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Darcy v. Lippman

March 10, 2008

JOSEPH M. DARCY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
HON. JONATHAN LIPPMAN, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE OF THE NYS UNIFIED COURT SYSTEM, HON. JUDY KLUGER, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE NYC CRIMINAL COURT, HON. JUANITA BING-NEWTON, AS SUCCESSOR TO JUDGE KLUGER, HON. PATRICIA HENRY, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT TO JUDGE KLUGER, HON. JOAN CAREY, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE NYC COURTS, MICHAEL COLODNER, ESQ., INDIVIDUALLY AND AS CHIEF COUNSEL UNIFIED COURT SYSTEM, WILLIAM ETHERIDGE, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS CHIEF CLERK NYC CRIMINAL COURT, DANIEL ALESSANDRENO, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS FIRST DEPUTY CHIEF CLERK NYC CRIMINAL COURT, VINCENT MODICA, SUCCESSOR TO DANIEL ALESSANDRENO, JOHN DOE, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS A MEMBER OF "CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION" OF NYC CRIMINAL COURT, JANE DOE, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS A MEMBER OF "CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION" OF NYC CRIMINAL COURT, THE UNIFIED COURT SYSTEM, THE STATE OF NEW YORK, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kimba M. Wood, U.S.D.J.

ORDER AND OPINION

Plaintiff Joseph M. Darcy ("Plaintiff") filed a pro se Amended Complaint against (1) the State of New York ("NYS"); (2) his employer, the New York State Unified Court System ("UCS"); and (3) a number of UCS supervisors and employees ("Individual Defendants") (collectively, "Defendants"), claiming that Defendants failed to make a reasonable accommodation for Plaintiff's alleged disability.

I. Factual Background

The facts alleged by Plaintiff are set forth more fully in a Report and Recommendation dated January 25, 2008 (the "1/25/08 Report") (D.E. 26); this Court's Order dated December 19, 2006 (the "12/19/06 Order") (D.E. 12); and an earlier Report and Recommendation dated October 28, 2004 (the "10/28/04 Report") (D.E. 9), familiarity with which is assumed.

The following facts are drawn from Plaintiff's Amended Complaint and the Exhibits attached thereto. All inferences have been drawn in favor of Plaintiff. See Allaire Corp. v. Okumus, 433 F.3d 248, 249-50 (2d Cir. 2006) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

Since May 12, 1977, Plaintiff has been continuously employed by Defendant UCS. (Am. Compl. ¶ 13, D.E. 13.) From March 1998 until August 2000, Plaintiff worked in the Richmond County Criminal Court, on Staten Island. (Id. ¶¶ 11, 17, 22.) On August 14, 2000, Plaintiff was hospitalized and diagnosed with systolic heart failure. (Id. ¶ 22.) On November 1, 2001, after approximately fourteen months of hospitalization and recovery, Plaintiff returned to work. (Id. ¶¶ 11, 25.) At that time, Plaintiff and Defendant William Etheridge allegedly agreed that Plaintiff would complete a Court Clerks Manual. Pursuant to this alleged agreement, during the course of the project, Plaintiff "would remain assigned to Staten Island," but "would divide his work time between Manhattan and Staten Island." (Id. ¶ 26.) At the completion of the Court Clerks Manual, Plaintiff would return to Staten Island. (Id.) Despite this alleged agreement, Plaintiff was transferred to Brooklyn effective October 28, 2002, soon after the completion of the Court Clerks Manual. (Id. ¶ 32.)

Plaintiff undertook several actions to advocate for his transfer back to Staten Island. On October 10, 2002, he filed a request for a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, asking to be transferred back to Staten Island and citing his heart failure and the "continuing hardship" posed by "added commutation time." (Am. Compl. ¶ 33, Am. Compl. Ex. D.) On or about October 18, 2002, as an alternative to his request for a reasonable accommodation, Plaintiff expressed his willingness to accept a demotion in order to return to Staten Island. (Am. Compl. ¶ 35.) On October 28, 2002 and November 25, 2002, Plaintiff filed grievances based on his transfer to Brooklyn. (Id. ¶ 38.) On October 29, 2002, Plaintiff filed a Claim of Discriminatory Treatment with the UCS Office of the Special Inspector General for Bias Matters. (Id. ¶ 44.) On January 7, 2003, Plaintiff filed a complaint with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (Id. ¶ 46.) Plaintiff alleged that all of his requests and filings were ignored or rejected. (Id. ¶¶ 34, 35, 37, 40-41, 44, 46).

On March 3, 2003, Plaintiff was transferred back to Staten Island. (Am. Compl. ¶ 95.) However, Plaintiff alleged that his return to Staten Island required him to accept a less senior position. (Id.)

II. Procedural Posture

On September 9, 2003, proceeding pro se, Plaintiff filed this action against Defendants. The Complaint alleged claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the "ADA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-12213; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1976, (the "ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 621-634; and state and city law. (D.E. 1.)

A. The First Motion to Dismiss

On November 10, 2003, Defendants moved for dismissal of this action pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). (D.E. 6.)

The 10/28/04 Report recommended that (1) Plaintiff's ADA and ADEA claims against all Defendants be dismissed with prejudice; (2) Plaintiff be granted leave to file a motion to amend the Complaint to plead a claim under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (the "Rehabilitation Act"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 701-796l, within thirty days of the Court's Order; and (3) Plaintiff's state and city law claims be held in abeyance pending the filing of an Amended Complaint. (10/28/04 Report 14.) The 12/19/06 Order adopted the 10/28/04 Report in its entirety, (12/19/06 Order 2), and granted Plaintiff leave to file an Amended Complaint within thirty days to allege a claim under the Rehabilitation Act, (Id. at 12).

On January 12, 2006, Plaintiff timely filed an Amended Complaint, purporting to plead a claim under the Rehabilitation Act and reasserting claims under the ADA and the ADEA.

B. The Second Motion to Dismiss

On April 20, 2007, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the Amended Complaint in its entirety. (D.E. 22.) Specifically, Defendants argued that Plaintiff's Rehabilitation Act claim should be dismissed (1) as to all Defendants because the claim is barred by the applicable statute of limitations; (2) as to the Individual Defendants because there is no individual liability under the Rehabilitation Act; and (3) as to all Defendants because Plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). (Defs.' Mem. 8-20, D.E. 20.)

Defendants, relying on the first motion to dismiss, further argued that Plaintiff's state and city law claims should be dismissed because (1) this Court should decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the pendent state and city law claims if the Rehabilitation Act claim is dismissed; (2) Plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) with respect to the New York State Human Rights Law, New York City Human Rights Law, and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims; (3) the Individual Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity; and (4) Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. (Defs.' Mem. 8 n.2.)

The 1/25/08 Report recommended that (1) Plaintiff's Rehabilitation Act claim against the Individual Defendants be dismissed with prejudice; (2) Plaintiff's Rehabilitation Act claim against Defendants NYS and UCS be dismissed without prejudice to replead within thirty days of the Court's Order; and (3) Plaintiff's state and city law claims be held in abeyance pending Plaintiff's filing of a Second Amended Complaint. (1/25/08 Report 19.) Plaintiff filed timely objections to the 1/25/08 Report ("Pl.'s Objections"). (D.E. 27, 28.) Defendants responded to Plaintiff's objections, but filed no objections of their own. (D.E. 29.)

For the reasons set forth below, this Court adopts the recommendations set forth in the 1/25/08 Report.

III. Discussion

A. Standard of Review for a Magistrate Judge's Report ...


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