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SACAY v. THE RESEARCH FOUND. OF CITY UNIV. OF NEW YORK

April 29, 1999

VALERIE SACAY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE RESEARCH FOUNDATION OF THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK, CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK, BROOKLYN COLLEGE, CHRISTINE L. PERSICO, AND MARY ROSE MORRIS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gershon, District Judge.

OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Valerie Sacay brings this action against the Research Foundation of the City University of New York, the City University of New York, Brooklyn College, Assistant Dean for Brooklyn College Christine Persico, and Director of the Office of Adult and Continuing Education at Brooklyn College Mary Rose Morris for discrimination and retaliation under the American with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101-12117; the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 701 et seq.; the New York State Human Rights Law ("NYSHRL"), Executive Law §§ 296 et seq.; the New York City Human Rights Law ("NYCHRL"), Administrative Code of the City of New York § 8-107; and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Defendants Research Foundation of the City University of New York and Mary Rose Morris move for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) on all of the claims against them, which, plaintiff clarified on oral argument, do not include those brought under Section 1983. On oral argument of the motion, the remaining defendants City University of New York, Brooklyn College, and Christine Persico requested permission to join in the motion and to rely exclusively on the arguments presented by defendants Research Foundation and Mary Rose Morris. Finally, plaintiff has requested leave to amend the complaint in the event defendants' motion is granted.

FACTS

The following facts are taken from plaintiffs complaint.

Plaintiff Valerie Sacay was hired as an administrative assistant by defendant Research Foundation of the City University of New York on May 1, 1989 to work at the Office of Adult and Community Education (now the Office of Adult and Continuing Education). Her primary responsibility was the design and production of the Adult Community Education Catalog. She was promoted to the position of Research Assistant B on July 2, 1994, which entailed the additional responsibilities of developing and upgrading a computerized registration program, creating and managing new databases, and supervising data entry personnel. Between March 1992 and December 1994, plaintiff performed some of her responsibilities from her home with the use of a computer and printer provided by defendants. Plaintiffs work at home was for the convenience of defendants, and she also worked on a flexible schedule to accommodate defendants' work demands. Complaint at ¶ 16.

In December 1994, plaintiff took sick leave from her job. Although she was using her accrued sick leave time, her supervisors, defendants Christine Persico and Mary Rose Morris, placed a number of "harassing" telephone calls to her during her leave. Plaintiff does not specify what was said during these calls, but alleges that the calls caused her blood pressure to rise to "dangerous levels," requiring her to see a cardiologist on two occasions in January 1995, and to be hospitalized for stress related chest pain. Complaint at ¶ 17.

As for her physical impairments, plaintiff lists a number of medical conditions. She was diagnosed with complex partial seizure disorder (epilepsy) in 1986, a myocardial infaraction in 1992, and degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine in 1993. Complaint at ¶ 14. In January 1995 she was diagnosed with stress-related gastritis and spastic colitis; which developed into acute irritable bowel syndrome, and in March 1995 she was diagnosed with a duodenal ulcer and acute gastritis' Complaint at ¶ 18. Plaintiff does not specify which of these stated medical conditions rises to the level of a disability under the statutes upon which she bases her present claims and requires accommodation by her employer.

While plaintiff was still out on sick leave, defendant Persico informed her on January 20, 1995 that she would not be allowed to return to her position until she met with defendants. Complaint at ¶ 19. Plaintiff notified defendants on March 17, 1995 of her intention to return to work and requested that a "meeting be held to discuss her transition back to work and her demand for reasonable accommodations." Complaint at ¶ 19.

Plaintiff alleges that she, was "medically ready" to return to work as of May 1, 1995, but a meeting to discuss her return was not held until May 24, 1995. Complaint at ¶ 19. In support of her ability to return to Work, plaintiff faxed a letter on April 11, 1995 from Dr. Bernard B. Yonk, her gastroenterologist, to the Office of Adult and Continuing Education and to the Research Foundation. The letter indicated that plaintiff would be able to return to work on May 1, 1995 on a schedule of 15 hours per week initially, and increasing by five hour increments each week until she was eventually able to, resume a full-time schedule. Complaint at ¶ 20. She also informed her of her ability to resume her responsibilities with reasonable accommodations such as working from home, on a computer and/or the use of flexible hours. Complaint at ¶ 21.

Plaintiff filed a complaint with the EEOC on July 11, 1995 and obtained a right to sue letter. She filed this action on July 14, 1997.

DISCUSSION

Standard of Review

"Judgment on the pleadings is appropriate where material facts are undisputed and where a judgment on the merits is possible merely by considering the contents of the pleadings." Sellers v. M. C. Floor Crafters Inc., 842 F.2d 639, 642 (2d Cir. 1988). The standard of review for a motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) is the same as for a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), See Sheppard v. Beerman, 18 F.3d 147, 150 (2d Cir. 1994). Accordingly, a court must accept the factual allegations contained in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-movant. See Walker v. City of New York, 974 F.2d 293, 298 (2d Cir. 1992). A court may consider the factual allegations and attached exhibits in the plaintiffs complaint, statements or documents incorporated by reference in the pleadings, matters subject to judicial notice, and documents that were relied upon by the non-movant when bringing the action. See Brass v. American Film Technologies, Inc., 987 F.2d 142, 150 (2d Cir. 1993). A ...


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