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SCHIAPPA v. BROOKHAVEN SCIENCE ASSOCIATES

December 12, 2005.

DANIEL A. SCHIAPPA, SR., Plaintiff,
v.
BROOKHAVEN SCIENCE ASSOCIATES, LLC, Defendant.



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

MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER

This is a case brought by Daniel A. Schiappa, Sr. ("Schiappa" or the "Plaintiff") against his former employer the Brookhaven Science Associates, LLC ("BSA" or the "Defendant") alleging employment discrimination based on age and disability. Schiappa contends that this discrimination resulted in a hostile work environment, wrongful termination, and refusal to rehire. Presently before the Court is a motion pursuant to Federal Rule Civil Procedure 12(c) for partial judgment on the pleadings.

I. BACKGROUND

  According to the amended complaint, filed on March 14, 2005, Schiappa was employed by BSA as technician in the Technical Support Group of the Magnet Division at Brookhaven National Laboratory ("BNL"). The BNL is a research facility that has been operated by BSA since March 1, 1998, pursuant to a contract between the BSA and the United States Department of Energy ("DOE"). The amended complaint alleges that BSA is a corporation formed by the State University of New York at Stony Brook and "Battelle" to operate the laboratory. However, the answer denies this allegation and states that BSA is a private, not-for-profit, limited liability company organized under the laws of the state of Delaware.

  Schiappa was born on June 6, 1947, and commenced employment at the BNL in 1981 and continued working there for approximately twenty-two years. According to the amended complaint, beginning in 1999, Schiappa and other "disabled and older employees" were subjected to both harsher and unsafe working conditions as compared to younger and healthier workers. Such harsh treatment included segregating older and injured employees and placing them in jobs which were substantially more strenuous, unpleasant, and dangerous. As a result, it is alleged that the older and injured employees were subjected to hazardous and debilitating conditions such as extreme heat and cold, danger of electrocution, and exposure to radioactivity, without being provided proper equipment, protection or monitoring.

  The Plaintiff further alleges that he, along with other employees, complained about these dangerous conditions, but that they were ignored and retaliated against. As a result, the Plaintiff states that many workers were injured, forced to quit, or fired. The Plaintiff was allegedly injured twice due to the unsafe working conditions. In December 2001 and May 2003, Schiappa injured his back on the job and sustained injuries including herniation, stenosis, hypertrophy, and a bulging disc, that resulted in substantial pain and loss of movement and strength.

  According to the amended complaint, not only were there unsafe working conditions for older and injured employees, but the safety issues extended beyond the boundaries of the BNL. In one instance, the Plaintiff alleges that the Defendant knowingly permitted radioactive materials to be unsafely shipped by truck across the country, and, as a result, radioactive materials spilled out of the truck over wide public areas.

  In January 2003 the Plaintiff received a poor performance evaluation, which he informally protested. On July 11, 2003, the plaintiff received a notice that he was being terminated. At the time of the termination notice, the Plaintiff claims that he had the most seniority and was one of the oldest employees in his group. Shortly after receiving the notice, the Plaintiff applied for and was denied a different position. On July 31, 2003, he was terminated from his employment at BSA. In October 2003, Schiappa applied for and was denied another position at BSA.

  In this lawsuit Schiappa contends that he was unlawfully subjected to a hostile work environment, terminated from his employment, and not rehired based on retaliation, age, and disability. Schiappa asserts causes of action under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the New York Human Rights Law. The Plaintiff also states that his case is "pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983."

  On May 4, 2005, the Defendant filed an answer and a motion for partial judgment on the pleadings. Although the amended complaint fails to allege that a charge of discrimination was filed with an administrative agency, attached to the Defendant's answer is a copy of Schiappa's March 25, 2004, charge of discrimination that he filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). In the charge, he complains that he was discriminated on the basis of age when he was terminated in July 2003 as part of the BNL's reduction in force.

  In its motion for judgment on the pleadings, BSA argues: (1) the hostile work environment claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act should be dismissed as time-barred because such claims arose more than 300 days before he filed a charge with the EEOC; (2) the retaliation claim should be dismissed because he failed to include such claim in the EEOC charge; (3) the Section 1983 claims should be dismissed because BSA is not a state actor and the claim is not adequately plead in the complaint; and (4) the New York State Human Rights Law claims should be dismissed because they are barred by the federal enclave doctrine and the Constitution.

  II. DISCUSSION

  A. THE RULE 12(c) STANDARD

  The standard of review on a motion for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c) is whether "the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Burns Int'l Sec. Serv., Inc. v. Int'l Union, United Plant Guard Workers of Am., 47 F.3d 14, 16 (2d Cir. 1995). Under Rule 12(c), all well-pleaded facts and allegations in the non-moving party's pleading ...


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