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Joseph Vogt v. Rochester Teacher's Association

November 9, 2012

JOSEPH VOGT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ROCHESTER TEACHER'S ASSOCIATION, DEFENDANT.



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

DECISION and ORDER

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Joseph Vogt, ("Vogt"), brings this action pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") claiming that defendant Rochester Teachers Association ("RTA"), the union to which the plaintiff formerly belonged, unlawfully discriminated against him on the basis of a disability. Specifically, plaintiff, who is a former physical education teacher employed by the Rochester City School District, claims that the RTA failed to file grievances on his behalf because he suffers from Attention Deficit Hyper-Activity Disorder, and a reading disability.

Defendant denies plaintiff's claims, and moves to dismiss plaintiff's Complaint on grounds that the RTA is not plaintiff's employer, and that it is not a covered entity under the ADA because it does not employ more than 14 employees.

For the reasons set forth below, I find that the RTA may be sued under the ADA as a "Labor Organization" as that term is defined under the ADA, but that because the Complaint confuses the RTA with plaintiff's former employer, it fails to adequately state a cause of action against the RTA. I therefore grant defendant's motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint without prejudice.

BACKGROUND

According to the allegations contained in the Complaint, in 2002, the Rochester City School District hired plaintiff as a Physical Education Teacher. In 2004, plaintiff was granted a one-year leave of absence to study for and complete a "CST exam."*fn1

According to the plaintiff, he needed sufficient time to study for the exam because at age 7, he had been diagnosed as suffering from Attention Deficit Hyper-Activity Disorder, and a reading disability. Apparently not having passed the CST Exam, in August, 2005, the Rochester City School District asked plaintiff to resign. Plaintiff alleges that on September 19, 2005, he resigned after being promised that he would be hired to fill the next available probationary Physical Education teacher position. Ten months later, on July 18, 2006, plaintiff submitted proof that he had passed the CST exam to the Rochester City School District. Plaintiff claims that in October, 2006, he was rehired into a full-time Physical Education teaching position.

In June, 2011, plaintiff was laid off from his job as a Physical Education Teacher. According to the plaintiff, he was laid off because of his alleged disability. Plaintiff further alleges that the RTA refused to file a grievance on his behalf challenging the layoff because he suffers from a disability.

DISCUSSION

I. Legal Standards for evaluating a Motion to Dismiss Defendant moves to dismiss plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on grounds that he has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. When evaluating a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court must ascertain, after presuming all factual allegations in the pleading to be true and viewing them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, whether or not the plaintiff has stated any valid ground for relief. Ferran v. Town of Nassau, 11 F.3d 21, 22 (2d Cir. 1993), cert. denied 513 U.S. 1014 (1994). The court may grant a Rule 12(b)(6) motion only where "`it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.'" Allen v. WestPoint-Pepperell, Inc., 945 F.2d 40, 44 (2d Cir. 1991) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)).

III. The RTA may be a proper defendant regardless of the number of people it employs.

The RTA moves to dismiss plaintiff's complaint on grounds that it was not plaintiff's employer, and that it may not be held liable under the ADA because it is not a business employing 15 or more employees. Because labor organizations, however, are not subject to the minimum employee requirements to which ...


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