United States District Court, W.D. New York
DECISION AND ORDER
FRANK P. GERACI, JR. Chief Judge.
Anthony Fantigrossi (“Fantigrossi”) alleges that
he was the victim of reverse-race discrimination when his
former employer, Defendant American Eagle Airlines, Inc.
(“AEA”), terminated him in violation of Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. ECF No. 1. AEA has moved to
dismiss the Complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), arguing that any potential claim that Fantigrossi
had against AEA was extinguished through Chapter 11
bankruptcy proceedings filed by AEA and its parent
corporation, AMR Corporation (“AMR”). ECF No. 10.
Because Fantigrossi failed to file a proof of claim in that
bankruptcy proceeding, his claim was indeed extinguished by
the bankruptcy proceedings, and this action must be
Fantigrossi is a Caucasian male who began working for AEA in
March 2010 as a station agent at the Greater Rochester
International Airport. In June 2011, Fantigrossi was sitting
with two African-American colleagues in the company breakroom
and was using his laptop computer. One of these colleagues
asked Fantigrossi if he had watched any of Katt Williams'
comedy routines. Fantigrossi said that he had not, so the
colleague used Fantigrossi's laptop to search the
internet for one of Williams' routines, and then played
the episode. While Fantigrossi and the two colleagues were
watching the episode, AEA's compliance coordinator,
Jennifer Winslow, entered the break room. Winslow heard
racial slurs on the comedy routine, and complained to
Fantigrossi and his colleagues that such language was
inappropriate. Fantigrossi then took the laptop from his
colleague and stopped the video.
five months later, on November 18, 2011, Fantigrossi was
called into General Manager Kathy Rice's office at AEA
and was instructed to prepare a written report about the
breakroom incident. Fantigrossi asked Rice if his colleagues
were also being questioned about the breakroom incident, and
Rice indicated they were not. Rice then terminated
Fantigrossi's employment with AEA.
filed a grievance with AEA regarding his termination, where
he included written statements from the two colleagues who
were with him during the breakroom incident. On December 9,
2011, AEA heard Fantigrossi's grievance, and upheld his
termination. Fantigrossi alleges that his two
African-American colleagues were not terminated, nor were
they disciplined at all as a result of the breakroom
November 29, 2011, AEA and its parent company AMR filed for
bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy
Code. That action was filed in the Southern District of New
York, and was assigned to United States Bankruptcy Judge Sean
H. Lane. See In re AMR Corp., No. 11-15463-SHL
(Bankr. S.D.N.Y.). The bankruptcy action received national
publicity, presumably because it involved one of the largest
airlines in the United States, American Airlines, Inc. The
bankruptcy action was enormously complex and, as of today, it
comprises some 12, 832 docket entries. Id. However,
in addition to the filing date, only a few key events in the
bankruptcy action are relevant to this matter.
4, 2012, the bankruptcy court entered what is commonly known
as a “Bar Date Order.” That Order set July 16,
2012 as the deadline for any person or entity to file a claim
against AMR for any claim that arose prior to the filing of
AMR's bankruptcy petition on November 29, 2011. See
In re AMR Corp., No. 11-15463-SHL, ECF No. 2609 (Bankr.
S.D.N.Y. May 4, 2012).
case was commenced on April 29, 2013, but was automatically
stayed under 11 U.S.C. § 362(a) due to the pending
October 22, 2013, the bankruptcy court confirmed AMR's
reorganization plan, effective December 9, 2013. In re
AMR Corp., No. 11-15463-SHL, ECF No. 10367 (Bankr.
S.D.N.Y. Oct. 22, 2013).
April 2, 2014, the Court granted Fantigrossi's request to
proceed with this case, and set a date for AEA to respond to
the Complaint. ECF No. 7.
Complaint, Fantigrossi alleges that his termination was a
form of reverse-race discrimination in violation of Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and he seeks damages from
AEA. In response, AEA has moved to dismiss the Complaint. ECF
No. 10. That application is fully briefed, and the Court
deems oral argument unnecessary.
succeed on a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), a defendant must show that the complaint
fails to state a plausible claim for relief. Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). A
complaint is plausible when a plaintiff pleads sufficient
facts that allow the Court to draw a reasonable inference
that the defendant is liable for the alleged conduct.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
Plausibility “is not akin to a probability
requirement;” rather, plausibility requires “more
than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.” Id. (quotation marks 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. (quotation marks
and citation omitted). A pleading that consists of
“labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Nor does a
complaint suffice if it tenders “naked
assertion[s]” devoid of “further factual
enhancement.” Id., at 557. In considering the
plausibility of a claim, the Court must accept factual
allegations as true and draw all reasonable inferences in the