United States District Court, S.D. New York
Attorney for Plaintiff Plaintiff, pro se Careema Watson
Attorney for Defendant ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN Attorney General
of the State of New York By: David P. Holgado
W. SWEET U.S.D.J.
New York State Department of Motor Vehicles ("DMV"
or the "Defendant") has moved pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b) (1) to dismiss the complaint of Plaintiff
Careema Watson ("Watson" or the
"Plaintiff") (the "Complaint") for lack
of subject matter jurisdiction. The Complaint alleges that
the DMV violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42
U.S.C. §§ 12112-17 ("ADA"), the New York
State Human Rights Law, N.Y. Exec. L. §§ 290-97
("NYSHRL"), and the New York City Human Rights Law,
N.Y. City Admin. Code §§ 8-101-131
("NYCHRL"). (See Compl. at 1, Dkt. 2.)
Specifically, Watson alleges that the DMV failed to
accommodate her alleged disability of epilepsy and lupus and
proceeded to wrongfully terminate her employment.
(See Compl. at 2, 9, 12-13.) For the following
reasons, the Defendant's motion is granted and the
Complaint is dismissed with leave to replead within 20 days.
filed the instant Complaint on September 26, 2016. (Dkt. 2.)
On February 14, 2017, Defendant moved the instant motion to
dismiss. (Dkt. 9.) The motion was taken on submission and
marked fully submitted on April 21, 2017.
inquiry on a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1) concerns whether the
district court has the statutory or constitutional power to
adjudicate the case." Jackson v. N.Y.S. Dep't of
Labor, 709 F.Supp.2d 218, 223 (S.D.N.Y. 2010) (citing
Makarova v. United States, 201 F.3d 110, 113 (2d
Cir. 2000)). "[J]urisdiction must be shown
affirmatively, and that showing is not made by drawing from
the pleadings inferences favorable to the party asserting
it." Id. (quoting Shipping Fin. Servs.
Corp. v. Drakos, 140 F.3d 129, 131 (2d Cir. 1998)).
Complaint Is Dismissed With Leave To Replead
Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution
precludes federal courts from entertaining lawsuits by
individuals against the States and state agencies. Kimel
v. Fla. Bd. of Regents, 528 U.S. 62, 72-73 (2000);
Seminole Tribe v. Fla., 517 U.S. 44, 54 (1996);
Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 276 (1986);
Pennhurst State Sch. & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465
U.S. 89, 100 (1984) (state agencies are entitled to sovereign
immunity). New York State has neither waived, nor has
Congress abrogated, New York States' immunity with
respect to claims arising from the ADA, NYSHRL, or HYCHRL-the
very claims that constitute the instant Complaint. See
Nicolae v. Office of Vocational & Educ. Servs. for
Individuals with Disabilities, 257 Fed.App'x 455,
456-57 (2d Cir. 2007) (citations omitted) (upholding
dismissal of ADA claim for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction); Jackson v. NYS Pep't of Labor,
709 F.Supp.2d 218, 226 (S.D.N.Y. 2010) (holding the same for
claims brought under the NYSHRL and NYCHRL). As the DMV is a
state entity for purposes of Eleventh Amendment immunity, and
the Complaint has only been brought against the DMV, the
Complaint must be dismissed. See O'Diah v.
N.Y.C, No. 02 Civ. 274 (DLC), 2002 WL 1941179, at *6
(S.D.N.Y. Aug. 21, 2002) (collecting cases).
leave to amend should be freely given, and a pro se
litigant in particular should be afforded every reasonable
opportunity to demonstrate that he has a valid claim."
Nielsen v. Rabin, 746 F.3d 58, 62 (2d Cir. 2014)
(quoting Matima v. Celli, 228 F.3d 68, 81 (2d Cir.
2000)). "A pro se complaint should not be
dismissed without the Court granting leave to amend at least
once when a liberal reading of the complaint gives any
indication that a valid claim might be stated."
Id. (quoting Chavis v. Chappius, 618 F.3d
162, 170 (2d Cir. 2010)). Taking into account Plaintiff's
pro se status and the nature of her claims, the
Court grants Plaintiff leave to replead within 20 days.
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a) (2) (A court "should
freely give leave" to amend "when justice so
requires."). Any future repleading should show that this
Court may exercise subject matter jurisdiction over the
claims, such as by naming in the complaint individual
defendants responsible for unlawful actions alleged and
specifying the factual basis for any claim made. See Ying
Jing Gan v. City of N.Y., 996 F.3d 522, 529 (2d Cir.
1993) ("As to a claim brought against [a state official]
in his individual capacity . . . the state official has no
Eleventh Amendment immunity.").
foregoing reasons, Defendant's motion to dismiss is
granted and Plaintiff is granted ...