Citing Factual Issues, Court Declines to Dismiss ADA Failure to Accommodate Claim on the Pleadings

In Torres v. New York City Dept. of Education, 18-cv-2156, 2019 WL 2124891 (E.D.N.Y. May 15, 2019), the court, inter alia, denied defendant’s motion for dismissal on the pleadings (under FRCP 12(c)) of plaintiff’s failure to accommodate claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The court summarized the law as follows:

An employer is liable for a failure to accommodate if: (1) [the] plaintiff is a person with a disability under the meaning of the [applicable statute]; (2) an employer covered by the statute had notice of his disability; (3) with reasonable accommodation, plaintiff could perform the essential functions of the job at issue; and (4) the employer has refused to make such accommodations.

Defendant argued that the defendant’s approval of Plaintiff’s medical leave of absence demonstrates that the it did not, in fact, fail to accommodate Plaintiff; plaintiff responded that he alleged that he sought a transfer, and that while it was initially granted, it was thereafter denied with no legitimate business reason.

The court declined to determine whether the denial of plaintiff’s transfer request was reasonable, and noted the Second Circuit’s recognition “that, in the context of a motion[] on the pleadings, [w]hile there may be claims requesting [accommodation] under the ADA that warrant dismissal as unreasonable as a matter of law, many cases require ‘a fact-specific inquiry,’ and are therefore not properly disposed of at the pleading stage.”

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