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Dziedzic v. State University of New York at Oswego

United States District Court, N.D. New York

December 19, 2014

MICHELE DZIEDZIC, Plaintiff,
v.
THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AT OSWEGO, Defendant.

MICHELE DZIEDZIC, Hannibal, New York, Plaintiff pro se.

TIMOTHY P. MULVEY, ESQ., OFFICE OF THE NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL, Syracuse, New York, Attorneys for Defendant.

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

FREDERICK J. SCULLIN, Jr., District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff, a former employee of Defendant The State University of New York at Oswego ("SUNY Oswego" or "the University"), has filed several actions related to her employment and termination from the University. These include actions before the federal court, the New York State Department of Human Rights ("DHR"), and an arbitrator.

On November 19, 2008, Plaintiff filed her first complaint with the DHR. In that complaint, Plaintiff charged Defendant and others with unlawful discriminatory practices relating to employment.

On March 3, 2009, Plaintiff filed a second administrative complaint with the DHR. Plaintiff's second DHR complaint alleged that, after she filed her first complaint, Defendant and others targeted her for additional harassment. Prior to her hearing on the first DHR complaint, Plaintiff applied for dismissal of her second DHR complaint for administrative convenience in order to proceed in federal court. The DHR granted Plaintiff's application for dismissal of this second complaint on December 21, 2009. On August 23, 2010, Plaintiff filed her first federal complaint with the assistance of counsel.

On August 31, 2010, DHR Administrative Law Judge Groben dismissed Plaintiff's first DHR complaint on the merits. In that decision, Judge Groben found that Plaintiff had "failed to sustain her burden of proof" for discrimination and retaliation. See In re Dziedzic I, Recommended Findings of Fact, Opinion and Decision, and Order, N.Y. State Div. of Human Rights 20129633 at 1 (Aug. 31, 2010) ("DHR Order"). The EEOC adopted the DHR Judge's findings and decisions, thereby dismissing all claims in Plaintiff's first DHR complaint.

On June 30, 2011, Plaintiff filed her second federal complaint pro se. The Court (Peebles, M.J.) consolidated Plaintiff's two federal complaints for pretrial matters and designated the first action as the lead case and the second as the member case.

On August 23, 2011, a Disciplinary Panel Arbitrator upheld SUNY Oswego's decision to terminate Plaintiff's employment.

On July 6, 2012, this Court issued a Memorandum-Decision and Order, with the following findings:

In her complaint, Plaintiff did not aver any factual allegations upon which she bases her claims.... Since Plaintiff is a pro se litigant, the Court will provide her an opportunity to amend her complaint to include a more definite statement regarding her Title VII claims.... Plaintiff's amended complaint must set forth specific factual allegations, in separately numbered paragraphs, detailing Defendant SUNY Oswego's employees' acts or omissions that support her Title VII claims... includ[ing] facts to support her Title VII claims for unlawful harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.

See Dkt. No. 32, Memorandum-Decision and Order ("Court's Order") at 4-5 (citations omitted). Based on these findings, the Court issued the following orders:

[T]he Court hereby ORDERS that Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint in Case No. 5:11-CV-743, or, in the alternative, for a more definite statement, is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part; and the Court further ORDERS that Plaintiff's Human Rights Law claim is DISMISSED in its entirety; and the Court further ORDERS that Defendants Marta Santiago, Mary DePentu, and Michael Izyk are DISMISSED as Defendants in Case No. 5:11-CV-743; and the Court further ORDERS that Plaintiff may file an amended complaint within THIRTY (30) DAYS of the date of this Memorandum-Decision and Order to include a more definite statement with respect to her Title VII claims against Defendant SUNY Oswego.

See id. at 5-6.

Plaintiff filed her Amended Complaint on August 7, 2012. Despite this Court's dismissal of her claims against Ms. Santiago, Ms. DePentu, and Mr. Izyk, Plaintiff named them as defendants in the caption of her Amended Complaint. She did, however, list only one "DEFENDANT" within the text of her Amended Complaint: "The State University of New York at Oswego."

Plaintiff's Amended Complaint contained 70 numbered paragraphs alleging that various people, including Ms. Santiago, Ms. Depentu, and Mr. Izyk, committed various unlawful acts in and around SUNY Oswego from 2005 through January 2008. At the conclusion of these allegations, Plaintiff argued that Defendant SUNY Oswego was liable for discrimination, harassment, a hostile work environment, and retaliation under Title VII. Plaintiff also alleged that Defendant SUNY Oswego violated the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy ("Clery Act").

In Defendant's Answer, dated August 13, 2012, it either denied or denied knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of the substantive allegations in the Complaint. On February 28, 2013, Defendant moved for dismissal or summary judgment for all of Plaintiff's causes of action.

On March 27, 2014, Plaintiff responded to Defendant's motion with a document entitled "Statement of Material Facts, " which consisted mostly of factual allegations and some legal arguments without citation. In this Statement, Plaintiff alleged additional facts, which had not appeared in her Amended Complaint, describing unlawful ...


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