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GANTHIER v. NORTH SHORE-LONG ISLAND JEWISH HEALTHY SYSTEM

January 12, 2004.

ESTHER GANTHIER, Plaintiff, -against- NORTH SHORE-LONG ISLAND JEWISH HEALTHY SYSTEM, GREYSTONE STAFFING, INC., SUSAN TOBIN, and KAREN WESTERLIND, Defendants


The opinion of the court was delivered by: ARTHUR SPATT, District Judge Page 2

MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER

The plaintiff, Esther Ganthier ("Ganthier" or the "plaintiff") commenced this action against the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System ("North Shore"), Susan Tobin ("Tobin"), GreyStone Staffing, Inc. ("GreyStone"), and Karen Westerlind ("Westerlind") (collectively, the "defendants") alleging discrimination on the basis of race and national origin, First Amendment retaliation, and conspiracy. Presently before the Court is a motion to dismiss the complaint by GreyStone and Westerlind (the "Moving Defendants") pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ("Fed.R. Civ. P") 8 and 12. Also before the Court is the plaintiff's cross-motion for leave to serve an amended complaint.

I. BACKGROUND

  1. Factual Background

  The following facts are taken from the complaint which the Court takes to be true for the purpose of this motion. On or about August 21, 2001, Westerlind, a placement consultant employed by GreyStone, a temporary staffing firm, interviewed the plaintiff for a possible job opening. On or about September 4, 2001, Westerlind assigned the plaintiff to North Shore as a temporary medical biller where the plaintiff's responsibilities were to "post cash" for Franklin Hospital. Compl. ¶ 14. The plaintiff performed her duties in a "reasonably satisfactory and professional manner," Compl. ¶ 13, and after two weeks, the responsibility of cash posting for North Shore Hospital, was added to the plaintiff's job duties. Page 3

  On or about October 24, 2001, Tobin, a supervisor at North Shore, indicated to the plaintiff that she had spoken to GreyStone and was informed that GreyStone had a new job for the plaintiff. However, the plaintiff told Tobin that she was unaware of any new employment opportunity and that she was not interested in changing jobs. Subsequently, Tobin indicated to the plaintiff that "she had spoken" with GreyStone and that the plaintiff was going to remain at North Shore. Compl. ¶ 17. On October 30, 2001, Tobin informed the plaintiff that effective November 5, 2001, the plaintiff would begin working as a data entry clerk, a position for which the plaintiff thought she was over qualified.

  Upon Tobin's advice, the plaintiff phoned GreyStone to express her concerns about the upcoming change in her employment duties. Upon hearing about the plaintiff's transfer to the data entry position, the "plaintiff's consultant at GreyStone" allegedly told the plaintiff that "GreyStone did not send [the] plaintiff to North Shore to perform [a] data entry job." Compl. ¶ 20. After this incident, the plaintiff "left North Shore," Compl. ¶ 21, though it is unclear when or why she "left" or the circumstances surrounding her departure. The plaintiff further claims that Tobin mailed, rather than faxed, her time sheets to the payroll department, resulting in a six day delay of the plaintiff's receipt of her paycheck. Page 4

  The plaintiff subsequently applied for and was denied unemployment benefits allegedly because the defendants "retaliated against her by passing on false information to the Department of Labor." Compl. ¶ 24.

  2. Procedural Background

  On or about December 4, 2001, the plaintiff filed a complaint of unlawful employment discrimination with the New York State Division of Human Rights ("NYSDHR") against the North Shore Long Island Jewish Home Health Care Network, (the "North Shore Network"), a division of North Shore. This charge was also accepted on behalf of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). On October 8, 2002, the EEOC issued a Dismissal and Notice of Rights (the "right to sue letter") which was received by the plaintiff on October 12, 2002. The plaintiff timely commenced this action on January 9, 2003 alleging that she was discriminated against on the basis of her race and national origin in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e) et seq. ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 1981 ("Section 1981") (race only), the New York State Human Rights Law, and the New York City Human Rights Law. The plaintiff also alleges that she was retaliated against because she exercised her First Amendment Rights and that the defendants conspired against her in violation of federal, New York State, and New York City Page 5 laws. On March 10, 2003, the Moving Defendants filed their respective answers in response to the allegations in the plaintiff's complaint.

  Presently before the Court is a motion to dismiss the complaint by GreyStone and Westerlind pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 8 and 12. Also before the Court is the plaintiff's cross-motion for leave to serve an amended complaint.

  II. DISCUSSION

 A. The Standard

  A motion brought to dismiss after an answer to the complaint has been served is properly designated as a motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c). Nat'l Assoc. of Pharm. Mfrs. v. Ayerst Labs, 850 F.2d 904, 909 (2d Cir. 1988). The standard for granting a Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings is identical to that of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See Murray v. Connetquot Cent. Sch. Dist., et al., 54 Fed. Appx. 18, 19 (2d Cir. 2002). Therefore, the Court must accept the allegations contained in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Id. The Court may dismiss the complaint only if "`it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove ...


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