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Patrick v. Garlick

United States District Court, W.D. New York

December 4, 2014

KELLY M. PATRICK, LINZY PATRICK, Plaintiffs,
v.
STEVE GARLICK, Defendant

For Kelly M. Patrick, Linzy Patrick, Plaintiffs: Jeffrey Wicks, LEAD ATTORNEY, Jeffrey Wicks, PLLC, Rochester, NY.

For Steve Garlick, Defendant: William R. Shaw, LEAD ATTORNEY, Shaw & Murphy PLLC, Ithaca, NY.

Page 326

DECISION AND ORDER

DAVID G. LARIMER, United States District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiffs, employees of Seneca Lake State Park (the " Park" ), bring this action against Steve Garlick (" Garlick" ), who was the Park's Branch Manager and the plaintiffs' supervisor during the complained-of events. Plaintiffs allege that Garlick subjected them to sexual harassment, a hostile work environment and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § § 2000e et seq. (" Title VII" ), and the New York Human Rights Law, N.Y. Exec. Law § § 290 et seq. (" NYHRL" ).

Garlick now moves for dismissal of the action pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 12(b)(6),

Page 327

on the grounds that he was never the plaintiffs' employer for purposes of Title VII or the NYHRL. (Dkt. #3). Plaintiffs oppose that motion, and in the alternative have cross-moved to amend the complaint to add the New York State Department of Parks and Historic Development (" Department of Parks" ), an agency of the State of New York and the owner-operator of the Park, as a defendant. (Dkt. #7). The State of New York has also appeared in this action for the purpose of opposing the plaintiffs' cross motion to amend. For the reasons set forth below, Garlick's motion to dismiss is granted in part and denied in part, and the plaintiffs' cross motion to amend is granted.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On or about April 18, 2012, plaintiffs filed charges of sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination against the Department of Parks[1] and Garlick with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (" EEOC" ). On or about April 17, 2013, the EEOC charges were dismissed on a finding of " no cause," and plaintiffs were issued a 90-day " right to sue" letter. (Dkt. #7-3, Exh. D).

On July 15, 2013, for reasons that plaintiffs' counsel appears unable to fully articulate, plaintiffs filed the instant suit and named Garlick as the lone defendant. (Dkt. #1). On November 5, 2013, plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint, again naming only Garlick. (Dkt. #2). The instant motions followed.

DISCUSSION

I. Plaintiffs' Motion to Amend

Plaintiffs have moved to amend their complaint for the purpose of adding the Department of Parks as a defendant. It is clear that, unless plaintiff's allegations against the Department of Parks are found to " relate back" to the original complaint, they are untimely because they fall outside the 90-day statute of limitations triggered by their EEOC " right to sue" letter, and that amendment would thus be futile. Plaintiffs concede that fact.

Plaintiffs have the burden to demonstrate that they have met the requirements of Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 15(c)(1)(C), which provides for " relation back" of ...


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