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Hettler v. Entergy Enters., Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. New York

March 28, 2014

JASON HETTLER, Plaintiff,
v.
ENTERGY ENTERPRISES, INC., ENTERGY NUCLEAR OPERATIONS, INC., ENTERGY SERVICES, INC., ENTERGY NUCLEAR NORTHEAST, ENTERGY NUCLEAR INDIAN POINT 2, LLC, ENTERGY NUCLEAR INDIAN POINT 3, LLC, PATRIC W. CONROY, DANIEL GAGNON, MITCHELL J. WOOD, TERRENCE THIVERAGE, JOHN VENTOSA, and " JOHN DOES 1-10," Defendants

Page 448

For Jason Hettler, Plaintiff: Amy L Bellantoni, LEAD ATTORNEY, The Bellantoni Law Firm, LLP, Scarsdale, NY.

For Entergy Enterprises, Inc., Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc., Entergy Services, Inc., Entergy Nuclear Northeast, Entergy Nuclear Indian Point 2, LLC, Entergy Nuclear Indian Point 3, LLC, Patric W. Conroy, Daniel Gagnon, Mitchell J. Wood, Terrence Thiverage, Defendants: Jennifer Papas, Jonathan Marc Kozak, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Jackson Lewis LLP (WPlns), White Plains, NY.

For " John Does 1-10", Defendant: Jonathan Marc Kozak, LEAD ATTORNEY, Jackson Lewis LLP (WPlns), White Plains, NY.

Page 449

MEMORANDUM DECISION

Vincent L. Briccetti, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Jason Hettler, a former security lieutenant and alarm station operator at the Indian Point nuclear power plant (" Indian Point" ), brings this action against the corporate entities that operate Indian Point and several Indian Point employees. Plaintiff alleges defendants interfered with his rights under the Family Medical Leave Act (" FMLA" ), 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq., and retaliated against him for taking FMLA leave and for reporting security violations to his supervisors and to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (" NRC" ). Plaintiff asserts both " retaliation" and " interference" claims under the FMLA, see Potenza v. City of New York, 365 F.3d 165, 167-68 (2d Cir. 2004), and a claim under the New York Whistleblower Act, N.Y. Labor Law § 740 (" Section 740" ).

Before the Court is defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint under Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). (Doc. #3). For the following reasons, the motion is DENIED.

The Court has subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § § 1331 and 1367.

BACKGROUND

In deciding the pending motion, the Court accepts as true all well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint and draws all reasonable inferences in plaintiff's favor.

Plaintiff began working as a security lieutenant and alarm station operator at Indian Point in 2004. In 2009, plaintiff took intermittent leave under the FMLA to care for his wife, who was coping with a high-risk pregnancy.[1] He took intermittent leave again in 2012 and 2013 after learning his wife had a different health problem. Plaintiff alleges defendants retaliated against him for taking FMLA leave by (i) refusing to promote him, (ii) giving him a lower pay increase in April 2012 than the pay increases received by lieutenants who did not take leave, (iii) subjecting him to unnecessary fact-finding hearings, (iv) harassing and intimidating him, (v) suspending him without pay, (vi) refusing to provide him with back pay, (vii) refusing to reinstate him to his position after his suspension, and (viii) revoking his Unescorted Access Authorization to Entergy Operations nuclear facilities, thereby preventing him from obtaining a job at any nuclear power plant in the country for five years. Plaintiff further alleges defendants interfered with his FMLA rights by wrongfully denying certain of his requests for leave.

Plaintiff asserts defendants took most of the retaliatory actions listed above not only because he took FMLA leave, but also because he reported security violations to his supervisors at Indian Point and to the NRC. But plaintiff's request to take FMLA leave in July 2012--not his whistleblowing--allegedly prompted two of the

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individual defendants to subject him to " a retaliatory and harassing 'fact-finding' hearing" and to harass and ...


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