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Meyer v. William Floyd Union Free School District

September 30, 2009

WALTER MEYER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WILLIAM FLOYD UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT, JANET GILMOR, AND RICHARD HAWKINS, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff Walter Meyer commenced this action against the William Floyd Union Free School District ("William Floyd") and Janet Gilmor ("Gilmor") on June 22, 2007. On August 24, 2008, this Court granted William Floyd's and Gilmor's motion to dismiss, but allowed Plaintiff leave to amend his Complaint (the "August 2008 Order"). On October 24, 2008, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint, adding Richard Hawkins ("Hawkins") as a Defendant. Plaintiff's Amended Complaint alleges causes of action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983") for a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq.

Pending before this Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. For the reasons stated herein, Defendants' motion to dismiss is GRANTED.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are alleged by Plaintiff and regarded as true for the purpose of this motion. Plaintiff, a 63-year-old male, commenced employment with William Floyd as a custodian in September 1975. (Pl.'s Compl. ¶¶ 9, 10.) In November 2004, Plaintiff sustained a work-related injury to his legs and back, which Plaintiff alleges resulted in disabilities that substantially limited one or more of Plaintiff's major life activities. (Id. ¶ 12.)

On January 11, 2005, Plaintiff went on worker's compensation, as per his doctor's orders. (Id. ¶ 13.) As Plaintiff was the chief custodian, he was able to continue the essential functions of his job, such as supervising employees. (Id. ¶ 14.) In November 2005, Plaintiff discussed the possibility of his retirement with Gilmor, Hawkins, and union vice-president George Lorme. (Id. ¶ 15.)

On January 10, 2006, Plaintiff requested an extended sick leave ("catastrophic sick leave"), which Hawkins denied. (Id. ¶¶ 16, 18.) Plaintiff claims that he requested catastrophic sick leave because long-term disability was not available for employees who commenced employment before 1984. (Id. ¶ 17.) He further alleges that the lack of long-term disability adversely affected workers over forty years of age because all or almost all of the workers who fell into the pre-1984 workers were over the age of forty. (Id.)

On January 18, 2006, Gilmor informed Plaintiff that she would be recommending his termination to the school board. (Id. ¶ 21.) In January of 2006, Plaintiff applied for social security disability, and on February 1, 2006, Plaintiff filed for retirement benefits with the New York State Employees Retirement System, (Id. ¶¶ 21, 22). Plaintiff alleges that he was entitled to payments from William Floyd for retirement benefits including: a) payment for vacation, sick, personal, and worker's compensation accruals; b) health insurance for him and his wife through age 65; c) longevity payments; and d) a lump sum payment. (Id. ¶ 22.) However, Plaintiff did not receive the retirement benefits because, on February 6, 2006, Gilmor informed the school board that Plaintiff was terminated and thus was not entitled to retirement benefits. (Id. ¶ 23.)

Gilmor refused Plaintiff's requests to speak to the school board about his termination. (Id. ¶ 25.) However, in early 2006, Plaintiff spoke with and wrote to school board members, informing them that he believed he was treated differently with respect to his catastrophic sick leave request because of his age.

(Id. ¶ 26.) Additionally, Plaintiff refused to sign a release of claims contract with William Floyd, resulting in Plaintiff not receiving his retirement benefits. (Id. ¶ 27, 28.) Plaintiff alleges that three non-disabled employees with the same job as Plaintiff were not required to sign any release and they all received their retirement benefits. (Id. ¶ 27.) Lastly, five months after Plaintiff's termination, Plaintiff was replaced by a man in his thirties, despite this employee having previous problems and attending anger management training. (Id. ¶ 29.)

DISCUSSION

I. Standard of Review

To survive a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must put forth enough factual allegations to "raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1965, 167 L.Ed. 2d 929 (2007). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, __ U.S. __, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, __ L.Ed. 2d. __ (2009). "The plausibility standard is not akin to a 'probability requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. Thus, "[w]here a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief." Id. (internal citations and quotations omitted). "But where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct," a complaint fails to state a claim. Id. The plaintiff's factual allegations, in short, must show that the plaintiff's claim is "plausible," not merely "conceivable." Id. at 1951.

When considering a motion to dismiss, a court can first identify pleadings that are not entitled to the assumption of truth because they are mere conclusions unsupported by factual allegations. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, __ U.S. __, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1950, 173 L.Ed. 2d 868(2009). After locating the well-pleaded factual allegations, the court should assume their truthfulness ...


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