United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Columbus Division
KELI D. KASSA, Plaintiff,
LIFEPOINT HEALTH, INC., Defendant.
D. LAND CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
Keli Kassa worked for St. Francis Hospital in Columbus,
Georgia. She brought this action against the hospital's
parent corporation, LifePoint Health, Inc., claiming age
discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
(“ADEA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 621-634, and
disability discrimination under the Americans with
Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101
et seq. LifePoint Health, Inc. filed a motion to
dismiss, arguing that Kassa did not timely file her Complaint
in this action. For the reasons set forth below, LifePoint
Health Inc.'s motion (ECF No. 7) is granted.
the ADEA and the ADA require plaintiffs to exhaust
administrative remedies by filing a charge of discrimination
with the appropriate administrative agency before filing
suit. 29 U.S.C. § 626(d)(1); 42 U.S.C. § 12117(a);
(stating the procedures set forth in 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5
apply in employment actions under the ADA); 42 U.S.C. §
2000e-5. If the administrative agency dismisses the charge or
otherwise terminates the proceedings, the agency must send
the plaintiff notice of that decision; once the plaintiff
receives that notice, she may file a civil action within
ninety days. 29 U.S.C. § 626(e); 42 U.S.C. §
2000e-5(f)(1). “Dismissal is appropriate when the
plaintiff fails to file her lawsuit within 90 days of
receiving a right-to-sue letter, unless she shows that the
delay was through no fault of her own.” Bryant v.
U.S. Steel Corp., 428 F. App'x 895, 897 (11th Cir.
2011) (per curiam). “Once the defendant contests the
issue, the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that
she filed her claim within 90 days of receiving the
asserts that she brought this action within ninety days after
receiving a right-to-sue letter from the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). She filed a
charge of discrimination with the EEOC on June 23, 2016,
alleging that she was suspended and terminated from her job
because of her age and disability in January 2016. Compl.
¶ 5, ECF No. 1; Compl. Ex. A, June 2016 EEOC Charge, ECF
No. 1-1. Kassa named LifePoint Health, Inc. as her employer
with a street address of 2122 Manchester Expressway in
Columbus, Georgia and an alternate address of 330 Seven
Springs Way in Brentwood, Tennessee. June 2016 EEOC Charge.
Kassa received a right-to-sue letter on July 25, 2016. Compl.
¶ 6; Compl. Ex. B, July 2016 Right-to-Sue Letter, ECF
No. 1-2. She filed this action within ninety days, on October
13, 2016. Based on these facts, standing alone, Kassa's
present action would be timely. But that is not the end of
Health, Inc. argues that this action is untimely because
Kassa previously filed an EEOC charge regarding her
suspension and termination, received a right-to-sue letter,
and filed a civil action in this Court but dismissed it
without prejudice. All of the records relating to the prior
EEOC charge, prior right-to-sue letter, and prior action were
filed in this Court, and the Court “may take judicial
notice of its own records.” Solis v. Glob.
Acceptance Credit Co., L.P., 601 F. App'x 767, 771
(11th Cir. 2015) (per curiam) (quoting United States v.
Rey, 811 F.2d 1453, 1457 n.5 (11th Cir. 1987)).
filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC on February
26, 2016, alleging that she was suspended and terminated from
her job because of her age and disability in January 2016.
4:16-cv-192 Compl. Ex. A, Feb. 2016 EEOC Charge, ECF No. 1-1
in 4:16-cv-192. Kassa named “LifePoint Health” as
her employer with a street address of 2122 Manchester
Expressway in Columbus, Georgia. Feb. 2016 EEOC Charge. The
only difference between Kassa's February 2016 EEOC charge
and her June 2016 charge is that she named “LifePoint
Health” instead of “LifePoint Health, Inc.”
in February and she only provided the 2122 Manchester
Expressway address. Kassa received a right-to-sue letter on
March 17, 2016. 4:16-cv-192 Compl. ¶ 6, ECF No. 1 in
4:16-cv-192. She filed her prior action on June 8, 2016; that
action was against “LifePoint Health Solutions,
LLC.” At some point, Kassa learned that LifePoint
Health Solutions, LLC is not the parent company of St.
Francis Hospital. Instead of seeking to amend her Complaint
to add LifePoint Health, Inc., Kassa filed a notice of
voluntary dismissal on June 20, 2016.
Health, Inc. argues that the Court should disregard the
second EEOC charge as an improper attempt to restart the
90-day clock for filing Kassa's lawsuit. Kassa, on the
other hand, contends that the Court should disregard her
first EEOC charge and right-to-sue letter because she named
“LifePoint Health” and not “LifePoint
Health, Inc.” in her original EEOC charge. Kassa
contends that these are completely different entities and
that LifePoint Health Inc. was not named in the first EEOC
charge. Kassa did not name LifePoint Health Solutions, LLC in
either EEOC charge.
Court finds Kassa's argument to be unpersuasive. In both
EEOC charges, Kassa states that she worked for St. Francis
Hospital and that an entity called LifePoint Health (or
LifePoint Health, Inc.) acquired St. Francis shortly before
her termination. And in both her Complaints, it is clear that
Kassa intends to bring suit against the LifePoint Health that
acquired St. Francis Hospital. Thus, the Court finds that
“LifePoint Health” named in the first EEOC charge
is the same entity as “LifePoint Health, Inc.”
named in the second EEOC charge.
second EEOC charge is based on the exact same facts as her
first EEOC charge. Both right-to-sue letters are likewise
based on the same facts. The Court agrees with the rationale
of Soso Liang Lo v. Pan Am. World Airways, Inc., 787
F.2d 827, 828 (2d Cir. 1986) (per curiam) and finds that
under the circumstances presented here, the question whether
Kassa's present action is time-barred “must be
determined with reference to only the first Notice of Right
to Sue.” Id. “Otherwise, the time
limitations of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1) [and 29 U.S.C.
§ 626(e)] would be meaningless, because potential . . .
plaintiffs could evade those requirements simply by seeking
additional Notices of Right to Sue whenever they
pleased.” Id. Here, Kassa did not file this
action within ninety days after receiving the right-to-sue
letter following her February 2016 EEOC charge. This action
is therefore time-barred.
discussed above, LifePoint Health Inc.'s motion to