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Adejare v. St. Charles Hospital & Rehabilitation Center

United States District Court, E.D. New York

June 13, 2017


          LAW OFFICE OF OSITA OKOCHA, P.C., Attorney for Plaintiff, By: Osita Emmanuel Okocha, Esq.

          SHEPPARD MULLIN RICHTER & HAMPTON, LLP Attorneys for Defendant, By: Kevin James Smith, Esq.


          Denis R. Hurley Unites States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Oluwabunmi Adejare (“plaintiff” or “Adejare”) brings this action asserting that defendants St. Charles Hospital & Rehabilitation Center (“St. Charles”), Maureen Morris (“Morris”), and Nancy Ladika (“Ladika”), (collectively “defendants”) committed “unlawful employment practices on the basis of race, sex, national origin, hostile work environment, retaliation and disability, ” (Compl. ¶ 1), pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1967, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. § 1981, the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12182 et seq., the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794, and the New York State Human Rights Law (“NYHRL”), Executive Law § 296 (Compl. ¶¶ 1-2). Presently before the Court is defendants' motion to dismiss these claims pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule”) 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. For the reasons set forth below, defendants' motion is granted.


         The following facts are taken from plaintiff's Complaint.

         Plaintiff is a female African American of Nigerian nationality formerly employed by St. Charles. At all relevant times, Maureen Morris was the Director of Human Resources at St. Charles and Nancy Ladika was the “Night Supervisor, ” though the Complaint does not contain any further description of her supervisory function. The Complaint also does not provide any further description of plaintiff's employment. For example, it does not state the type of job plaintiff held and for how long she held it.

         Plaintiff alleges that she was injured at her job, but that defendants “made no disability accommodation.” (Compl. ¶ 12.) The Complaint does not provide any details about what type of injury plaintiff sustained or the type of accommodation she sought. Plaintiff claims that she was “shocked and horrified by the way Defendants treated her and as a result [she] suffered emotional distress.” (Id. ¶ 13.) According to the Complaint, defendants terminated plaintiff's employment on or about July 25, 2014.[1]


         I. Standard of Review for Motion to Dismiss

         In deciding a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a court should “draw all reasonable inferences in Plaintiff['s] favor, assume all well-pleaded factual allegations to be true, and determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.” Faber v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 648 F.3d 98, 104 (2d Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks omitted). The plausibility standard is guided by two principles. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)); accord Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 71-72 (2d Cir. 2009). First, the principle that a court must accept all allegations as true is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Thus, “threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Although “legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations.” Id. at 679. A plaintiff must provide facts sufficient to allow each named 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, 550 U.S. at 555. Second, only complaints that state a “plausible claim for relief” can survive a motion to dismiss. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. “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. The plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability requirement, ' but asks for more than a sheer possibility that defendant acted unlawfully. 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. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556-57) (internal citations omitted); see In re Elevator Antitrust Litig., 502 F.3d 47, 50 (2d Cir. 2007). Determining whether a complaint plausibly states a claim for relief is “a context specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679; accord Harris, 572 F.3d at 72.

         II. Plaintiff's Title VII, ADA, § 1981, Rehabilitation Act, and NYHRL Claims

         Title VII prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Title VII discrimination claims are analyzed under the burden-shifting framework set forth in McDonnell Douglas Corporation v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973). Under McDonnell Douglas and its progeny, a plaintiff must first establish a prima facie case of discrimination by showing that: (1) he belonged to a protected class, (2) was qualified for the position he held or sought, and (3) suffered an adverse employment action (4) under circumstances giving rise to an inference of discriminatory intent. Terry v. Ashcroft, 336 F.3d 128, 137-38 (2d Cir. 2003). If the plaintiff establishes a prima facie case, the burden then shifts to the employer to "articulate some legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for [the adverse act]." Leibowitz v. Cornell Univ., 584 F.3d 487, 499 (2d Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Should the employer satisfy its burden, the McDonnell Douglas framework and its presumptions and burdens disappear, leaving the sole remaining issue of "discrimination vel non." See Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 143 (2000).

         However, at the motion to dismiss stage, “a plaintiff is not required to plead a prima facie case under McDonnell Douglas, at least as the test was originally formulated.” Vega v. Hempstead Union Free Sch. Dist., 801 F.3d 72, 84 (2d Cir. 2015). Rather, “a plaintiff need only give plausible support to a minimal inference of discriminatory motivation.” Id. (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). However, a plaintiff “must at a minimum assert nonconclusory factual matter sufficient to nudge its claims across the line from conceivable ...

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