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Leah S. Torregiano v. Monroe County

June 28, 2012

LEAH S. TORREGIANO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MONROE COUNTY, MONROE COMMUNITY COLLEGE, A UNIT OF THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK, DEFENDANTS,



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael A. Telesca United States District Judge

DECISION and ORDER

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Leah S. Torregiano ("Torregiano") brings this action pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), codified at 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e) against defendants Monroe County, and Monroe Community College ("the College"), claiming that she was retaliated against for complaining of gender discrimination. Specifically, the plaintiff, who is female and a former employee of Monroe Community College, alleges that after she made a complaint of discrimination to the College, she was subjected to negative performance reviews, a diminution of her duties, transfer to an undesirable location, unwarranted job criticism, and was overlooked for a promotion that went to a male employee.

Defendants Monroe County and Monroe Community College now move for judgment on the pleadings claiming that the plaintiff has:

(1)failed to state a cause of action for retaliation under Title VII; (2) failed to timely file her action; (3) failed to state a claim of gender discrimination, (4) failed to exhaust her administrative remedies with respect to defendant Monroe County; and (5) failed to state a claim for discrimination under New York State Law. Plaintiff opposes defendants' motion on grounds that she has filed the action in a timely manner, has not attempted to allege any cause of action under New York State law, has not alleged gender discrimination, and that defendant Monroe County is a proper defendant.

For the reasons set forth below, I grant in-part and deny in-part defendants' motion to dismiss. I grant defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's claims against the County of Monroe, but deny defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's retaliation claims. I deny as moot defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's claims of gender discrimination and discrimination in violation of New York State law on grounds that plaintiff has not alleged such claims in her Complaint.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are alleged in the Complaint. Plaintiff Leah S. Torregiano began her employment with Monroe Community College in 1978 as a student intern. Plaintiff remained employed with the College, and in 2010 served as the College's Assistant Director for Public Safety.

Plaintiff alleges that in 2008, she was subjected to gender discrimination while employed at the College. She claims that after she filed a formal complaint of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") in September, 2008, she began to experience retaliation for having made a complaint of discrimination. Specifically, plaintiff alleges that three months after she filed her complaint of discrimination, she received the worst, and only negative performance evaluation to that date in her 30-year career with the College. As a result of the evaluation, plaintiff filed a complaint with the EEOC alleging retaliation. Plaintiff alleges that in retaliation for having filed complaints of discrimination and retaliation, her job duties were reduced, and she was transferred to an undesirable location way from the campus where most of her time was spent. She also alleges that in retaliation for complaining of discrimination and retaliation, her job was changed so that she became "on-call" 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Finally, plaintiff alleges that she was overlooked for a promotion that instead went to a male employee.

DISCUSSION

I. Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides in relevant part that upon the close of pleadings, any party may move for judgment upon the pleadings. A motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c) is evaluated under the same standards that apply to a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Patel v. Contemporary Classics of Beverly Hills, 259 F.3d 123, 126 (2nd Cir. 2001). In reviewing a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court must "accept...all factual allegations in the complaint and draw...all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor." See Ruotolo v. City of New York, 514 F.3d 184, 188 (2d Cir.2008) (internal quotation marks omitted). In order to withstand dismissal, the complaint must plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." See Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007) (disavowing the oft-quoted statement from 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").

"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." See id. at 1965 (internal quotation marks omitted). Thus, "at a bare minimum, the operative standard requires the 'plaintiff [to] provide the grounds upon which his claim rests through factual allegations sufficient to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.'" See Goldstein v. Pataki, 516 F.3d 50, 56-57 (2d Cir.2008) (quoting Twombly, 127 S.Ct. at 1974).

II. Plaintiff's Complaint is timely Defendants move to dismiss plaintiff's complaint on grounds that she failed to file it within 90 days of receiving her right to sue letter from the EEOC. In support of this contention, defendants contend that the right to sue letter was issued on March 14, 2011, but that plaintiff did not file her action until June 15, 2011, 93 days after the right to sue letter was issued. For the reasons set forth below, I deny defendant' motion.

Title VII provides that challenges to the administrative dismissal of a discrimination claim must be filed in federal court within 90 days of the final administrative action dismissing the plaintiff's claims. 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e-16(c). There is a presumption, however, that notice of a plaintiff's right to sue, which accompanies the EEOC's dismissal of the plaintiff's claims, is received three days after the notice is issued. Perez v. Metropolitan Transp. Authority, 2012 WL 1943943 at * 10 (S.D.N.Y., May 29, 2012); Sherlock v. Montefiore Medical Center, 84 F.3d 522 (2nd Cir., 1995). Accordingly, applying the presumption in this case, plaintiff ...


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