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Kane v. ST. Raymond's Roman Catholic Church

United States District Court, S.D. New York

July 13, 2015

Nickie Kane, Plaintiff,
St. Raymond's Roman Catholic Church, et al., Defendants.


ALISON J. NATHAN, District Judge.

Plaintiff Nickie Kane, proceeding prose, filed this action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq., alleging that Defendants discriminated against her on the basis of her sex, race, color, national origin, and age, and engaged in unlawful retaliation. Two motions are currently before the Court: Defendants' motion to dismiss the Amended Complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), Dkt. No. 8, and Plaintiffs motion to remand this action to state court, Dkt. No. 14. For the following reasons, Plaintiffs motion to remand is DENIED, and Defendants' motion to dismiss is GRANTED.

I. Background

A. Factual Background

For the purpose of evaluating this motion to dismiss, all plausible allegations in the Amended Complaint are accepted as true, and all reasonable inferences are drawn in Plaintiffs favor. See Kassner v. 2nd Ave. Delicatessen Inc., 496 F.3d 229, 237 (2d Cir. 2007).

Defendant St. Raymond's Roman Catholic Church[1] ("St. Raymond's") hired Plaintiff to the position of afterschool counselor in September 2012. Am. Compl. ¶ 3. According to Plaintiff, at some point during her employment, she "became the object of' Defendant Bickart's "infatuation, " and when Plaintiff did not share Defendant Bickart's interest, Bickart retaliated against her. (Bickart's position at St. Raymond's is unknown, as Plaintiff has not alleged the positions held by any of the individual defendants in this case.) Am. Compl. ¶ 6. Specifically, Plaintiff points to three incidents where Bickart "kicked sports equipment so hard that it nearly missed [sic] hitting [Plaintiff] in the face, " explaining that on the third incident, the equipment was kicked with enough force that when it missed Plaintiff and hit a child in the head, the child was "visibly dazed." Am. Compl. ¶ 7. On another occasion, Bickart told Plaintiff that he lost tax forms that she had filled out when she started employment, and sat so close to her on a bench that she became physically uncomfortable. Am. Compl. ¶ 8. Plaintiff alleges that Bickart often stood too close to her, and approached her in a way that made her uncomfortable. Am. Compl. ¶ 9. Plaintiff alleges that toward the end of the school year, Bickart stopped giving Plaintiff her paychecks, forcing Plaintiff to ask Defendant Alamo for them. Am. Compl. ¶ 11. Then, in June of that year, Plaintiff states that Bickart banged loudly on the door while she was using the restroom, and when Plaintiff allowed Bickart in, he walked in and reached for a paper towel without letting Plaintiff out. Am. Compl. ¶ 12. This made Plaintiff uncomfortable, as it brought the two into extremely close proximity. Am. Compl. ¶ 12. On the last day of school, Plaintiff shared a handshake with Bickart, but Bickart "held on to her hand for so long that she felt the need to yank her hand away." Am. Compl. ¶ 14(a).

Plaintiff's allegations of mistreatment extend beyond Bickart. She states that at some point during her employment with Defendant, Plaintiff changed the account to which her direct deposit checks were sent. Am. Compl. ¶ 10. When Plaintiff called the payroll clerk after a week without a response, the clerk told her that she had called and tried to reach Plaintiff several times, but none of the messages were relayed to Plaintiff. Am. Compl. ¶ 10. A separate incident arose after Plaintiff complained to Defendants Bickart and Alamo that a high school student under Plaintiffs care had refused to follow her directions; Alamo said to Plaintiff, "I don't care about you, " and then "stormed off." Am. Compl. ¶ 13. Plaintiff further alleges that she was only once asked to come in early on half days when other after-school staff members would start work early. Am. Compl. ¶ 15.

Plaintiff states that the staff at St. Raymond's is mostly "Latino/Hispanic, " a fact she attributes to the school's decision to hire primarily through word of mouth. Am. Compl. ¶ 16. Plaintiff states that at one point she overheard Bickart and Alamo discussing Plaintiffs race, and Bickart told Alamo that Plaintiff is "Indian." Am. Compl. ¶ 16. On a separate occasion, Plaintiff alleges that a staff member named Carlos asked the only two Indian children at the school if they were Catholic, and when they responded that they were not, the staff member asked them why they were there, causing one child to become hysterical. Am. Compl. ¶ 16(a).

On the final day of the school year, Bickart and Alamo told Kane that they would contact her in August about the next school year. Am. Compl. ¶ 17. Kane called Alamo in August to find out her start date, and Alamo stated that she was waiting for Defendant Scanlon to tell her the dates. Am. Compl. ¶ 17. However, Plaintiff was not contacted before school started. Am. Compl. ¶ 18. After an initial call with Defendant Scanlon, wherein Scanlon told Plaintiff that he would speak with his colleagues, Scanlon did not take any more of Plaintiffs calls or return her messages. Am. Compl. ¶ 18. Plaintiff called Defendants Brito and Graham but also did not receive a response, and eventually contacted Defendant Carotenuto, who "acted as the liaison between Ms. Kane and St. Raymond." Am. Compl. ¶ 18. However, despite Carotenuto's intervention, Plaintiff states that she "was ultimately unable to get any resolution." Am. Compl. ¶ 18. Plaintiff began to look for other jobs, but discovered that St. Raymond's and Bickart were not verifying her employment history for prospective employers. Am. Compl. ¶ 19.

Plaintiff states that she is an Asian woman with "tan or brown skin, " and was born in Guyana. Am. Compl. ¶ 20. At the time of the events underlying the Complaint, Plaintiff was 34 years old. Am. Compl. ¶ 20. She states that she was a college student during her employment with Defendants, but was older than the other college students working in the same position for Defendants. Am. Compl. ¶ 13.

B. Procedural Background

Plaintiff filed this action in the Supreme Court of the State of New York for New York County on May 29, 2014. Dkt. No. 1-1 at 6. On August 29, 2014, after Plaintiff had mailed the Summons and Complaint to Defendants but before any Defendant other than St. Raymond's had executed and mailed an acknowledgment that they received the summons, St. Raymond's filed a notice of removal to this Court, asserting that this Court had federal-question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Dkt. No. 1. On September 9, 2014, Plaintiff filed the Amended Complaint in this Court, dropping her claims under New York law and asserting claims only under Title VII and the ADEA. Dkt. No. 5. This Court ordered service of the Amended Complaint on September 19, 2014, Dkt. No. 7, and Magistrate Judge Netburn granted Plaintiff leave to proceed informa pauperis on January 22, 2015, Dkt. No. 27.

Defendants filed their motion to dismiss the Amended Complaint on September 23, 2014. Dkt. No. 8. Plaintiff filed her remand motion on October 10, 2014. Dkt. ...

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