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Collins v. Colgate Palmolive

United States District Court, E.D. New York

March 8, 2017



          ROSLYNN R. MAUSKOPF, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Charline Collins brings this pro se action and asserts federal claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e el seq. ("Title VII") and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 621 el seq. (the "'ADEA"). She also asserts unspecified state-law claims. Collins's request to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP") pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 is granted. For the reasons stated below, Collins's claims against defendant Frank Niglia are dismissed. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). With respect to defendant Colgate Palmolive ("Colgate7'), Collins is granted leave to file an amended complaint within thirty (30) days of the date of this Memorandum and Order.


         Collins utilizes an employment discrimination form supplied by the Court in order to submit her complaint. She alleges claims of race, sex, religious, and age discrimination. Although unclear, it appears that Collins was employed by Colgate for seven years, and her employment was terminated on May 19, 2016. (Compl. (Doc. No. 1) at ¶ V.) Collins's complaint alleges no facts in support of her claim of discrimination. Collins annexes her rebuttal to Colgate's position statement that she submitted to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The rebuttal likewise fails to allege sufficient facts in support of her claim of discrimination. (See id at 8-12.)[2] The rebuttal lists the following as Colgate's reasons for not promoting her: (1) her altitude, (2) her "[u]n-professional communications with [her] manager and [c]o-workers, " and (3) her "[p]oor quality of written communications." (Compl. at 9.) Collins maintains that those enumerated reasons are discriminatory. (See Id. at 9-12.)

         On May 11, 2016, the EEOC issued Collins a Dismissal and Notice of Rights, staling "[b]ased upon its investigation, the EEOC is unable to conclude that the information obtained established violations of the statutes." (See Id. at 14.) Collins seeks reinstatement to her job and retroactive salary in the amount of $26, 500. (Id. at 6.)


         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), a district court shall dismiss an in forma pauperis action where it is satisfied that the action "(i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief." An action is "frivolous" when either: (1) "the 'factual contentions are clearly baseless.' such as when allegations are the product of delusion or fantasy"; or (2) "the claim is 'based on an indisputably meritless legal theory."' Livingston v. Adirondack Beverage Co., 141 F.3d 434, 437 (2d Cir. 1998) (internal citation omitted).

         The Court must be mindful that a. pro se plaintiffs pleadings should be held "to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104-05 (1976)); see also Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66. 72 (2d Cir. 2009) (noting that even after Bell All, Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007). the court "remain[s] obligated to construe a pro se complaint liberally").

         At the pleadings stage of the proceeding, the Court must assume the truth of "all well-pleaded, nonconclusory factual allegations" in the complaint. Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., 621 F.3d 111, 124 (2d Cir. 2010), aff'd, 133 S. Cl. 1659 (2013) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-78 (2009)). A complaint must plead sufficient facts to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Twambly, 550 U.S. at 570. "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citations omitted).

         The plausibility standard does not impose an across-the-board, heightened fact-pleading standard. Boykin v. KeyCorp, 521 F.3d 202, 213 (2d Cir. 2008). The plausibility standard does not "require[] a complaint to include specific evidence [or] factual allegations in addition to those required by Rule 8." Arista Records, LLC v. Doe 3, 604 F.3d 110, 119 (2d Cir. 2010). However, the plausibility standard does impose some burden to make factual allegations supporting a claim for relief. As the Iqbal court explained, the plausibility standard "does not require detailed factual allegations, but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.


         1. Sufficiency of the Pleading

         a. Rule 8

         Pursuant to Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a plaintiff must provide a short, plain statement of claim against each defendant named so that they have adequate notice of the claims against them. See Id. A pleading that only "tenders naked assertions devoid of further factual enhancement" will not suffice. Id. (internal citations and alterations omitted). A plaintiff must provide facts sufficient to allow each defendant to have a fair understanding of what the plaintiff is complaining about and to know whether there is a legal basis for recovery. See Twombly v. Bell. 425 F.3d 99, 106 (2d Cir. 2005) (defining "fair notice" as '"that which will enable the adverse party to answer and prepare for trial, allow the application of res judicata, and identify the nature of the case so that it may be assigned the proper form of trial/") (quoting Simmons v. Abruzzo,49 F.3d 83, 86 (2d Cir. 1995)). ...

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