White v. UT Sw. Med. Ctr.

Decision Date28 December 2022
Docket NumberCivil Action 3:22-CV-1386-D
PartiesJONATHAN M. WHITE, Plaintiff, v. UT SOUTHWESTERN MEDICAL CENTER, Defendant.
CourtU.S. District Court — Northern District of Texas

JONATHAN M. WHITE, Plaintiff,
v.
UT SOUTHWESTERN MEDICAL CENTER, Defendant.

Civil Action No. 3:22-CV-1386-D

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

December 28, 2022


MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

SIDNEY A. FITZWATER, SENIOR JUDGE.

Plaintiff Jonathan M. White (“White”) brings this pro se action against defendant The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (“UT Southwestern”), alleging claims under Titles I, II, III, IV, and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.; the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution; and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794.[1] UT Southwestern moves to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted. For the reasons that follow, the court grants UT Southwestern's motion but also grants White leave to replead.

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I

White was formerly employed by UT Southwestern for approximately six months in 2017 as an administrative assistant.[2] During his tenure, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. White was approved for emergency leave for the period of October 26, 2017 through November 30, 2017. While White was on leave, UT Southwestern contacted him to determine his return-to-work date, which had not been included on his accommodation request form. White did not respond to these inquiries and was subsequently terminated by UT Southwestern on November 10, 2017, while he was seeking treatment for his disability, because of his inability and unavailability to work.

White filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) on November 20, 2018, and was issued a Notice of Right to Sue on March 29, 2022. White then filed the current lawsuit alleging disability discrimination, in violation of Titles I, II, III, IV, and V of the ADA, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

UT Southwestern contends that White's claims under Titles I and V of the ADA are barred by sovereign immunity and, consequently, that the court lacks subject matter

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jurisdiction to adjudicate these claims. UT Southwestern maintains that White's claims under Titles II, III and IV of the ADA, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Rehabilitation Act must be dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. White opposes the motion,[3] which the court is deciding on the briefs that are properly on file.[4]

II

The court begins by setting out the standards that apply when deciding UT Southwestern's motion to dismiss.

“Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, and absent jurisdiction conferred by statute, lack the power to adjudicate claims.” Stockman v. Fed. Election Comm'n, 138 F.3d 144, 151 (5th Cir. 1998) (citing Veldhoen v. United States Coast Guard, 35 F.3d 222, 225 (5th Cir. 1994)). A Rule 12(b)(1) motion can mount either a facial or factual challenge. See, e.g., Hunter v. Branch Banking & Tr. Co., 2013 WL 607151, at *2 (N.D. Tex. Feb. 19, 2013)

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(Fitzwater, C.J.) (citing Paterson v. Weinberger, 644 F.2d 521, 523 (5th Cir. 1981)). When a party makes a Rule 12(b)(1) motion without including evidence, the challenge to subject matter jurisdiction is facial. Id. The court assesses a facial challenge as it does a Rule 12(b)(6) motion in that it “looks only at the sufficiency of the allegations in the pleading and assumes them to be true. If the allegations are sufficient to allege jurisdiction, the court must deny the motion.” Id. (citing Paterson, 644 F.2d at 523). “The burden of proof for a Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss is on the party asserting jurisdiction. Accordingly, the plaintiff constantly bears the burden of proof that jurisdiction does in fact exist.” Ramming v. United States, 281 F.3d 158, 161 (5th Cir. 2001) (per curiam) (citations omitted).

In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court evaluates the sufficiency of the plaintiff's complaint “by ‘accepting all well-pleaded facts as true, viewing them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.'” Bramlett v. Med. Protective Co. of Fort Wayne, Ind., 855 F.Supp.2d 615, 618 (N.D. Tex. 2012) (Fitzwater, C.J.) (alterations adopted) (quoting in re Katrina Canal Breaches Litig., 495 F.3d 191, 205 (5th Cir. 2007)). “The court's review [of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion] is limited to the complaint, any documents attached to the complaint, and any documents attached to the motion to dismiss that are central to the claim and referenced by the complaint.” Lone Star Fund V (U.S.), L.P. v. Barclays Bank PLC, 594 F.3d 383, 387 (5th Cir. 2010) (citation omitted).[5] To survive UT Southwestern's Rule 12(b)(6)

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motion, White's complaint must allege “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for...

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