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Balwan Singh Hooda v. Brookhaven Science Associates

September 2, 2011


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


Plaintiff Balwan Singh Hooda ("Plaintiff") asserts race and national origin discrimination and retaliation claims against Defendants Brookhaven Science Associates, LLC ("Brookhaven"), William Hempfling, William Robert Casey, Michael Bebon, Carol Parnell, George Goode and Robert Lee ("Defendants"). Pending here is Plaintiff's motion to file a Second Consolidated Amended Complaint, which would withdraw certain claims against several individual defendants and add age discrimination and retaliation claims against Brookhaven under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (the "ADEA"),

29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. Also pending is the Defendants' motion to dismiss the Consolidated Amended Complaint (Docket Entry 67). For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's motion is GRANTED. In light of this decision, Defendants' motion to dismiss is DENIED AS MOOT.


The Court first traces this ligation's unusual procedural path and then describes the allegations in Plaintiff's Proposed Second Consolidated Amended Complaint (the "Proposed SCAC" or, in citations, "Prop. SCAC").

I. Procedural History

Plaintiff commenced this suit (the "-3403 Action"), pro se. His original Complaint asserted violations of Title VII, Sections 1981, 1983, 1985 and 1986 of Title 42 of the United States Code, the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and the New York Human Rights Law against Defendants Brookhaven National Laboratory, Michael Bebon, William Hempfling, William Robert Casey, George Goode and Michael Holland. The Court dismissed several of those claims by its September 15, 2009 Memorandum and Order (the "September 15 Order").

On April 30, 2010, Plaintiff filed a second pro se action (the "-1966 Action") against many of the same defendants. This suit, which was docketed as Hooda v. Brookhaven National Laboratory, et al., E.D.N.Y. No. 10-CV-1966, included the same claims as the -3403 Action, plus claims under the ADEA and Executive Order 11246. (See Docket No. 10-CV-1966, Entry 1.) The Court, by its sua sponte May 19, 2010 Memorandum and Order*fn1 (the "May 19 Order"), dismissed the (1) claims against Brookhaven National Laboratory in their entirety; (2) Title VII claims against the individual defendants; (3) New York Human Rights Law claim; (4) First and Fourteenth Amendment claims against all but one defendant; (5) Executive Order 11246 claim; and (6) Title VII and Section 1981 claims to the extent they purported to assert age discrimination claims. (See May 19 Order at 1-3.) The Court also dismissed Plaintiff's ADEA claim but permitted Plaintiff leave to re-plead it. (Id. at 3.)

On June 21, 2010, the Court consolidated the -1966 Action and the -3403 Action, and directed that all future filings be made on the -3403 docket. Although Magistrate Judge William D. Wall's Scheduling Order in the -3403 Action had set June 21, 2010 as the deadline for amended pleadings (Docket Entry 44), the Court granted Plaintiff until July 21, 2010 to file a Consolidated Amended Complaint. (See Docket Entry 58.)

That deadline was later extended until August 9, 2010. (July 19, 2010 Minute Order.)

Plaintiff filed his Consolidated Amended Complaint (the "CAC"), which is the operative complaint in this suit, on July 9, 2010. The CAC names Brookhaven, Hempfling, Casey, Bebon, Parnell, Goode, Lee and Holland as Defendants and asserts claims under Title VII, Sections 1981, 1985, 1986, and the First and Fourteenth Amendments. (See CAC, Docket Entry 62.) On September 7, 2010, all Defendants except Holland moved to dismiss the CAC in part, arguing that Plaintiff's Title VII claims cannot proceed against the individual defendants, and that the Section 1985 and 1986 claims and the pattern and practice discrimination claim must be dismissed.*fn2 (See Pl. Br. 3.)

Plaintiff retained counsel on June 16, 2011. (See Pl. Br. 3.) Plaintiff's counsel investigated Plaintiff's case, and, on July 14, 2011, sought leave to file a Second Consolidated Amended Complaint. (Docket Entry 82.) The Proposed SCAC withdraws those claims that Defendants moved to dismiss, and adds ADEA age discrimination and retaliation claims. Defendants concede that, with the exception of Plaintiff's new ADEA claims, the Proposed SCAC renders their motion to dismiss moot. (Def. Opp. 4.) The Proposed SCAC names only Brookhaven, William Hempfling and William Robert Casey as Defendants.

II. The Proposed SCAC

Having examined the procedural background, the Court now turns to the allegations in the Proposed SCAC. Although the Proposed SCAC details a litany of allegedly discriminatory employment actions, the discussion below focuses on the allegations relevant to Plaintiff's ADEA claims.

At all relevant times, Plaintiff was an employee of Brookhaven, a Delaware corporation charged with operating Brookhaven National Laboratory ("BNL") in Suffolk County, New York. (See Prop. SCAC ¶ 4.) Defendant Hempfling was Brookhaven's human resources manager, and Defendant Casey was the chair of Brookhaven's hiring committee. (Id. ¶¶ 9, 15.) Plaintiffs allege that both men were among his immediate supervisors. (Id.)

Plaintiff is a United States citizen of American Indian origin. (Id. ¶ 21.) He has a B.Sc. in Biological Sciences, a B.Sc. in Health Physics, an M.Sc. in Radiochemistry, an M.Sc. in Environment and Waste Management, and continuing education credits in environmental safety and health and radiation protection programs. (Id. ¶ 22.) Plaintiff has worked at BNL as an Environmental Radiation Program Manager since May 2000, and he is recognized as an expert in regulatory matters pertaining to radiological and environmental protection, U.S. Department of ...

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