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Espinosa v. Delgado Travel Agency

September 27, 2006

NANCY PATRICIA ESPINOSA AND MONICA MONTERO, ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES AND AS REPRESENTATIVES OF A CLASS OF PERSONS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
THE DELGADO TRAVEL AGENCY, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Shira A. Scheindlin, U.S.D.J.

OPINION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Defendant has filed a motion to dismiss the class action claims in plaintiffs' amended complaint. For the reasons described below, the motion must be granted.

II. BACKGROUND*fn1

Nancy Espinosa and Monica Montero both filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on November 24, 2004, alleging, inter alia, that they were subjected to sexual harassment during their employment at Delgado Travel.*fn2 On May 19, 2005, Espinosa and Montero received right-to-sue letters from the EEOC.*fn3 The letters explained that complainants were permitted file a lawsuit within ninety days of receipt of the letter and stated that "otherwise, [the] right to sue based on this charge will be lost."*fn4

Espinosa and Montero filed the instant action on August 3, 2005, pleading individual claims of sexual harassment in violation of Title VII, the New York Human Rights law, and the New York City Administrative Code, as Simon, Counsel to Defendant ("Simon Decl."); Dismissal and Notice of Rights to Nancy Espinosa, Ex. J to Simon Decl. well as violations of federal and state wage and hour laws.*fn5 Almost ten months later, on May 31, 2006, plaintiffs faxed a proposed amended class action complaint to defendant's counsel, who did not consent to its filing. On June 9, plaintiffs moved for leave to file an amended Complaint.

In an affidavit submitted with that motion, plaintiffs' counsel stated that "[d]uring the discovery phase of the first complaint, three former female employees of Delgado Travel made appointments with my office expressing a desire to file claims of sexual harassment and sex discrimination against Hector Delgado and

Delgado Travel Agency Corp."*fn6 Based on what he had learned during discovery, plaintiffs' counsel had come to believe that "approximately several dozen former and current employees of Delgado Travel were subjected to Delgado's sexual misconduct.*fn7

After an in-person conference on June 22, 2006, plaintiffs were granted permission to file the amended complaint without prejudice to defendant's right to challenge the new class action claims as time-barred. Plaintiffs filed the amended complaint on June 23, and on July 14 defendant moved to dismiss the class action claims.

III. LEGAL STANDARDS

A. Motion to Dismiss

"A court may not dismiss an action" pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) "'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.'"*fn8 The task of the court is "merely to assess the legal feasibility of the complaint, not to assay the weight of the evidence which might be offered in support thereof."*fn9 When deciding a motion to dismiss, courts must accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true, and draw all reasonable inferences in plaintiff's favor.*fn10 Although the plaintiff's allegations are taken as true, the claim may still fail as a matter of law 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, or if the claim is not legally feasible.*fn11

B. Timeliness of Title VII Claims

There are multiple statutory requirements that govern the timeliness of a Title VII claim in federal court. One prerequisite is that an administrative charge must have been filed with the EEOC within three ...


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