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Leahy v. Gap

July 29, 2008

PATRICIA LEAHY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
GAP, INC., OLD NAVY, INC., KARMA KARGL, IN HER OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, DANA GLICKMAN, IN HER OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, VALERIE CAPALA, IN HER OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, AND JESSICA FLASHNER, IN HER OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

Plaintiff Patricia Leahy ("Leahy" or "Plaintiff") commenced this action asserting seven causes of action arising out of the termination of her employment with Defendant Old Navy LLC s/h/a/ Old Navy Inc. Presently before the Court is a motion to dismiss. In that motion, all defendants seek dismissal of the third through seventh causes of action and defendants Karma Kargl ("Kargl"), Dana Glickman ("Glickman"), Valerie Capala ("Capala"), and Jessica Flashner ("Flashner") (collectively the "Individual Defendants") seek dismissal of the first and fifth causes of action. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.

Background

The following facts are taken from the Complaint.

Leahy was hired by Defendants Gap Inc. ("Gap") and/or Old Navy, Inc. (Old Navy") in June 1997 and was assigned to the Old Navy store in Islandia, New York. As of August 2004, Leahy was working as a stock supervisor in the Old Navy in Levittown, New York. At that time, she advised her supervisors that she was pregnant with her second child. Shortly thereafter, Leahy began experiencing inappropriate and derogatory remarks regarding her work and the management of her work hours.

In or about October or November 2004, Leahy was asked to and voluntarily participated in "overnight" work hours. After two weeks of working overnights, Plaintiff realized that the time change was not suitable to her family life and the workload entailed an increase in the physical nature of the job. Although "she had no problem fulfilling the physical nature of the job," Leahy requested a return to a daytime supervisor position "because the more physically demanding work was medically unwise during the latter stages of her pregnancy." Her request was granted but the Individual Defendants began to harass her to step down from her position as stock supervisor.

In December 2004, Leahy submitted an "accommodation letter" to Old Navy from her doctor indicating that she could perform all her duties as supervisor for the remaining month and a half prior to her maternity leave with exception of heavy lifting, climbing ladders and other strenuous movements. Thereafter, Plaintiff was harassed by Kargl and Capala to withdraw the letter and, when she refused, they continued to harass her.

On January 6, 2005 Leahy was terminated. She claims that the reasons given for the termination -- her manipulation of her time card and her lateness -- was a pretext and the real reason was her employer's attempt to avoid the inconvenience of accommodating her in the last months of her employment and her future maternity leave, during which she was entitled to certain maternity benefits and compensation.

Based on the foregoing, Leahy asserts the following claims: violation of Title VII (first count); violation of the New York State Executive Law (second count); conspiracy in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3) (third count); discrimination in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") (fourth count); violation of the American with Disabilities Act ("ADA") (fifth count); violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (sixth count); and violation of the equal protection guarantee of the New York State Constitution (seventh count).

Discussion

I. Legal Standard for a Motion to Dismiss

Rule 8(a) provides that a pleading shall contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). The Supreme Court recently clarified the pleading standard applicable in evaluating a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). In Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, -- U.S.--, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (2007), the Court disavowed the well-known statement in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957) that "a complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim 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." Id. at 45-46. Instead, to survive a motion to dismiss under Twombly, a plaintiff must allege "only enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 1274.

While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative ...


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