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Jackson v. County of Nassau

United States District Court, E.D. New York

September 3, 2014

PAULA JACKSON, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF NASSAU, MICHAEL J. SPOSATO, SERGEANT SIATTA, LIEUTENANT GOLIO, and JOHN DOES #1-5, Defendants.

Marial LaSasso, Esq., LaSasso Law Group, PLLC, New York, NY, Attorneys for Plaintiff.

Brian R. Feinstein, Esq., Sunshine & Feinstein, LLP, Garden City, NY, Attorney for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

LEONARD D. WEXLER, District Judge.

Plaintiff Paula Jackson ("Jackson" or "Plaintiff') brings this action claiming that she was discriminated against as a result of her sex and race in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000-e, et seq. ("Title VII"), and the New York State New York Executive Law§§ 296 and 297, ("N.Y. Exec. Law"). Defendants County of Nassau ("County"), Michael J. Sposato, the Nassau County Sheriff ("Sposato"), Sergeant Siatta of the Nassau County Sheriffs Correction Division ("Siatta")[1], Lieutenant Golio of the Nassau County Sheriffs Correction Division Legal Department ("Golio"), and John Does #1-5 (collectively "Defendants") move to dismiss Plaintiffs complaint pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ("Fed.R.Civ.P."), Rule 12(b)(6). For the reasons that follow, Defendants' motion is denied in part and granted in part.

BACKGROUND

I. Factual Background

According to the facts alleged in Plaintiffs complaint, she is a 49-year old African-American woman employed as a corrections officer for the Nassau County Sheriffs Department ("Sheriffs Dept.") since October 1999. See Verified Amended Complaint ("AC"), ¶¶ 12, 23.

In 2008, Plaintiff Jackson filed a sexual harassment complaint with Defendant Siatta claiming another corrections made false sexual statements about Plaintiff Jackson. Plaintiff alleges those complaints were ignored by Defendants Siatta and Golio. AC ¶ 24-31. In retaliation for that complaint, Plaintiff alleges she was stripped of responsibilities, lost weapons privileges, and received less favorable assignments. AC ¶ 31.

At the end of 2008, Plaintiff began a personal relationship with Michael Watson ("Watson"), who was arrested several months later, in May 2009, and housed at Nassau Correctional Facility for one week. AC ¶ 32-34. Following his arrest, Watson made several calls to Jackson. AC ¶ 35-36. In March 2010, a federal search warrant was conducted at Watson's residence. Plaintiff was not named in the warrant, nor believed to be a subject of the warrant. Plaintiff has no criminal record. AC ¶ 38-41.

On May 19, 2010, Plaintiff Jackson, who had never previously been disciplined, was terminated with the Sheriff's Department by the Defendants. AC ¶ 42-43. The stated bases for her termination was for accepting phone calls from Watson and for not safeguarding her uniform. AC ¶ 44. Plaintiff alleges that at least three male Caucasian corrections officers ("COs") have had relationships with female inmates, used cell phones at work, and even been convicted of crimes, but have not been terminated. AC ¶¶ 45-49.

After being terminated, Plaintiff filed a grievance over her terminations and requested arbitration. AC ¶ 50. Plaintiff alleges that in response, on July 1, 2010, the Defendants referred Plaintiff to the Nassau County District Attorney's officer for criminal investigation and prosecution. AC ¶ 51.

Plaintiff further alleges that on January 11, 2011, Plaintiff was arrested for twenty-eight (28) counts of official misconduct, including twenty-six (26) counts for the calls made by Watson to Plaintiff. AC ¶¶ 54-55. Just prior to trial, an information was filed reducing the charges to nine (9). Plaintiff was acquitted after a trial by a jury on April 9, 2012 of al nine (9) charges. AC ¶¶ 56-58.

Since being terminated, Plaintiff alleges she has been fighting unsuccessfully to get her job back, is unable to find work, and has lost salary, benefits and seniority, and been deemed a "risky hire" by law enforcement or private security companies as a result of Defendants' false charges. AC ¶¶ 61-69. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants were retaliating against her for filing a complaint against Evans, filing a grievance and seeking arbitration following her termination, and that she was discriminated against on ...


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