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SLEIGH v. CHARLEX

September 14, 2004.

KEVIN E. SLEIGH, Plaintiff,
v.
CHARLEX, INC., et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MICHAEL MUKASEY, Chief Judge, District

OPINION & ORDER

Plaintiff Kevin Sleigh sues Charlex, Inc. and several of its current and former employees*fn1 alleging discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, and religion, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e — § 2000e-17 (2000). Defendant moves to dismiss plaintiff's complaint on the ground that plaintiff's claims are time-barred. Defendant also urges dismissal due to improper service under Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Finally, defendant moves for dismissal and on the grounds that plaintiff's complaint is factually frivolous, in violation of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), and not a short and plain statement of his claim, in violation of Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Defendant's motion is granted and the complaint is dismissed with prejudice, as the court finds that plaintiff's claim is factually frivolous, and not a short and plain statement of his claim, in violation of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), respectively. I.

  The facts in plaintiff's pro se complaint are as follows: Kevin Sleigh, a self-described Caribbean-American male, began working for Charlex, Inc. in May, 1989, and remained at the company until June 1995. Compl. ¶ 5.*fn2 During his time at Charlex, plaintiff claims that other Charlex employees and supervisors discriminated against and spread false information about him on a frequent basis, both during his time at the company and after he departed, up until April 2000. Compl. ¶ 6. Plaintiff alleges that Charlex and its employees discriminated against him on the basis of race, sexuality, and religion.

  Journal.

  Plaintiff's allegations of discriminatory and objectionable treatment at Charlex, spanning more than 50 typewritten pages,*fn3 are too numerous to recount here in significant detail. In general, plaintiff claims that his Charlex co-workers and supervisors insulted and distrusted him, monitored and followed him, framed him for misdeeds he did not commit, and spread malicious and false rumors about him throughout New York City, New York State, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia.*fn4 He also alleges that Charlex paid him a lower salary than it paid other employees at his skill level, and denied him promotions that he deserved and earned. In his complaint, plaintiff provides specific examples of dozens of discriminatory and defamatory acts that Charlex employees committed against him both during his time at Charlex and after his departure.

  Plaintiff also describes numerous instances of discrimination and mistreatment at the hands of various individuals and entities unrelated to defendant. The court will not consider these allegations, as they are unconnected to the present lawsuit, except to the extent that they are evidence of the frivolous and prolix nature of plaintiff's complaint.

  II.

  This court must decide the motion to dismiss based on the facts alleged in the complaint, and these facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, here the plaintiff. Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974), overturned on other grounds by Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800 (1982); LaBounty v. Adler, 933 F.2d 121, 123 (2d Cir. 1991). Dismissal is not warranted "unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957); see also Sheppard v. Berman, 18 F.3d 147, 150 (2d Cir. 1994). "This rule applies with particular force where the plaintiff alleges civil rights violations or where the complaint is submitted pro se." Chance v. Armstrong, 143 F.3d 698, 701 (2d Cir. 1998).

  Plaintiff's pro se complaint is entitled to a close and sympathetic reading by this court, and the court need not hold plaintiff to the same technical standard that might be appropriate for a lawyer. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Riddle v. Claiborne, No. 00-1374, 2001 WL 1352456, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 2, 2001). In ruling whether or not to dismiss plaintiff's complaint, the pro se pleadings "must be read liberally and should be interpreted to `raise the strongest arguments that they suggest.'" Graham v. Henderson, 89 F.3d 75, 79 (2d Cir. 1996) (quoting Burgos v. Hopkins, 14 F.3d 787, 790 (2d Cir. 1994). Though the standard for acceptable pro se pleading is lenient, "bald assertions and conclusions of law will not suffice" to defeat a motion for dismissal. Leeds v. Meltz, 85 F.3d 51, 53 (2d. Cir. 1996). As explained below, even the most charitable reading of plaintiff's complaint cannot justify sustaining this action.

  III.

  Defendant first claims that plaintiff's action is time-barred under any applicable statute of limitations. Defendant is correct in arguing that the statutes of limitation for Title VII actions and any common law intentional tort actions have expired. However, plaintiff also has the option of proceeding under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and New York Human Rights Law, and his claims are within the applicable statute of limitations for those statutes.

  A. Title VII and Intentional Tort Claims

  Plaintiff brings his action in federal court under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e — § 2000e-17. Title VII mandates that a plaintiff must file his claim with the EEOC within 180 days "after the alleged unlawful employment practice occurred," or within 300 days after the alleged actions occurred if the plaintiff has already brought a claim with a state or local employment agency. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(1). These timing requirements function as a statute of limitations, and "discriminatory incidents not timely charged before the EEOC will be time-barred upon the plaintiff's suit in district court." Quinn v. Green Tree Credit Corp., 159 F.3d 759, 765 (2d Cir. 1998); see also Van Zant v. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, 80 F.3d 708, 712 (2d Cir. 1996).

  In this case, plaintiff filed his claim with the EEOC on October 22, 2002, seven years after his resignation from Charlex, Inc. Even were the court to consider plaintiff's unsubstantiated claim that Charlex employees continued to slander him for five years after his departure from the company, plaintiff states in his complaint that these actions ceased in April of 2000, a year and a half before plaintiff filed with the EEOC. In either situation, plaintiff's claim was filed far more than 180 days after the alleged violations. Additionally, plaintiff must file his action in federal or state court within 90 days of receiving his "right-to-sue" letter from the EEOC. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1); see Nielsen v. Flower Hosp., 639 F.Supp. 738, 740 (S.D.N.Y. 1986). Plaintiff's Title VII suit is time-barred on these grounds as well, as his complaint was filed on ...


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