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Smith v. Town of Ramapo

United States District Court, S.D. New York

July 12, 2017

RAYMOND K. SMITH, Plaintiff,
v.
TOWN OF RAMAPO, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Vincent L. Briccetti United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Raymond K. Smith, a police officer for the Town of Ramapo Police Department (the “Police Department”), claims that defendant Town of Ramapo discriminated against him in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the “ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.

         Before the Court is defendant's Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings. (Doc. #27).

         For the reasons set forth below, the motion is GRANTED.

         The Court has subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

         BACKGROUND

         For purposes of deciding the pending motion, the Court accepts as true all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint and attached exhibits, and draws all reasonable inferences in plaintiff's favor.

         According to the complaint, defendant has employed plaintiff as a police officer since 2003. “On July 12, 2014, plaintiff sustained a serious injury to his right shoulder while performing his duties as a police officer.” (Compl. ¶ 4). The “injury consisted of a torn labrum, torn rotator cuff and broken glenoid and has severely limited plaintiff's ability to use his arm and shoulder.” (Id. ¶ 5). Treatments, including surgery, have been ineffective in remedying plaintiff's limitations.

         Because of his shoulder injury, plaintiff cannot work as a police officer, and defendant has not assigned him to light-duty responsibilities. Defendant has, however, approved plaintiff's status as a police officer who suffered a disabling work-related injury under New York General Municipal Law § 207-c. Despite plaintiff's inability to work, defendant continues to assign him to one of the Police Department's three rotating shifts and requires “plaintiff to remain in his residence during the hours his shift is on duty . . . except if[, ] as needed[, ] to see a doctor, go to the grocery store or attend religious services.” (Compl. ¶¶ 11, 14). If plaintiff leaves his residence during his shift for these purposes, defendant requires plaintiff to call the Police Department before leaving from and upon return to his residence. Until May 7, 2016, defendant did not allow plaintiff to avoid these obligations by using leave time plaintiff accrued before his injury, and defendant did not allow plaintiff to avoid these obligations through bereavement leave following plaintiff's father-in-law's death.

         As of May 7, 2016, defendant began allowing plaintiff to request time off, but still requires him to submit various information in conjunction with his request, including “his route of travels, his destination and other information not required of non-disabled officers.” (Compl. ¶ 25). Allegedly, non-disabled officers are not subject to these requirements.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Legal Standard

         Pursuant to Rule 12(c), at any time after the pleadings are closed, but before trial commences, a party may move for judgment on the pleadings. The legal standard applicable to a Rule 12(c) motion is identical to the standard for a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Hayden v. Paterson, 594 F.3d 150, 160 (2d Cir. 2010). Accordingly, in deciding a motion under Rule 12(c), the Court evaluates the sufficiency of the complaint under the “two-pronged approach” announced by the Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009). First, plaintiff's legal conclusions and “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, ” are not entitled to the assumption of truth and are thus not sufficient to withstand a motion for a judgment on the pleadings. See id. at 678. Second, “[w]hen there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.” See id. at 679.

         To survive a Rule 12(c) motion, the allegations in the complaint must meet a standard of “plausibility.” See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; see also Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 564 (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.” See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. “The plausibility standard is not akin to a ...


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