, insurers quite
commonly refused to pay for breast reconstruction after
mastectomy on the ground that it was a “cosmetic”
procedure and was “not medically necessary.” 144
Cong. Rec. S. 4644, 4650 (1998). The WHCRA remedied this
defendants also moved to strike the portion of Paragraph 29
of the complaint, which is underlined below:
Patin informed Plaintiff that he considered reconstructive
breast surgery to be a cosmetic and elective procedure;
this statement contradicts federal law under the WHCRA.
For twenty (20) years, it has been well established in the
healthcare field that reconstructive breast surgery is not
considered a cosmetic, medically unnecessary procedure. Patin
is a registered nurse and a corporate officer of LHV and
LGHS, and was well aware or should have been well-aware of
this fact. Patin's statement was an attempt
to dissuade and restrain Plaintiff from asserting her
federally protected rights to FMLA leave for a serious health
to strike are governed by Rule 12(f) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure, which states that “[t]he court may
strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any
redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous
matter.” Deciding whether to strike all or a portion of
a pleading lies within the court's
discretion. A motion to strike under Rule 12(f)
“is a drastic remedy to be resorted to only when
required for the ...