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Freeman v. Kirisits

United States District Court, W.D. New York

May 18, 2017

Dwayne Freeman, Plaintiff,
v.
Christopher Kirisits, Phil Griffin, Colomba Misseritti, Doug Lee, Cynthia Crowell, Linda Gray, Lidia Colak, Thomas Rinaldo, Andrew Cuomo, and Rochester Psychiatric Center, Defendants.

          DECISION AND ORDER

          MICHAEL A. TELESCA United States District Judge.

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff Dwayne Freeman (“plaintiff” or “Freeman”), former employee of defendant Rochester Psychiatric Center (“RPC”), an agency of the New York State Office of Mental Health (“OMH”), brings this pro se action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C.A. § 701 et seq., seeking monetary, declaratory and injunctive relief for violations of his federal civil rights. The complaint alleges that plaintiff was unlawfully suspended without paid and later terminated after he requested a reasonable accommodation to be exempt from working in RPC's geriatric unit because it exacerbated his documented anxiety disorder.

         Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on December 2, 2016. For the reasons stated in the Court's February 6, 2017 Decision and Order (Docket No. 17), it denied defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's employment discrimination claim pursuant to § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act against defendant RPC only and granted the motion to dismiss the complaint in all other respects. On March 3, 2017, plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration of the Court's Decision and Order (Docket No. 24), a motion to amend the complaint (Docket No. 23), and a motion to modify his motion to amend by adding a declaration clause (Docket No. 25).

         II. Factual Background

         The parties' familiarity with the facts and history of this case, which are set forth more thoroughly in the Court's February 6, 2017 Decision and Order, is assumed.

         Plaintiff was employed by RPC as a Mental Hygiene Therapy Aide from July 3, 2000 to April 18, 2016. Plaintiff asserts that he developed an anxiety disorder related to working conditions and events that had occurred when he was assigned to the geriatric unit (or “E-1 Unit”). In January or February 2015, plaintiff submitted a written request for a “reasonable accommodation” that relieved him of any duties on the E-1 Unit, at the recommendation of his therapist. His therapist opined that plaintiff was at risk of having angry outbursts if he was subjected to working with the geriatric residents.

         On February 3, 2015, plaintiff refused several orders to report to the E-1 Unit and requested to be assigned to another unit. He was questioned in the Personnel Office and sent home later that day. On February 19, 2015, plaintiff was informed that he was being suspended without pay pending the outcome of a termination proceeding resulting from his insubordination. In his complaint, plaintiff alleges that all charges related to his alleged insubordination were based on documented medical reasons.

         Following notice of the disciplinary charges against him, both an expedited hearing and a full-length pre-termination hearing were held. Plaintiff was found guilty of insubordination as charged, and he was ultimately terminated by RPC. Plaintiff filed an action against RPC and several individual RPC employees on October 11, 2016, alleging various violations of his procedural and substantive due rights, the Equal Protection Clause, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

         III. Discussion

         A. Motion to Reconsider

         The standard for granting a motion for reconsideration is strict and will generally be denied “unless the moving party can point to controlling decisions or data that the court overlooked.” Shrader v. CSX Transp., Inc., 70 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995).

         The Court has throughly considered the arguments raised by plaintiff in his motion and notes that they were previously raised in his original memorandum of law in response to defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint. It is well settled that “a motion to reconsider should not be granted where the moving party seeks solely to relitigate an issue already decided." Shrader, 70 F.3d at 257. Not only is plaintiff seeking to relitigate issues that have already been reviewed by this Court, the motion to reconsider does not assert any controlling decisions or data overlooked by the Court that could “reasonably be expected to alter the conclusion reached” in its Decision and Order. Shrader, 70 F.3d at 257.

         Consequently, Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration of the Court's February ...


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