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Fierro v. New York City Dep't of Educ.

United States District Court, S.D. New York

February 4, 2014

ROSA FIERRO, Plaintiff,
v.
NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION and MARGARITA COLON, individually and in her official capacity as Principal, Defendants

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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For Rosa Fierro, Plaintiff: Jason M. Wolf, Wolf & Wolf, LLP, Bronx, NY.

For New York City Department of Education, Margarita Colon, Individually and in her official capacity as principal, Defendants: Benjamin John Traverse, LEAD ATTORNEY, New York City Law Department, New York, NY.

OPINION

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OPINION & ORDER

Paul A. Engelmayer, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Rosa Fierro (" Fierro" ), a former employee of the New York City Department of Education (" DOE" ), brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the DOE and Margarita Colon (" Colon" ), the principal of the school at which Fierro once worked as a teacher (collectively, " defendants" ). Fierro alleges that defendants failed to reasonably accommodate her disability, discriminated against her on the basis of her disability, subjected her to a hostile work environment, and constructively discharged her, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Defendants now move to dismiss the Amended Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons that follow, the motion is granted.

I. Background[1]

A. Facts of the Case

In 1993, Fierro began working for the DOE as a substitute teacher. Am. Compl. ¶ 11. In 2002, she began working as a certified teacher at PS 72X in the Bronx. Id. ¶ 12.

In 2005, Fierro began suffering from an " orthopedic disability" in her knees, arms, shoulders, and back, which limited her ability to, inter alia, walk up stairs, carry heavy objects, and sit or stand for periods of time. Id. ¶ 8. In 2006, following an on-the-job injury, Fierro underwent surgery on her knee. Id.

In February 2007, Colon became principal of PS 72X. Id. ¶ 13. Fierro alleges that, upon becoming principal, Colon " began discriminating, harassing, and intimidating" her " on almost a daily basis." Id. ¶ 15. Colon (1) " falsely accused [Fierro] of corporal punishment in February 2008" ; (2) again " falsely accused [her] of corporal punishment and removed her from the classroom" in May 2008; (3) " rated [her] unsatisfactory . . . as a result of time missed from work due to [her] medical condition" ; (4) conducted " unwarranted disciplinary meetings relating to [Fierro's] alleged poor performance and alleged incompetency," and held these meetings on the second floor of the building, which was not readily accessible to Fierro; (5) " ordered [her] to attend a mandatory psychiatric examination" in October 2008; (6) " denied Line of Duty Injury status ('LODI') to an injury [she] suffered in her classroom during school hours" ; (7) denied her Family Medical Leave Act and LODI status following an automobile accident in January 2009; (8) terminated her employment on March 26, 2009, following a long-term absence, on the ground that she abandoned her position; [2] (9) after her position was reinstated, " refused to accommodate [her] disability by giving her a first floor classroom assignment" ; and (10) " failed and refused to provide [her] with support and assistance, causing [her] to be subjected to physical abuse by the children without fear of discipline on almost a daily basis." Id.

On or about May 30, 2010, Fierro gave notice that she intended to retire and filed for disability retirement benefits. Id. ¶ 18.

Page 585

B. Procedural History

On May 30, 2013, Fierro filed the Complaint in this action. Dkt. 1. It alleged that defendants failed to reasonably accommodate her disability, discriminated against her on the basis of her disability, subjected her to a hostile work environment, and constructively discharged her, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § § 1983 & 1986. On September 13, 2013, defendants filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), Dkt. 9, and a supporting memorandum of law, Dkt. 10 (" Def. Br." ). Defendants argued, inter alia, that (1) the claims in the Complaint are mostly, if not entirely, time-barred; (2) the challenged actions were not pursuant to a municipal policy or custom, and thus cannot form the basis for a Monell claim; (3) disability-based discrimination claims are not cognizable under § 1983; and (4) the Complaint fails to state a § 1986 claim.

On October 18, 2013, Fierro filed the Amended Complaint. Dkt. 12. The Amended Complaint no longer pled a § 1986 claim, but left the § 1983 claim substantially intact. On November 18, 2013, defendants submitted a letter renewing their motion to dismiss, and stating that they would rely on their previously submitted-motion papers.[3]See Dkt. 13, 14. On January 21, 2014, Fierro submitted a memorandum of ...


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