In this case plaintiff's complaint clearly arises out of the
same transaction or series of transactions, i.e., his
difficulties at and subsequent dismissal from AECOM. Moreover,
it is also clear that an action for damages under New York's
Human Rights laws provides redress for alleged discrimination
at least as broad as that allowed under the federal civil
rights laws. See Mitchell v. Nat'l Broadcasting Co.,
553 F.2d 265, 269-70 (2d Cir. 1977); N.Y. Exec.Law §§ 296(4), 297(9).
Thus, the only issue that must be resolved is whether Justice
Turret's decision dismissing plaintiff's complaint for failure
to state a cause of action under N.Y. CPLR § 3211(a)(7) is a
dismissal on the merits under New York law.
New York courts have held that "when a complaint is dismissed
for legal insufficiency or other defect in [the] pleading, it
does not act as a bar to commencement of a new action for the
same relief unless the dismissal was expressly made on the
merits or the new complaint fails to correct the defects or
omissions fatal to the prior one." Deacon's Bench, Inc. v.
Hoffman, 101 A.D.2d 971, 972, 477 N.Y.S.2d 447, 449 (3d Dep't
1984) (citations omitted); accord 175 East 74th Corp. v.
Hartford Accident & Indem. Co., 51 N.Y.2d 585, 590 n. 1,
416 N.E.2d 584, 586 n. 1, 435 N.Y.S.2d 584, 586 n. 1 (1980); Blank
v. Miller, 122 A.D.2d 356, 358, 504 N.Y.S.2d 580, 582 (3d
Dep't 1986); Furia v. Furia, 116 A.D.2d 694, 695, 498
N YS.2d 12, 13 (2d Dep't 1986); McKinney v. City of New
York, 78 A.D.2d 884, 885, 433 N.Y.S.2d 193, 196 (2d Dep't
1980). Thus, where, as here, a New York state court dismisses
an action under N.Y. CPLR § 3211(a)(7) for failure to state a
claim and does not state that its decision was on the merits,
that judgment will only preclude actions which are brought upon
the same theories of liability or which fail to correct the
defects of the original pleading. See Plattsburgh Quarries,
Inc. v. Palcon Indus., Inc., 129 A.D.2d 844, 845-46, 513
N YS.2d 861, 862 (3d Dep't 1987).
Here, the state court dismissed plaintiff's action because
plaintiff had alleged no facts sufficient to support his claim
that the college and its officials had abused their discretion
in dismissing the plaintiff. In doing so, the state court
followed the well established New York rule that judicial
review of a university's academic decisions is limited to a
determination of whether the university has acted in a manner
that is "arbitrary and capricious, irrational, made in bad
faith or contrary to Constitution or statute." Susan M. v. New
York Law School, 76 N.Y.2d 241, 246, 556 N.E.2d 1104, 1107,
557 N.Y.S.2d 297, 300 (1990); accord Tedeschi v. Wagner
College, 49 N.Y.2d 652, 658, 404 N.E.2d 1302, 1304, 427
N YS.2d 760, 763 (1980), James v. Board of Educ. of the City
of New York, 42 N.Y.2d 357, 365, 366 N.E.2d 1291, 1297, 397
N YS.2d 934, 940-41 (1977); Chusid v. Albany Medical College
of Union University, 157 A.D.2d 1019, 550 N.Y. So.2d 507, 508
(3d Dep't 1990). This rule is based on a recognition of the
subjective nature of the academic decisions made by educators
and the New York courts' reluctance to impose strict legal
guidelines upon academic evaluations. Tedeschi, supra, 49
N Y2d at 658, 404 N.E.2d at 1304, 427 N.Y.S.2d at 763.
A claim alleging racial discrimination clearly warrants
judicial intervention under this standard. See Alevy v.
Downstate Medical Ctr., 39 N.Y.2d 326, 337, 348 N.E.2d 537,
546, 384 N.Y.S.2d 82, 91 (1976) ("[W]here benign or malign
discrimination is practiced . . . judicial vigilance and
intervention, however undesirable, are required."). Moreover,
New York courts have reviewed educators' academic decisions
where the plaintiff has alleged that the school officials
failed to adhere to the school's regulations or policies and
have therefore breached a contract entered into with the
students. See Vought v. Teachers College, Columbia Univ.,
127 A.D.2d 654, 655, 511 N.Y.S.2d 880, 881 (2d Dep't 1987).
A comparison of the federal complaint with the state complaint
demonstrates that plaintiff's complaint in this court fails to
allege any additional facts not considered by the state court
supporting plaintiff's claim that the defendants' decision to
dismiss plaintiff from AECOM was motivated by racial bias and
thus fails to correct the deficiencies noted by the state court
basis for dismissing plaintiff's prior state court action.
Indeed, the federal complaint alleges even less facts than set
forth in the state complaint. At best, the federal complaint
makes only conclusory allegations that plaintiff's rights have
It follows that the Court must conclude that plaintiff has
failed to correct the defects present in his state complaint
and that this action is barred.*fn9
For the reasons set forth above, the complaint in the
above-captioned action is dismissed. Because plaintiff has not
requested leave to amend his complaint, the complaint is
dismissed with prejudice.
It is SO ORDERED.