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Ramos v. Valmont Industries, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Nebraska

November 8, 2018

JONATHAN F. RAMOS, Plaintiff,
v.
VALMONT INDUSTRIES, INC., and JOHN W. SMITH, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Richard G. Kopf, Senior United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Jonathan F. Ramos filed his Complaint on July 3, 2018. (Filing No. 1.) He has been given leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Filing No. 5.) The court now conducts an initial review of Plaintiff's Complaint to determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). In conducting this initial review, the court will consider the various correspondence filed by Plaintiff (filing nos. 7-10) as supplemental to the original Complaint. See NECivR 15.1.

         I. SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT

         Plaintiff filed this action against Valmont Industries, Inc. (“Valmont”) and John W. Smith (“Smith”), legal counsel for Valmont, alleging an employment discrimination claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 to 12117. Plaintiff alleges he was employed as a welder by Valmont in Texas from 2014 to 2015 and was provided an American Sign Language interpreter and subtitle closed captioning for his orientation because he is deaf, “unable to read lips and [his] first language is American Sign Language and [his] second is written English.” (Filing No. 8.) In June 2015, Plaintiff transferred to Valmont in Columbus, Nebraska, and he was not provided an interpreter until December 2015 through August 2016. Plaintiff alleges he was terminated in August 2016 in “retaliation because of [his] hearing disability.” (Id.) Liberally construed, Plaintiff alleges Valmont failed to accommodate his disability and failed “to supply [him] information in a way that [he] can understand and do [his] job safely and correctly.” (Id.; see also Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 4.)

         As relief, Plaintiff seeks to have Valmont amend his employment records to show that he “quit” as opposed to being terminated and to remove certain false write-ups from his records. (Filing No. 7.) Plaintiff also seeks a “new job” as he is unable to find a job due to the damage to his career as a welder and $10, 000.00 in damages. (Id.)

         II. APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS ON INITIAL REVIEW

         The court is required to review in forma pauperis complaints to determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). The court must dismiss a complaint or any portion of it that states a frivolous or malicious claim, that fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         Pro se plaintiffs must set forth enough factual allegations to “nudge[] their claims across the line from conceivable to plausible, ” or “their complaint must be dismissed.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 569-70 (2007); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“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 the misconduct alleged.”).

         “The essential function of a complaint under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is to give the opposing party ‘fair notice of the nature and basis or grounds for a claim, and a general indication of the type of litigation involved.'” Topchian v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., 760 F.3d 843, 848 (8th Cir. 2014) (quoting Hopkins v. Saunders, 199 F.3d 968, 973 (8th Cir. 1999)). However, “[a] pro se complaint must be liberally construed, and pro se litigants are held to a lesser pleading standard than other parties.” Topchian, 760 F.3d at 849 (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).

         III. DISCUSSION OF CLAIMS

         Liberally construed, Plaintiff brings three claims under the ADA, alleging Valmont wrongfully discharged him on account of his hearing disability, failed to provide him a reasonable accommodation, and retaliated against him. As set forth in the ADA:

No covered entity shall discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability because of the disability of such individual in regard to job application procedures, the hiring, advancement, or discharge of employees, employee compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.

42 U.S.C. § 12112(a).

         A. ...


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