United States District Court, Northern District of New York
December 17, 1999
THERESA GREGORY, PLAINTIFF,
EDWARD J. DALY, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS CAPACITY AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY ACTION AGENCY OF GREENE COUNTY, INC.; AND COMMUNITY ACTION OF GREENE COUNTY, INC., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kahn, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM — DECISION AND ORDER
This is a case alleging sexual harassment in violation of Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"),
42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., and the New York State Human Rights Law, New
York Executive Law, § 290 et seq. Presently before the Court is
Defendants' motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1)
and (6). For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion is
Defendant Community Action Agency of Greene County, Inc.
employed Plaintiff, most recently as Education Coordinator.
Defendant Daly served as executive director of the Head Start
program beginning in September 1996. According to the Complaint,
defendant Daly made demeaning comments about women, among other
An action alleging age and gender discrimination against these
Defendants is currently pending in state court.
A. Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss
A motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) may be granted
only if "it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no
set of facts in support of [its] claim which would entitle [it]
to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99,
2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957); see Dangler v. New York City Off Track
Betting Corp., 193 F.3d 130, 138 (2d Cir. 1999). In deciding a
motion to dismiss, the Court considers all facts alleged in the
complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See id.
"The court's function on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is not to weigh
the evidence that might be presented at a trial but merely to
determine whether the complaint itself is legally sufficient."
Goldman v. Belden,
754 F.2d 1059, 1067 (2d Cir. 1985). Therefore, "this court must
accept the factual allegations of the complaint as true and must
draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff." Brown
v. Coach Stores, Inc., 163 F.3d 706, 709 (2d Cir. 1998)
(internal citations omitted). "The issue is not whether a
plaintiff is likely to prevail ultimately, but whether the
claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims.
Indeed it may appear on the face of the pleading that a recovery
is very remote and unlikely but that is not the test." Gant, et
al. v. Wallingford Bd. of Educ., et al., 69 F.3d 669, 673 (2d
Cir. 1995) (internal citations omitted).
As the Second Circuit observed, a complaint "consisting of
nothing more than naked assertions, and setting forth no facts
upon which a Court could find a violation of the Civil Rights
Act, fails to state a claim under 12(b)(6)." See Martin v. New
York State Dep't of Mental Hygiene, 588 F.2d 371, 372 (2d Cir.
1978). Here, Plaintiff's complaint is rife with accusations of
"demeaning" comments. Plaintiff alleges nothing more about the
facts and circumstances surrounding the purported harassment.
The Supreme Court has established a non-exclusive list of
factors relevant in determining whether a given workplace is
permeated with discrimination so "severe or pervasive" as to
support a Title VII claim. See Harris v. Forklift Systems,
510 U.S. 17, 114 S.Ct. 367, 126 L.Ed.2d 295 (1993). These include (1)
the frequency of the discriminatory conduct; (2) its severity;
(3) whether the conduct was physically threatening or
humiliating, or a "mere offensive utterance;" (4) whether the
conduct unreasonably interfered with plaintiff's work; and (5)
what psychological harm, if any, resulted. See id. at 23, 114
S.Ct. 367. Plaintiff's complaint fails to address all of these
factors. Defendant Daly's statement that she should "get on board
or quit" alone will not support a Title VII claim despite her
characterization of it as a "quid pro quo" demand. Defendants'
explanation that Daly's comments regarding sexual abuse in
children could have taken place in the context of their positions
as caregivers. The Complaint here contains only conclusory
allegations in support of Plaintiffs claims under Title VII and
New York State law. Plaintiff must cite specific examples of
demeaning comments about women, sexual references, and unwelcome
B. Rule 12(b)(1) Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiff currently a case in pending state court against
Defendants alleging gender and age discrimination. Plaintiff
distinguishes the two cases by arguing that the state action
raises issues of intentional infliction of emotional distress,
loss of consortium, and assault and battery. Given the decision
above, the Court need not reach this issue.
Accordingly, it is hereby
ORDERED that Defendants' motion to dismiss pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) is GRANTED and the case DISMISSED in its
entirety; and it is
FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of the Court serve a copy of
this order on all parties by regular mail.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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