United States District Court, N.D. New York
WILLIAM BOWMAN, Collins Correctional Facility, Collins, New York, Plaintiff pro se.
BARTH, SULLIVAN LAW FIRM, DAVID H. WALSH, IV, ESQ., Syracuse, New York, Attorneys for Defendant.
MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER
MAE A. D'AGOSTINO, District Judge.
On May 16, 2014, Plaintiff pro se William Bowman (hereinafter "Plaintiff"), an inmate currently in the custody of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision ("DOCCS"), commenced this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5, alleging that Defendant violated his rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. See Dkt. No. 1.
Currently before the Court is Defendant's motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). See Dkt. No. 16.
During the time in question, Plaintiff worked for Granny's Kitchen (hereinafter "Defendant"). Dkt. No. 1 at 1. While at work, Plaintiff alleges his "supervisor... called [him] a nig[g]er...." Id. at 3. Plaintiff furthers alleges that, upon informing his supervisor's boss, "he told [Plaintiff] he wasn't going to do anything, and to stay away from him." Id. at 4. Plaintiff proceeded to file charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on July 25, 2013. Id. Plaintiff claims that, "after they found out I place[d] a complaint, they terminated me from the company...." Id.
On March 7, 2014, the EEOC "issued a Notice-of-Right-to-Sue letter." Id. Plaintiff then commenced this action. Dkt. No. 1 at 1. On July 15, 2014, Defendant filed the motion to dismiss that is currently before the Court. See Dkt. No. 16. Plaintiff did not file a response to Defendant's motion.
Plaintiff's claims include harassment/hostile work environment, discrimination, and retaliation. Dkt. No. 1 at 3-4. Defendant urges this Court to construe Plaintiff's alleged discrimination and hostile work environment claims as a single cause of action for hostile work environment. Dkt. No. 16-1 at 6. In light of Plaintiff's pro se status, the Court will address all three possible claims. Dkt. No. 1 at 3-4.
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 physically attached to, nor incorporated by reference into, the pleading. See Mangiafico v. Blumenthal, 471 F.3d 391, 398 (2d Cir. 2006) (quoting Chambers v. Time Warner, Inc., 282 F.3d 147, 152-53 (2d Cir. 2002)).
To survive a motion to dismiss, a party need only plead "a short and plain statement of the claim, " see Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), with sufficient factual "heft to sho[w] that the pleader is entitled to relief[, ]'" Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 557 (2007) (quotation omitted). Under this standard, the pleading's "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right of relief above the speculative level, " see id. at 555 (citation omitted), and present claims that are "plausible on [their] face, " id. at 570. "The plausibility standard is not akin to a probability requirement, ' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citation omitted). "Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of "entitlement to relief."'" Id. (quoting [ Twombly, 550 U.S.] at 557, 127 S.Ct. 1955). Ultimately, "when the allegations in ...