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Kelley v. Crosfield Catalysts

135 F.3d 1202 (1998)

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Kelley v. Crosfield Catalysts

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

135 F.3d 1202 (1998)

Facts

In October 1993, Dwayne Kelley (plaintiff) received news that the Brooklyn Bureau of Child Welfare planned to take 11-year-old Shaneequa Forbes into custody. Shaneequa’s birth certificate listed Barbara and Michael Forbes as her legal parents. However, Kelley had been informed that he may be Shaneequa’s biological father. After Kelley received the custody news, he informed his employer, Crosfield Catalysts (defendant) that he would be unable to work his upcoming shift. Kelley explained that he had to travel to New York to seek custody of his daughter. Crosfield initially authorized Kelley’s leave. Kelley missed a total of four workdays while in New York. When Kelley returned to work, Crosfield terminated his employment. In response, Kelley filed a complaint, pro se, against Crosfield. Kelley argued that his termination violated the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), which authorizes leave from work because of the placement of a child, through adoption or foster care, into the employee’s custody. In the initial complaint, Kelley identified himself as Shaneequa’s biological father. Crosfield filed a motion to dismiss on the ground that Kelley had failed to state a cognizable claim because the FMLA did not cover a biological parent seeking custody of his biological child. Kelley then obtained counsel and filed an amended complaint. Kelley did not identify himself as the biological father in the second complaint. Crosfield, again, moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground that Kelley had previously admitted that he was the biological father. The district court granted the motion on the ground that Kelley’s prior pleading identified him as Shaneequa’s biological father and that seeking custody of one’s own child does not constitute adoption or foster care as intended in the FMLA. Kelley appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Flaum, J.)

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