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Ragusa v. Malverne Union Free School Dist.

August 11, 2009

BILJANA RAGUSA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MALVERNE UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT, MALVERNE UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD OF EDUCATION, AND MARY ELLEN FREELEY AS SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff ("Plaintiff") Biljana Ragusa filed the present action against defendants Malverne Union Free School District (the "District"), Malverne Union Free School District Board of Education (the "Board"), and Mary Ellen Freeley ("Freeley") (collectively, "Defendants") alleging, inter alia, that Defendants discriminated against her based upon her disability, gender, age, and national origin, and retaliated against her for opposing discriminatory practices. By Memorandum & Order dated September 30, 2008, the Court granted Defendants' motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff now moves for reconsideration of the Court's dismissal of her gender discrimination claims only. For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration is granted. Upon reconsideration, the Court adheres to its original decision. Accordingly, Plaintiff's gender discrimination claims are dismissed.

BACKGROUND

The background of this case is set forth in the September 30, 2008 Order, familiarity with which is assumed. Thus, the Court will only state the facts necessary for disposition of the instant motion.

Plaintiff, a female who is currently 54 years old, was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Plaintiff began working for the District in September 2002 as a math teacher for a probationary term of two years. Plaintiff is licensed to teach mathematics from grades 7 through 12.

In January of 2003, Plaintiff underwent surgery for removal of an accoustic neuroma, or benign tumor, in her brain. Although the surgery was viewed as a success, it left Plaintiff with many side effects, including that Plaintiff could not blink her right eye, lost hearing in her left ear, had difficulties with balance and walking in a straight line, and couldn't enunciate properly because of paralysis on the right side of her face. Nineteen days following the surgery, Plaintiff returned to school in mid-February 2003.

In the Spring of 2004, the District offered Plaintiff an extension of her probationary term in lieu of termination. On March 25, 2004, Plaintiff signed an agreement with the District extending her probationary term for one additional year. At the conclusion of that year, Plaintiff was denied tenure and her employment terminated.

On October 6, 2005, Plaintiff filed a Verified Complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights ("NYSDHR") and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") alleging that she was denied tenure on the basis of her disability, national origin, and age. On June 15, 2006, the EEOC issued Plaintiff a right to sue letter and indicated that the EEOC would be closing her case.

On September 11, 2006, Plaintiff filed the instant lawsuit. Her Complaint asserted ten causes of action: (1) violation of the American with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12112-12117; (2) violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq. ("Title VII"); (3) intentional infliction of emotional harm; (4) negligent infliction of emotional harm; (5) violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621 et seq.; (6) violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (7) violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985; (8) violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1986; (9) violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1988; and (10) violation of the New York State Human Rights Law, N.Y. Exec. Law § 296, et seq. The gravamen of Plaintiff's Complaint was that Defendants refused to accommodate Plaintiff's "disability"; that they intentionally created a difficult working environment for Plaintiff by scheduling her to work in different classrooms on different floors, requiring her to travel between the high school and middle school buildings which were across the street from one another, and by assigning her subjects beyond her certification; and that they terminated her under based upon her disability, age, and national origin.

By Memorandum & Order dated September 30, 2008, the Court granted Defendants' motion for summary judgment with regard to Plaintiff's federal claims and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state law claims. Plaintiff now moves for reconsideration with regard to her claim of gender discrimination only. For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's motion is granted. Upon reconsideration, Plaintiff's claim of gender discrimination is dismissed.

DISCUSSION

I. Applicable Legal Standard for Reargument

The standard for a motion for reconsideration "is strict, and reconsideration will generally be denied unless the moving party can point to controlling decisions or [factual] data that the court overlooked-matters, in other words, that might reasonably be expected to alter the conclusion reached by the court." Shrader v. CSX Transp., Inc., 70 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995); see also Arum v. Miller, 304 F. Supp. 2d 344, 347 (E.D.N.Y. 2003) ("To grant such a motion the Court must find that it overlooked matters or controlling decisions which, if considered by the Court, would have mandated a different result.") (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). "The major grounds justifying reconsideration are 'an intervening change of controlling law, the availability of new evidence, or the need to correct a clear error or prevent manifest injustice.'" Virgin Atl. Airways, Ltd. v. Nat'l Mediation Bd., 956 F.2d 1245, 1255 (2d Cir. 1992) (quoting 18 C. Wright, A. Miller & E. Cooper, Federal Practice & Procedure § 4478 at 790). Thus, a "party may not advance new facts, issues, or arguments not previously presented to the Court." Nat'l Union Fire Ins. Co. v. Stroh Cos., 265 F.3d 97, 115 (2d Cir. 2001) (quoting Polsby v. St. Martin's Press, No. 97 Civ. 690, 2000 WL 98057, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 18, 2000)).

II. Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration is Granted;

Upon Reconsideration, Plaintiff's Claim of Gender ...


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