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Carroll v. State

United States District Court, N.D. New York

November 14, 2014

TRACY CARROLL, Plaintiff,
v.
THE STATE OF NEW YORK and the N.Y.S. DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES, Defendants.

DENNIS F. IRWIN, ESQ., OFFICE OF DENNIS F. IRWIN, Albany, New York, Attorney for Plaintiff.

RACHEL M. KISH, AAG, OFFICE OF THE NEW YORK S TATE ATTORNEY GENERAL, The Capitol, Albany, New York, Attorneys for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

MAE A. D'AGOSTINO, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

On April 25, 2014, Plaintiff commenced this action alleging that Defendants violated her rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, specifically 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e)(1). See Dkt. No. 1. On August 22, 2014, Plaintiff amended her complaint. See Dkt. No. 11.

Currently before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss the amended complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Dkt. No. 12-1. On September 23, 2014, Plaintiff filed a memorandum of law in opposition to Defendants motion to dismiss. See Dkt. No. 15.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff at all times relevant herein was employed by Defendant the State of New York, and by Defendant New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision ("DOCCS"). See Dkt. No. 11 at ¶ 6. During her employment with Defendants, Plaintiff's position was as a Transitional Service Coordinator or Veteran's Coordinator. See id. at ¶ 8.

According to Plaintiff's amended complaint, between February 1, 2010 and April 18, 2012, while employed first at Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility for a ten-month period, and then at Great Meadow Correctional Facility, she was subjected to "acts of commission or omission, [and Defendants] acted towards [her], both directly and indirectly, in ways which were hostile, abusive, discriminatory, threatening, offensive, abusive and harassing, retaliatory, and sexually inappropriate." See id. at ¶¶ 13, 14. Plaintiff first contends that during her employment at Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility, between February 1, 2010, and December 2010, falsities were spread by and amongst the correctional officers regarding her preference in men because she was the mother of a biracial son. See id. at ¶¶ 13, 13(a). Plaintiff further alleges in her amended complaint that false rumors were spread by Defendants' employees that Plaintiff was engaging in inappropriate relations with inmates, "including inappropriate touching and providing contraband to inmates." See id. at ¶ 13(b). In March of 2010, Plaintiff filed a grievance with the Superintendent of the Correctional Facility regarding inappropriate conduct of Sgt. Michaels. See id. at ¶ 13(d). In her grievance, Plaintiff alleged that Sgt. Michaels stated the following: "I gave you a play. You fucked up and you better not fuck up again!" See id. During that same month, Plaintiff alleged that another employee made unwanted comments to Plaintiff that she felt "had a sexual innuendo." See id. at ¶ 13(f). Furthermore, during her employment at Mt. McGregor Correctional facility through December 2010, Plaintiff experienced threatening behavior from Defendants' employees which allegedly prevented her from properly fulfilling her employment duties and otherwise "creat[ed] a hostile workplace for her." See id. at ¶ 13(o).

In December of 2010, against her wishes, Plaintiff transferred from Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility to Great Meadow Correctional Facility, where she continued to experience discriminatory behavior from Defendants' employees between January 3, 2011, and April 18, 2012. See id. at ¶¶ 13(p), 13(q), 14. In March of 2011, Plaintiff was allegedly falsely accused of engaging in a sexual relationship with an inmate. See id. at ¶ 14(a). Additionally, Plaintiff alleged that during her employment at Great Meadow, specifically in and around August 25, 2011, Defendants' employees continuously exposed her to "excessive use of profanity" and taunting. See id. at ¶¶ 14(b)-14(d). Plaintiff further alleges that in late 2011, her ability to carry out her duties as a counselor were further hindered as both the correctional officers and others assigned to work with Plaintiff refused to speak with her, and if they did speak to her, it was only to harass or jeer at her. See id. at ¶¶ 14(e), 14(f). On February 3, 2012, Plaintiff received a threatening letter in the mail which she immediately reported to the local police. See id. at ¶ 14(h). Three days later, on February 6, 2012, Plaintiff reported an incident to the Great Meadow's administration after she discovered that her office had been "ransacked, including items being missing, her desk put in disarray and all the drawers had been ransacked, " which frightened her immensely. See id. at ¶ 14(i). Plaintiff contends that throughout her employment with Defendants at Great Meadow, she continuously experienced a "hostile, discriminatory, retaliatory, and sexually inappropriate work environment" stemming from the conduct of the Defendants' employees. See id. at ¶ 14(t). The February 6, 2012 incident is the last occurrence of discrimination that Plaintiff explicitly references in her amended complaint. See id. at ¶14(i).

On February 7, 2013, Plaintiff filed a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), which referenced the discriminatory acts that were allegedly committed between February 1, 2010, and April 18, 2012. See Dkt. No. 15 at 3. Plaintiff was then issued a right-to-sue letter by the EEOC on January 24, 2014, upon which she commenced this action on April 25, 2014. See Dkt. No. 11 at 10; see Dkt. No. 1.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure tests the legal sufficiency of the party's claim for relief. See Patane v. Clark, 508 F.3d 106, 111-12 (2d Cir. 2007) (citation omitted). In considering the legal sufficiency, a court must accept as true all well-pleaded facts in the pleading and draw all reasonable inferences in the pleader's favor. See ATSI Commc'ns, Inc. v. Shaar Fund, Ltd., 493 F.3d 87, 98 (2d Cir. 2007) (citation omitted). This presumption of truth, however, does not extend to legal conclusions. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation omitted). Although a court's review of a motion to dismiss is generally limited to the facts presented in the pleading, the court may consider documents that are "integral" to that pleading, even if they are neither ...


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