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Vaello-Carmona v. Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

March 17, 2015

JORGE L. VAELLO-CARMONA, Plaintiff, LEYDA JEANNETTE MARQUEZ-NAVARRO; ESTATE OF JORGE L. VAELLO-CARMONA; NICHOLE JEANNETTE VAELLO-MARQUEZ; JORGE LUIS VAELLO-MARQUEZ, Petitioners, Appellants,
v.
SIEMENS MEDICAL SOLUTIONS USA, INC., Defendant, Appellee

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF PUERTO RICO. Hon. Jay A. García-Gregory, U.S. District Judge.

Bá mily López Ortiz, with whom Lopez Toro was on brief, for appellants.

Anita Montaner-Sevillano, with whom Patricia M. Marvez-Valiente and McConnell Valdé s LLC were on brief, for appellee.

Before Howard, Selya, and Lipez, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 2

LIPEZ, Circuit Judge.

Leyda Jeannette Marquez-Navarro, Nichole Jeannette Vaello-Marquez, Jorge Luis Vaello-Marquez, and the Estate of Jorge L. Vaello-Carmona (collectively, " appellants" ) appeal the district court's denial of their motion to substitute themselves as plaintiffs in this case after the death of plaintiff Jorge L. Vaello-Carmona.[1] The district court ruled that Vaello-Carmona's employment discrimination claims against defendant Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc. (" Siemens" ) were not inheritable and dismissed the case for failure to state a claim.

We agree with appellants that causes of action under Puerto Rico Law 100, P.R. Laws Ann. tit. 29, § 146 (the general employment discrimination statute), Puerto Rico Law 44, P.R. Laws Ann. tit. 1, § 505 (the employment disability discrimination statute), and Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (" ADA" ), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., are inheritable under Puerto Rico law. Hence, we vacate the district court's judgment.

I.

Because this case was dismissed below for failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), we recite the facts as alleged in the complaint. Medina-Velá zquez v. Hernández-Gregorat, 767 F.3d 103, 105 (1st Cir. 2014).

Vaello-Carmona was an engineer who had worked in various positions for Siemens since 1991. Siemens is one of the world's largest providers of healthcare products and services. In January 2008, Vaello-Carmona was promoted to Branch Manager, the highest position available at Siemens in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. In June 2008, Vaello-Carmona suffered a stroke, which required intensive medical treatment and significantly affected his speech and mobility. Despite his disability, Vaello-Carmona continued to work diligently for Siemens. His sales from December 2008 to September 2009 exceeded the yearly averages in the market by twenty-five percent and gave Siemens its highest yearly volume of sales in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.

On October 13, 2009, Vaello-Carmona was asked to meet with his supervisor Charles Wood, the Regional Vice President for Sales, to conduct his performance evaluation for the fiscal year ending on September 30, 2009. Before Vaello-Carmona was able to enter the Siemens office that morning, Wood entered his vehicle in the parking lot and informed Vaello-Carmona that he was fired, effective immediately. On October 16, 2009, Vaello-Carmona received a letter from Siemens confirming his dismissal. The letter stated that Vaello-Carmona had been laid off due to a significant decline in the market. After his termination, Vaello-Carmona's physical and mental health deteriorated further, leaving him totally disabled at forty-six years old. On February 23, 2010, Vaello-Carmona began receiving Social Security benefits.

On March 24, 2010, Siemens notified Vaello-Carmona that the company was going to start ...


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