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Doe v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia

March 30, 2017

JOHN DOE, Plaintiff,
v.
MYLAN PHARMACEUTICALS, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO STRIKE, OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE, MOTION TO DISMISS AMENDED COMPLAINT [DKT. NO. 22] AND DISMISSING COUNT III WITH PREJUDICE

          IRENE M. KEELEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is the motion to strike, or in the alternative, motion to dismiss the amended complaint filed by the defendant, Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“Mylan”) (dkt. no. 22). For the reasons that follow, the Court DENIES the motion to strike the amended complaint, but GRANTS the motion to dismiss Count III of the amended complaint.

         I. STATEMENT OF THE CASE AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         The plaintiff, John Doe (“Doe”), has been an employee of Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“Mylan”) since June 18, 2007. He suffers from a seizure disorder, for which Mylan has provided reasonable accommodations since he first started having seizures at work in 2008. Doe's complaint alleges that he is able to perform his work with reasonable accommodations, including using slower machines, using machines that can shut off automatically and do not require climbing high ladders, and being visually checked on by others every 15 minutes when wearing respirator gear.

         Doe suffered a seizure on March 5, 2015, following which he was off work until April 6, 2015. According to Doe, when he returned to work he gave Mylan two notes from his neurologist, dated March 25 and March 30, 2015, explaining that, although he could return to work on April 6, he was restricted from driving or operating heavy machinery for 6 months. Doe further alleges that although he requested that Mylan provide the same accommodations he had received in the past Mylan placed him on involuntary leave. After Mylan's Human Resources Manager refused to allow Doe to return to work until the restrictions imposed by his doctor had been lifted, Doe filed a complaint on May 2, 2015, with the West Virginia Human Rights Commission and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).

         After he received another note from his physician, Doe tried to return to work on September 8, 2015. But because Mylan required more documentation from his physician, Doe did not actually return to work until September 24, 2015. He alleges that, as a consequence, he was forced to use accrued vacation leave during that interval in order to avoid incurring unpaid leave.

         Doe alleges that, even after he returned to work, Mylan continued to deny his disability accommodation requests. He further asserts that he had to wear a Tyvex suit and work on high ladders in rooms without padding or safety guards to protect him, even though other rooms were available where Mylan could have stationed him to work.

         On December 17, 2015, one of the occasions when he was working in a Tyvex suit and helmet, Doe had a seizure that sent him to the hospital. The complaint alleges that, during the time of that seizure, Mylan was not monitoring him every 15 minutes while he was in the Tyvex suit, which Doe claims would have been the proper accommodation. Doe returned to work on December 28, 2015, after which he alleges Mylan continued to deny his requested accommodations.

         According to the complaint, a doctor in Mylan's Medical Unit made comments to Doe about the complaint he had filed with the EEOC, which Doe interpreted as an attempt to threaten or discourage him from exercising his rights[1]. Doe also asserts that, on February 22, 2016, he requested that Mylan move him to another room as an accommodation. Although his supervisor complied, he later made public comments reflecting “a condescending and retaliatory attitude” toward the accommodation requests[2] (dkt. no. 1-1 at 6).

         On February 19, 2016, the EEOC issued a Notice of Right to Sue under the ADA to Doe. On March 17, 2016, Doe filed a complaint in the Circuit Court of Monongalia County, West Virginia. Mylan removed the case to this Court (dkt. no. 1), and filed its answer on April 27, 2016 (dkt. no. 4).

         The complaint asserted two counts against Mylan:

Count I: Failure to Reasonably Accommodate Disability in Violation of the West Virginia Human Rights Act Count II: Violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (discrimination and retaliation)
Doe sought a declaration that Mylan violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act (“WVHRA”) and the Americans with Disabilities Act

(“ADA”), and asked the Court to enjoin Mylan from discriminating based on disability. He further sought remedial relief, “including the extension of an offer of a position at [Doe's] customary rate of pay with retroactive seniority, ” as well as other compensatory damages, ...


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