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Betlewicz v. Division of New York State Police

United States District Court, Second Circuit

May 20, 2013

TIMOTHY M. BETLEWICZ, Plaintiff,
v.
THE DIVISION OF NEW YORK STATE POLICE et al., Defendants.

MARTIN W. SCHWARTZ, ESQ. Office of Martin W. Schwartz Nanuet, NY, for the Plaintiff.

WILLIAM J. McCARTHY, JR. C. HARRIS DAGUE Assistant Attorneys General HON. ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN, New York State Attorney General Albany, NY, for the Defendants.

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

GARY L. SHARPE, Chief District Judge.

I. Introduction

Plaintiff Timothy M. Betlewicz commenced this action against the Division of New York State Police ("State Police"), former Acting Superintendent John P. Melville, and Superintendent Joseph D'Amico (collectively, "State defendants"), alleging violations of the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses, as well as the Equal Pay Act.[1] ( See Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) After the case, which was originally filed in the Southern District of New York, was transferred to this court, State defendants brought the presently-pending motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). ( See Compl.; Dkt. Nos. 17, 18, 28.) For the reasons that follow, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.

II. Background

A. Facts[2]

On January 10, 2010, while on patrol as a New York State Police trooper, Betlewicz was struck by an unidentified object and knocked unconscious. ( See Compl. §§ 8, 15-16.) Betlewicz suffered critical injuries and subsequently underwent "major cervical decompression surgery." ( Id. §§ 8, 16-17.) Four days after the January 10 incident, Betlewicz was suspended from his position with the State Police without pay after a hair sample provided by him allegedly tested positive for "[ c ] annabis sativa. " ( Id. §§ 9, 18.) On May 6, 2010, following a four-month unpaid suspension, Betlewicz's employment with the State Police was terminated. ( See id. § 19.)

At some point after Betlewicz's unpaid suspension began, but prior to his termination, the State Police Internal Affairs Bureau commenced an investigation seeking to prove that, fearing an impending positive drug test, Betlewicz fabricated the January 10, 2010 incident. ( See id. §§ 20, 22.) On April 8, 2010, however, a New York State Worker's Compensation Board Administrative Law Judge found that Betlewicz's injuries resulted from a "genuine line of duty accident[, ] and made awards." ( Id. § 21.) That decision was subsequently affirmed on October 4, 2010 by an appeals panel. ( See id. § 22.)

Despite the determinations of the ALJ and appeals panel, the State Police continued to refuse Betlewicz pay and benefits until, on August 9, 2011, the New York State Comptroller granted Betlewicz an "Accidental Disability Retirement Pension." ( See id. §§ 23, 26.) On August 26, 2011, Betlewicz's employment status was changed by the State Police from "[d]ismissed, " to "[d]isability [r]etirement." ( Id. § 11.)

III. Standard of Review

"The standard for addressing a Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings is the same as that for a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim." Wright v. Monroe Cmty. Hosp., 493 F.Appx. 233, 234 (2d Cir. 2012) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). For a full discussion of that standard, the court refers the parties to its prior decision in Ellis v. Cohen & Slamowitz, LLP, 701 F.Supp.2d 215, 218 (N.D.N.Y. 2010).

IV. Discussion

A. Personal ...


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