United States District Court, D. Delaware
STEFANIE D. MASON, Plaintiff,
STATE OF DELAWARE (J.P. COURT), et al., Defendants.
Stefanie D. Mason, Newark, Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.
Clement Handlon, Deputy Attorney General, and Adria Benner
Martinelli, Deputy Attorney General, Delaware Department of
Justice, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Defendants.
U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
Stefanie D. Mason ("Plaintiff) filed this action
alleging employment discrimination by reason of a disability.
(D.I. 2) She proceeds pro se. The Court has
jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Plaintiff
filed a Second Amended Complaint following dismissal of the
original Complaint and the Amended Complaint. (D.I. 29, 30,
32) Presently before the Court is Defendants' motion to
dismiss and Plaintiffs opposition. (D.I. 35, 38)
Second Amended Complaint contains the following allegations.
(D.I. 32) Plaintiff began her employment with Defendant State
of Delaware Justice of the Peace Court ("JP Court")
in May 2004 as a judicial case processor I. A member of the
United States Army Reserve, Plaintiff was deployed in
September 2004, March 2007, and October 2009. In each
instance she returned to her employment with the JP Court.
During her last deployment, Plaintiff was seriously injured
and hospitalized from April 2010 until February 2013. Upon
her discharge from the hospital, Plaintiff was medically
retired from the military.
2013, Plaintiff sought to return to work and requested
information from Defendant HR Manager Debbie Manelski
("Manelski") about an ADA accommodation. Plaintiff
met with Manelski in June 2013 to fill out paperwork; she
then returned to work in June, was transferred to the
voluntary assessment center, and promoted to judicial case
processor II. She was given the tasks of opening mail and
adding payments into the system, tasks she performed from
June 2013 to February 6, 2015.
July 2013 and December 2014, Plaintiff contacted Defendant
supervisor Jeannie Kruiser ("Kruiser") "to
have additional work as the other employees." (D.I. 32
at ¶ 15) Plaintiff filed an EEOC complaint on December
18, 2014 and alleges that she informed Manelski and Defendant
Michael Oliver ("Oliver") about the complaint on
December 19, 2014.
alleges that she was forced to have weekly ADA meetings from
March 2015 until July 1, 2015, and during the ADA meetings
she received verbal and written reprimands. Plaintiff alleges
that when she met with Oliver, Manelski, and Defendant Mark
Hitch ("Hitch") on April 17, 2015, she told them
she found the meeting offensive. On June 26, 2015, Plaintiff
told Hitch and Defendant Supervisor Staci Dutton
("Dutton") that she wanted to stop the meeting
because she found the ADA meetings offensive.
alleges that during the July 1, 2015 ADA meeting, Hitch
pinned her between the door and doorframe. Exhibits submitted
by Plaintiff include a transcript of the July 1, 2015 meeting
between Plaintiff and Hitch when Hitch counselled Plaintiff
on failing to follow directions of her supervisor and
Plaintiffs ADA accommodation was discussed. (D.I. 33 at Ex.
28 at 1-5) Plaintiff threatened to "jump out this
¶¶ building and kill myself, because I deserve to
die." (Id. at 8) On the same day, Defendant HR
assistant Patty Moore ("Moore") told Plaintiff to
go to the Employee Assistant Program for evaluation by a
social worker before returning to work. That day she was
placed on paid leave, pending a fitness for duty evaluation.
(D.I. 36 at Ex. 68)
alleges that from July 2015 to March 2016,  Moore "kept
on forcing" Plaintiff take short term disability, but
Hartford (the insurer) kept denying the claim. In October
2015, Plaintiff engaged in unsuccessful EEOC mediation. On
November 4, 2015, Plaintiff was advised that if Moore did not
receive Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") paperwork
or disability approval, she would be placed on unpaid status
effective November 10, 2015. (D.I. 36 at Ex. 68) Plaintiff
alleges that on December 9, 2015, she filed a request for
review before the Delaware Merit Board. Plaintiff filed for
workers' compensation in December 2015. She alleges that
Moore never submitted the paperwork for Plaintiff to receive
January 29, 2016, Moore advised Plaintiff that she was
considered to have abandoned her job because the JP Court had
not received FMLA paperwork and disability had not been
approved; the JP Court was recommending Plaintiffs dismissal
from employment. (D.I. 36 at Ex. 68) Plaintiff was advised
that she was entitled to a pre-decision meeting.
(Id.) A pre-decision meeting was scheduled for
February 22, 2016, upon Plaintiffs request. (Id. at
Ex. 70) Plaintiff did not attend the meeting but sent a
letter for review. (Id.) A March 4, 2016 letter
advised Plaintiff of her dismissal, effective March 5, 2016.
(Id.) Plaintiff alleges that the JP Court would not
allow her to take workers' compensation and, as a result,
her employment was terminated in March 2016 on the grounds
that she had abandoned her job.
filed a charge of discrimination on December 18, 2014,
alleging discrimination by reason of disability, No.
17C-2014-00762, and then filed a charge of discrimination
alleging retaliation after her employer the State of Delaware
Justice of the Peace Court received notification of the
charge in February 2015, Charge No. 530-2015-03643. Charge
No. 530-2015-03643 is not dated, but it appears to have been
filed sometime after July 2, 2015. (See D.I. 35 at
9-10) Plaintiff commenced this action on December 22, 2015.
(D.I. 2) On August 15, 2017, Plaintiff filed two right to sue
letters, both dated July 27, 2017, for EEOC Charge Nos.
17C-2014-00762 and 530-2015-03643. (D.I. 27)
Second Amended Complaint asserts: (1) employment
discrimination under Tide VII ("Tide VII"), 42
U.S.C. § 2OOOe et seq.; (2) employment
discrimination and retaliation in violation of Tides I and V
of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42
U.S.C. § 12101, et seq.; (3) violations of the
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of
1994 ("USERRA"), 38 U.S.C. §§ 4301-4335;
and (4) Delaware Merit Rules claims. (See D.I. 32)
Plaintiff alleges that the discriminatory acts occurred from
June 2013 through March 2016, when her employment was
terminated. (See id.) Counts One, Three, Five, and
Six are raised against Kruiser, Manelski, Oliver, Hitch,
Dutton, Moore, and the JP Court and allege unfair treatment,
retaliation, denial of employment benefits, and the
termination of "Plaintiffs employment was the result of
disability discrimination in violation of Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities
Act of 1990,  and Delaware Merit Rules." Count Two is
raised against an unnamed assistant personnel director and
employee benefits representative and alleges Plaintiffs loss
of pension "was the result of military service
discrimination in violation of USERRA, 38 U.S.C. § 4301
et seq., 20 C.F.R. Part 102, and Delaware Merit
Rules. Count Four is raised against Hitch and Moore and
alleges offensive touching in violation of Title
and Delaware Merit Rules.Plaintiff seeks lost wages and
compensatory and punitive damages.
move for dismissal on the following grounds: (1) the Second
Amended Complaint is devoid of a single allegation
implicating discrimination based upon a category protected by
Title VII; (2) the ADA claims should be dismissed as a matter
of law; and (3) the Court lacks jurisdiction to hear the
USERRA claim against the state, the USERRA claims against the