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Mohammed v. Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. New York

August 15, 2014

Naushad Mohammed, Plaintiff,
v.
Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc., Defendant.

OPINION

THOMAS P. GRIESA, District Judge.

Plaintiff Naushad Mohammed brings this employment discrimination action against defendant Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc. ("A&P") ("defendant"), a national supermarket chain. Plaintiff's federal and state law claims derive from the termination of his employment in 2011. Plaintiff seeks damages, fees, and costs, as well as reinstatement in his former position as store manager.

Defendant moves pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) to dismiss the complaint on the ground that plaintiff's claims were discharged in bankruptcy. The motion is granted.

Background

The following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted.

Plaintiff was employed by defendant in 1994, 1997, and from 2000 through September 5, 2011. Plaintiff began his employment as a part-time shift supervisor and eventually worked his way up to general store manager. In his complaint, Plaintiff contends that he was a model employee and that his grocery store outperformed other company stores in the same district. Plaintiff alleges that due to his Muslim faith, he suffered discrimination, harassment, and verbal abuse from the district manager and the vice president of operations. On September 5, 2011, plaintiff alleges that following a campaign of harassment, verbal abuse, unwarranted and unjustified scrutiny, discriminatory treatment and criticism, he was wrongfully terminated from his employment.

Plaintiff was issued a right to sue letter by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on January 12, 2013.

A&P's Bankruptcy

Defendant filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection on December 12, 2010 in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. See In Re the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc., et al., No. 10-2459 (RDD), 2010 WL 5141226 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 13, 2010). On December 19, 2011, defendant filed a Joint Plan of Reorganization pursuant to Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, distributed solicitation materials to holders of claims entitled to vote on the original plan, and published notice of a confirmation hearing.

On February 28, 2012, the Bankruptcy Court issued an order (the "Confirmation Order") confirming defendant's amended reorganization plan (the "plan"). The Confirmation Order provided for the discharge and release of all claims against defendant:

Pursuant to Article VII.A of the Plan and section 1141(d) of the Bankruptcy Code, except as otherwise provided in the plan and effective as of the Effective Date: (a) the rights afforded in the plan and the treatment of all Claims and Interests shall be in exchange for and in complete satisfaction, discharge, and release of all claims and interests of any nature whatsoever, including any interest accrued on such Claims from and after the Commencement Date, against the Debtors or any of their assets, property, or Estates; (b) the Plan shall bind all holders of Claims and Interests, notwithstanding whether any such holders were entitled to vote, failed to vote on the Plan, voted to accept the Plan, voted to reject the Plan or were deemed to have accepted or rejected the Plan; (c) all Claims and Interests shall be satisfied, discharged, and released in full, and the Debtors' liability with respect thereto shall be extinguished completely, including any liability of the kind specified under section 502(g) of the Bankruptcy Code; and (d) all Entities shall be precluded from asserting against the Debtors, the Debtors' Estates, the Reorganized Debtors, their successors and assigns, and their assets and properties any other Claims or Instruments based upon any documents, instruments, or any act or omission, transactions, or other activity of any kind or nature that occurred prior to the Effective Date.

Affidavit of Samantha Beltre in Support of Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, Exhibit A, Confirmation Order, Page 59.

On March 14, 2012, employees of Kurtzman Carson Consultants, LLC, served notice of "Entry of Confirmation Order and Occurrence of Effective Date of the Debtors' Frist Amended Joint Plan of Reorganization" ("Notice of the Effective Date"). The Notice of the Effective Date informed those who received it that all requests for payments of a claim that accrued on or before the effective date of March 13, 2012 needed to be filed with the bankruptcy court and served on the debtors by April 12, 2012. Plaintiff never filed a request for payment of an administrative claim with the bankruptcy court.

The parties dispute whether plaintiff received Notice of the Effective Date. Plaintiff denies receipt. Defendant has included an affidavit detailing plaintiff's receipt of the notice via first-class mail. See Affidavit of Samantha ...


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