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Antkies v. New York State Dep't of Motor Vehicles

March 20, 2006

KELLY ANTKIES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES, DEFENDANT.



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

MEMORANDUM and ORDER

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Kelly Antkies ("Plaintiff") has brought a claim under the American with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12112-12117 (the "ADA") against the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles ("Defendant" or the "NYSDMV"). Defendant has moved to dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rule") 12(b)(6). For the reasons stated below, the motion is granted and Plaintiff is given thirty days to amend her pleading.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff's pleading consists of a standard pro se complaint form and some letters she has attached thereto. On the form, Plaintiff has checked off that her claim is brought pursuant to the ADA and that she is complaining of a "[f]ailure to accommodate [her] disability" and "retaliation." (Compl. at 1, 3.) She also states that her alleged disability is "Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and rotator cuff tear." (Id. ¶ 7.) However, paragraph eight, designated "[t]he facts of my case are as follows," is left entirely blank. (Id. ¶ 8.) Instead, Plaintiff has attached letters written on her behalf by her then-attorneys to the Defendant and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. While these letters provide some insight into Plaintiff's claims, they hardly paint a complete picture.

In her affidavit in opposition to the instant motion, Plaintiffs offers more detail. Plaintiff explains that she is an employee of the NYSDMV. (Pl.'s Aff., dated June 8, 2005 ("Pl.'s Aff.") ¶ 4.) In 1997, she was diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and requested reasonable work accommodations from the NYSDMV. (Id.) Based upon medical recommendations by both her own doctors and NYSDMV doctors, the NYSDMV granted her request and accommodations were provided to her continuously for seven years until September 2002. (Id.)

After a leave of absence for unrelated medical reasons, Plaintiff returned to work. (Id. ¶ 5.) Upon her return, a new NYSDMV supervisor unfamiliar with her accommodations refused to allow her to resume the accommodations previously provided to her. (Id.) Plaintiff claims that this new supervisor "retaliated against [her] and forced [her] to work without any of [her] previous accommodations." (Id.) As a result, her Carpal Tunnel Syndrome was aggravated and she suffered a new injury, a "Rotator Cuff Tear." (Id. ¶ 7.) The end of her Complaint contains a boilerplate phrase indicating: "plaintiff prays that the Court grant such relief as may be appropriate including injunctive orders, damages, costs, and attorney's fees." (Id. at 5.)

Defendant moves to dismiss the Complaint, arguing that Plaintiff's claims are barred by the Eleventh Amendment and that the Complaint fails to give Defendant fair notice of what her claim is. For the reasons stated below, Defendant's motion is granted.

DISCUSSION

I. Motion to Dismiss: Legal Standards

In considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), a district court must limit itself to the facts stated in the complaint, documents attached to the complaint as exhibits, and documents incorporated by reference in the complaint. Hayden v. County of Nassau, 180 F.3d 42, 54 (2d Cir. 1999). The court must accept the factual allegations contained in the complaint as true, and view the pleadings in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, drawing all reasonable inferences in her favor. Sheppard v. Beerman, 18 F.3d 147, 150 (2d Cir. 1994). Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is appropriate only if it appears beyond doubt that a plaintiff can prove no set of facts entitling her to relief in support of her claim. Zerilli-Edelglass v. New York City Transit Auth., 333 F.3d 74, 79 (2d Cir. 2003). Finally, this Court must construe pro se complaints like Plaintiff's liberally, applying a more flexible standard to evaluate their sufficiency than the standard used to review complaints submitted by attorneys. Lerman v. Bd. of Elections in City of New York, 232 F.3d 135, 140 (2d Cir. 2000).

II. Plaintiff's Claims Under the ADA

A. The ADA Generally

The ADA was enacted to "provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities." 42 U.S.C. § 12101(b)(1). "Its first three titles proscribe discrimination against individuals with disabilities in employment and hiring (Title I), access to public services (Title II), and public accommodations (Title III)." Henrietta D. v. Bloomberg, 331 F.3d 261, 272 (2d Cir. 2003). Although a plaintiff may recover money damages for a violation of Title I or II of the ADA, ...


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