YOHANNA M. PIMENTEL; and CATHERINE J. MARTEL, Plaintiffs,
MICHAEL MAGIN, sued in his individual capacity; and NEW YORK STATE DEP'T OF HEALTH, Defendants.
STEPHEN BERGSTEIN, ESQ., BERGSTEIN & ULLRICH, LLP, Chester, NY, Counsel for Plaintiffs.
CHARLES J. QUACKENBUSH, ESQ., Assistant Attorney General, ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN, Counsel for Defendant N.Y.S. Dep't of Health, The Capitol Albany, NY, Attorney General for the State of New York.
JOHN J. DOWD, ESQ., DREYER BOYAJIAN LLP, Albany, NY, Counsel for Defendant Magin.
MEMORANDUM-DECISION and ORDER
GLENN T. SUDDABY, District Judge.
Currently before the Court, in this employment discrimination action filed by Yohanna M. Pimentel and Catherine J. Martel ("Plaintiffs") against Michael Magin ("Magin"), and New York State Department of Health ("DOH") (collectively, "Defendants"), are DOH's motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c) and Plaintiffs' cross-motion for leave to file a Third Amended Complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). (Dkt. Nos. 58, 65). For the reasons set forth below, Defendant DOH's motion is granted in part and denied in part and Plaintiffs' cross-motion is granted in part and denied in part.
I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND
A. Procedural Background
This action was originally commenced on May 25, 2010 against Magin, Center for Development of Human Services, and SUNY Research Foundation of the State of New York ("Research Foundation"). ( See Dkt. No. 1 [Compl.].) Plaintiffs amended their complaint as a matter of right on October 28, 2010, adding DOH as a defendant. ( See Dkt. No. 15 [Am. Compl.].) Thereafter, Magin and Research Foundation separately moved to dismiss this action. Plaintiffs cross moved to amend the complaint. This Court granted in part and denied in part each of the motions to dismiss as well as the motion to amend. ( See Dkt. No. 42 [MDO].) By its Memorandum-Decision and Order, this Court, among other things, noted that Research Foundation and Center for Development of Human Services are the same entity and directed that the docket sheet be amended to terminate Center for Development of Human Services as a defendant.
Thereafter, Plaintiffs filed their Second Amended Complaint. ( See Dkt. No. 44.) Subsequently, DOH filed the current motion for judgment on the pleadings. In opposition, Plaintiffs cross move to amend the complaint a third time. DOH opposes the motion to amend. Prior to the filing of Plaintiffs' cross motion, a stipulation and order of discontinuance with prejudice was filed disposing of the claims by Plaintiffs against Defendant Research Foundation. ( See Dkt. Nos. 63, 64.)
B. Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint
The Second Amended Complaint asserts the following claims: (1) a claim by Plaintiffs against Magin for sexual harassment in violation of their right to equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (2) a claim by Pimentel against Magin for quid pro quo sexual harassment in violation of her right to equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment pursuant to § 1983; (3) a claim by Pimentel against Research Foundation and DOH for gender discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. ("Title VII") and the New York Human Rights Law, N.Y. EXEC. LAW § 296 ("NYHRL"); (4) a claim by Pimentel against Research Foundation and DOH for retaliation in violation of Title VII and NYHRL; (5) a claim by Martel against Research Foundation and DOH for gender discrimination in violation of NYHRL; and (6) a claim by Martel against Research Foundation and DOH for retaliation in violation of NYHRL.
C. DOH's Motion
Generally, in support of its motion for judgment on the pleadings, DOH asserts the following four arguments: (1) Plaintiffs' claims against DOH must be dismissed because Plaintiffs did not have an employment relationship with DOH or with their alleged harasser; (2) Plaintiffs' NYHRL claims against DOH are barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity; (3) Plaintiffs' Title VII claims against DOH must be dismissed due to the failure to comply with statutory exhaustion requirements; and (4) Plaintiffs' claims must be dismissed due to their failure to timely avail themselves of preventative or remedial recourse. ( See generally Dkt. No. 58-1.)
D. Plaintiffs' Cross-Motion
Generally, in support of their cross motion to amend the complaint and in opposition to DOH's motion for judgment on the pleadings, Plaintiffs assert the following arguments: (1) Plaintiffs' motion to amend is timely and does not unfairly prejudice DOH in that it clarifies certain facts and alleges other facts in support of their claims against DOH, and (2) DOH's motion for judgment on the pleadings should be denied because (a) Pimentel properly exhausted her remedies and timely pursued her charge against DOH with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"); (b) Plaintiffs are entitled to pursue their NYHRL claim against DOH because they did not have an active case pending before the New York State Division of Human Rights when this action was filed; (c) Plaintiffs may sue DOH as a joint employer; (d) the proposed Third Amended Complaint alleges that DOH knew about, but failed to remedy, the hostile work environment; (e) Magin, the alleged harasser, was Pimentel's supervisor, and the proposed Third Amended Complaint does not establish that DOH is entitled to the Faragher/Ellerth affirmative defense; (f) because Magin, the alleged harasser, was Martel's co-worker, DOH is not entitled to the Faragher/Ellerth affirmative defense to her claims against it; and (g) Martel has plausibly asserted a claim of retaliation against DOH. ( See generally Dkt. No. 65-9.)
Generally, in opposition to Plaintiffs' motion to amend, and in further support of its motion for judgment on the pleadings, DOH asserts that the proposed Third Amended Complaint is futile and cannot prevent judgment on the pleadings in favor of DOH for the following reasons: (1) Plaintiffs have never been employees of DOH and Magin was never Plaintiffs' supervisor; (2) Pimentel did not timely file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC; (3) Plaintiffs did not timely avail themselves of preventative or remedial recourse; and (4) Plaintiffs' NYHRL claims are barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. ( See generally Dkt. No. 72.)
In their motion papers, the parties have demonstrated an adequate understanding of the factual allegations asserted in Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint and proposed Third Amended Complaint as well as the legal standards governing those claims. (Dkt. Nos. 58, 65, 72.) As a result, the Court will not recite that information in its entirety in this Decision and Order, which is intended primarily for the review of the parties. Rather, the Court will do so only where necessary below in Part III of this Decision and Order.
II. RELEVANT LEGAL STANDARDS
A. Legal Standard Governing Motions for Judgment on the Pleadings
"The standard for granting a Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings is identical to that of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion for failure to state a claim." Patel v. Contemporary Classics of Beverly Hills, 259 F.3d 123, 126 (2d Cir. 2001) (collecting cases). In evaluating such motions, district courts must accept all allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Patel, 259 F.3d at 126 (citing Irish Lesbian and Gay Org. v. Giuliani, 143 F.3d 638, 644 (2d Cir. 1998)). "To survive a Rule 12(c) motion, the complaint must ...