United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION & ORDER
A. ENGELMAYER, DISTRICT JUDGE.
Aneudys Carmelo Estevez brings this action against defendants
S & P Sales and Trucking LLC ("S & P"),
Kersia Corporation d/b/a Good-0 Beverage Company
("Good-0"), and Richard Hahn ("Hahn")
(collectively, "defendants") under 42 U.S.C. §
1981 ("Section 1981"), the Fair Labor Standards
Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq.
("FLSA"), the New York Labor Law
("NYLL"), and the New York City Human Rights Law,
New York City Administrative Code § 8-101 et
seq. ("NYCHRL"). Estevez alleges that, in
connection with his employment or its termination, the
defendants unlawfully engaged in racial and national origin
discrimination; failed to pay him overtime wages; retaliated
against him based on his involvement in a protected activity;
and failed to pay him for unused vacation and sick time.
Before the Court is defendants' motion to dismiss the
claims of racial discrimination (brought under Section 1981
and the NYCHRL) and national origin discrimination (brought
under the NYCHRL). For the following reasons, the motion is
owned by Hahn, distributes Good-0 brand soft drinks. Am.
Compl. ¶ 30. Good-O's distribution center and
principal place of business is 1801 Boone Ave., Bronx, New
York ("the Bronx Warehouse"). Around 2011, Hahn
founded S & P, which conducted Good-O's transport
operations. Id. ¶ 32. During the relevant
period, Hahn, as the Chief Executive Officer of both Good-0
and S&P, made final personnel decisions, including with
respect to hiring and firing. Id. ¶ 18, 22,
25-26. Estevez alleges that Good-0, S&P, and Hahn-the
three defendants here-were joint employers.
is of Hispanic race and Dominican national origin.
Id. ¶ 28. In or before 2006, Estevez began
working as a truck driver at the Bronx Warehouse for Good-0.
Id. ¶¶ 29, 31. After S&P was founded
in 2011, Estevez's paychecks came from S&P.
Id. ¶ 32.
2013, defendants changed Estevez's responsibilities to
that of a warehouse clerical worker; although defendants
called him a "Warehouse Manager, " Estevez did not
have any managerial responsibilities. Id. ¶ 33,
35-36. He continued to work out of the Bronx Warehouse.
Id. ¶ 34. His supervisor was Joseph Pignatella
("Pignatella"), who also made decisions regarding
hiring and firing, promotion and demotion on defendants'
behalf Id. ¶ 34.
around September 29, 2016, defendants terminated
Estevez's employment. They alleged that he had been
involved in a scheme to sell wooden pallets belonging to
them. Id. ¶ 43. Estevez's responsibilities
were transferred to two individuals: Keith Vera
("Vera"), a Portuguese individual believed by
Estevez to be American-born, and "Mike, " an
Italian-American, whose last name is not alleged.
Id. ¶ 47. At all relevant times, defendants
employed another "Warehouse Manager, " Joseph
Pignatella Jr. ("Pignatella Jr."), a native-born
American of Italian origin. Id. ¶ 45-46.
Estevez alleges that although Pignatella Jr. stole a
significant amount of cash from the joint employers, they did
not terminate him. Id. ¶ 45. Pignatella Jr.
appears to be Pignatella's son. See Dkt. 16
("Defs' Br.") at 6; Dkt 24 ("Pl's
Opp.") at 7.
filed the initial complaint on March 8, 2017. Dkt. 1. In
pertinent part, it claimed that defendants' termination
of Estevez was an act of racial discrimination under Section
1981 and the NYLL and national origin discrimination under
the NYCHRL. On May 31, 2017, after defendants moved to
dismiss these claims, Dkt. 11, Estevez filed the Amended
Complaint. Dkt. 12. On June 23, 2017, defendants again moved
to dismiss these claims, Dkts. 21-22. On June 26, 2017,
Estevez filed an opposition. Pl's Opp. On July 5, 2017,
defendants filed a reply. Dkt. 25 ("Defs' Reply
Legal Standards on a Motion to Dismiss
survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint
must plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that
is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A claim will only
have "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." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). A complaint is properly dismissed where, as a matter
of law, "the allegations in a complaint, however true,
could not raise a claim of entitlement to relief"
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 558. For the purpose of
resolving the motion to dismiss, the Court must assume all
well-pled facts to be true, drawing all reasonable inferences
in favor of the plaintiff See Koch, 699 F.3d at 145
(2d Cir. 2012). However, that tenet "is inapplicable to
legal conclusions." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A
pleading that offers only "labels and conclusions"
or "a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action will not do." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
Racial Discrimination ...