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Jiggetts v. United Parcel Service

United States District Court, S.D. New York

March 27, 2017

James Jiggetts,
United Parcel Service et al., Defendants.


          ALISON J. NATHAN, District Judge

         Before the Court are two motions to dismiss pro se Plaintiff James Jiggetts's Second Amended Complaint, filed by Defendant Mohanie Sukhu, see Dkt. No. 37; Dkt. No. 38 (hereafter "Sukhu MTD"), and Defendants United Parcel Service ("UPS"), John Mannion, and Doug Trandiak (collectively, the "UPS Defendants"), see Dkt. No. 39; see also Dkt. No. 41 (hereafter "UPS MTD"). For the reasons that follow, the motions to dismiss are GRANTED.

         I. Procedural History and Background

         A. Relevant Procedural History

         On October 10, 2014, pro se Plaintiff James Jiggetts filed a Complaint against some, but not all, of the Defendants in this action, alleging, with almost no factual specificity, violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq, the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq., the New York State Labor Laws, N.Y. Lab. Law §§ 650, et seq., and the Contracts Clause of the United States Constitution, Art. I, § 10, CI. 1. See Dkt. No. 1. On January 6, 2015, Chief Judge Preska dismissed that Complaint sua sponte, on the ground that the "allegations [were] so unclear and without factual detail that the Court [could not] discern whether Plaintiff ha[d] stated a plausible claim for relief, " and that the Court could not "understand what Plaintiffs federal claims [were]." Dkt. No. 4 at 3. Thereafter, the Plaintiff, with leave of the Court, filed his First Amended Complaint. See Dkt. No. 5. The Defendants moved to dismiss that complaint on the grounds that it was indecipherable and that the Plaintiff had not provided a right to sue letter from the EEOC. See Dkt. No. 19. The Plaintiff thereafter filed what he denoted an opposition to the Defendants' motion, see Dkt. No. 27, but which the Court construed as a Second Amended Complaint, Dkt. No. 28. On March 23, 2016, the Court administratively denied the pending motion to dismiss and deemed the Second Amended Complaint the operative complaint in this case. See id.; see also Dkt. No. 27 (hereafter "Amended Complaint" or "Am. Compl."). Sukhu moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint on April 20, 2016, Dkt. No. 37, and the UPS Defendants moved to dismiss on April 25, 2016, Dkt. No. 39.

         B. The Amended Complaint

         In his Amended Complaint, the Plaintiff cites a number of federal statutes, pursuant to which he purports to bring claims. He cites the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq.; the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1001, etseq.; the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, etseq.; 42 U.S.C. § 1983; the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act ("OWBPA"), 29 U.S.C. § 626(f); and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 42 U.S.C. § 621, e/ seq. See Am. Compl. at 6-8. The Plaintiff also makes several ambiguous references to additional legal regimes. See Am. Compl. at 3 (citing to "the C.F.R. 48, Chapter 54, Subchapter 8b on the right of the employee regarding whistleblower rights"); id. at 6 (noting that Plaintiffs "NYS Civil Rights Laws of Article 4-7, Sects.74-77 have been called into question . . . along with [his] NYS, Labor Rights-260-j").

         The text of the Amended Complaint itself is largely devoid of factual allegations in support of these claims. Jiggetts, however, also attaches to the Amended Complaint a letter he purportedly sent to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on June 12, 2014, in connection with a pending charge. See Am. Compl. at 26-35; see also Leonard F. v. Israel Discount Bank of N.Y., 199 F.3d 99, 107 (2d Cir. 1999) (stating that courts may consider facts in documents appended to the complaint in deciding a motion to dismiss). Plaintiff does not identify the date that he made that charge to the EEOC, or allege anywhere in his Amended Complaint which specific allegations or claims he made to the EEOC. See generally Am. Compl. He has provided, however, a right to sue letter arising out of the otherwise unidentified charge. See Dkt. No. 42, Ex. O.[1]

         In the letter, Plaintiff alleges that he worked for UPS for 26 years prior to his termination. See Am. Compl. 26. He claims that, over those 26 years, white male employees were promoted over him, often despite lacking the requisite qualifications for the positions or otherwise having violated company policies, and that his complaints about such treatment were either ignored or met with hostility. See Id. at 26-30. He also alleges that he was an insulin-dependent diabetic, but that, at various points over a span of 10 years, managers at UPS forced him to work night shifts, which he was unable to do without compromising his health, at times in retaliation for complaints he made of racial discrimination. See Id. at 27-30. Plaintiff claims that at least one white, Irish male coworker received "special provisions" for his diabetes, but that the same was not offered to Plaintiff. Id. at 27.

         In 2011, Plaintiff alleges that his manager at the time, a white male who Plaintiff claims had previously been terminated for a violent altercation in the workplace, called Plaintiff a derogatory racial name. Id. at 28-29. When Plaintiff complained of the incident to management, he alleges that he was told that the manager denied making any inappropriate statement. Id. Shortly after this meeting, Plaintiff was not given a raise for the first time in his 24 years at UPS, as a result of a bad performance review he received from the manager in question. Id. at 29. Plaintiff thereafter filed a charge with the EEOC - an earlier charge from that preceding the present lawsuit. Id. at 29.[2]

         At some point thereafter, Plaintiff began to work under Kathy Bresnahan, a white woman. Id. at 29. Plaintiff alleges that under Bresnahan's tenure, Plaintiff was again forced to work the night shift, although he alleges that Jim Fitzgerald, the head of the Department where Plaintiff worked, was aware that Plaintiff was an insulin-dependent diabetic and "that the A.D.A. said [he] could not work nights." Id. at 30. Plaintiff does not specify precisely when this event occurred, or whether he complained of the treatment (as he had previously done). Id.

         After working for Bresnahan, Plaintiff was assigned (at an unspecified date) to work for John Mannion, a white Irish male who supervised Plaintiff in the Loss Prevention and Security Department. Id. at 27, 30. Plaintiff claims that Mannion was promoted over several people who were not white males in loss prevention, though Plaintiff alleges that these people had been in the department longer and "yielded very good results." Id. at 27. Plaintiff also alleges that Mannion had previously quit UPS to seek an outside opportunity, but that Mannion had been rehired, despite a custom of not hiring such individuals back, and ultimately given a supervisory position over non-white employees. Id. In August 2013, Mannion informed Plaintiff that he was not getting a raise, and that Mannion was "not recommending [Plaintiff] to get [his] stock." Id. at 30.

         In August 2013, Plaintiff alleges that he was falsely accused of sexual assault by a security guard, Mohanie Sukhu, who worked for a company called "Adelis Security." Id. at 30. After the accusation, Plaintiff alleges that Mannion and Doug Trandiak, UPS's human resources manager, put Plaintiff on a leave of absence status, without his permission, resulting in his losing medical benefits for 30 days. Id. at 32. Plaintiff spoke to human resources and Mr. Trandiak, neither of whom restored his benefits. Id. In a meeting that took place on September 13 of either 2013 or 2014, [3] Mannion, and Trandiak informed Plaintiff he was being terminated "for violation of [UPS's] Anti-Harassment Policy." Id. After he was terminated, Plaintiff sought relief through the Employee Dispute Resolution process, but UPS "den[ied him] the chance to go to Arbitration, " the final step of that process. Id. at 32-33.

         In his letter to the EEOC, Plaintiff asserts that the choice to terminate him was motivated by discriminatory animus, on the basis of Plaintiff s race, and retaliatory animus, on the basis of his complaints about racial discrimination. Id. at 33-34. He alleges that Trandiak and Mannion used Sukhu's complaint as pretense to fire the Plaintiff. Id. at 34-35. Plaintiff also alleges that, as result of his termination, he will not be able to collect his pension until the age of 62, whereas he would otherwise have been eligible to collect his pension at the age of 55. Id. at 34. Plaintiff notes that, by firing him, UPS "save[d] on paying [his] pension and benefits for 10 years." Id. Plaintiff also alleges that, because of his termination, he had to pay $500 monthly premiums for "COBRA [Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act] coverage, " and that "[UPS] cashed some of the checks that [he] sent in and some they did not cash, " resulting in the termination of Plaintiff s benefit coverage. Id. at 33.

         II. Discussion

         A. Legal Standard

         To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal,556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting BellAtl Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is facially plausible "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. 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." Id. If a complaint "pleads facts that are 'merely consistent with' a ...

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