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United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
February 16, 2021, Decided; February 16, 2021, Filed
CIVIL ACTION NO. 20-4651
MEMORANDUM RE MOTION TO DISMISS
Plaintiff Anthony Payne brings this case against his employer after having been fired for refusing to return to work. At the time, Payne was under instructions to remain in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19. Defendants filed the present Motion to Dismiss, seeking dismissal of Payne's Complaint in its entirety. For the reasons that follow, Defendants' Motion will be granted in part, and denied in part.
II. Facts and Procedural History
Based on the allegations in Plaintiff Anthony Payne's First Amended Complaint (ECF 5, Compl.) which this Court must accept as true for purposes of Defendants' Motion to [*2] Dismiss, the relevant facts are as follows. Defendants Woods Services, Inc. and Woods Services Medical Practice Group, LLC are "corporation[s] providing integrated health care services and advocacy for children and adults with disabilities." Compl. ¶ 6-7. Abraham Kamara was employed as a Residential Director by Woods Services. Compl. ¶ 9. John Does 1-5 and 6-10 "are individuals and/or entities who, on the basis of their direct acts or on the basis of respondeat superior, are answerable to the plaintiff in this matter." Compl. ¶ 10. Plaintiff Anthony Payne was employed as a Residential Counselor by Defendants at their Langhore, PA facility. Compl. ¶ 11.
On April 1, 2020, six patients at the Langhorne facility, all of whom Plaintiff had worked with directly, tested positive for COVID-19. Compl. ¶ 14-15. Plaintiff discussed this exposure with his doctor who advised him to get tested and quarantine for fourteen days. Compl. ¶ 16. Plaintiff notified Defendants of his doctor's advice. Compl. ¶ 17. On April 6, 2020, Plaintiff was tested for COVID-19 at work, and the following day a nurse notified Plaintiff that he had tested positive. Compl. ¶ 18-19. The nurse directed Plaintiff to quarantine [*3] for fourteen days. Compl. ¶ 19. Six days later, on April 13, 2020, Kamara told Plaintiff he had been cleared and should return to work. Compl. ¶ 20. Plaintiff responded that he could not return to work because he had not completed his quarantine. Compl. ¶ 21. Kamara responded that if he did not return, his absence would be considered a "call-out," and Plaintiff again reiterated the advice of the nurse and referenced guidance from the Centers for Disease Control. Compl. ¶ 22-23. The following day, Plaintiff did not return to work and Kamara fired him. Compl. ¶ 24-25.
Plaintiff filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission ("PHRC"). Compl. ¶ 4. The EEOC issued a "right to sue" notice on September 29, 2020. Id. On September 22, 2020, Plaintiff filed this lawsuit. See ECF 1. His Amended Complaint alleges thirteen counts against Defendants:
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2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28198 *; 2021 WL 603725
ANTHONY PAYNE v. WOODS SERVICES, INC., WOODS SERVICES MEDICAL PRACTICE GROUP, LLC, ABRAHAM KAMARA, and JOHN DOES 1-5 AND 6-10
disability, impairment, healthcare provider, public body, Retaliation, includes, retaliation claim, motion to dismiss, certification, allegations, Counts, argues, fired, major life activity, transitory, notice, reasonable accommodation, April Rule, quarantine, quotation, responded, funded, dismissal without prejudice, diagnosis, employees, Abetting, purposes, cure