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Braxton v. TWU Local 100

United States District Court, S.D. New York

December 21, 2017

ROBERT BRAXTON, Plaintiff,
v.
TWU LOCAL 100, TRACEY YOUNG, JOSE CASTRO, and RICHARD DAVIS, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          J. PAUL OETKEN, DISTRICT JUDGE:

         Plaintiff Robert Braxton brings this action against Defendants Transport Workers Union Local 100 (“TWU”), Tracey Young, Jose Castro, and Richard Davis for alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12112 et seq. Defendants move to dismiss Braxton's Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. (Dkt. No. 13.) For the reasons that follow, Defendants' motion is granted.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, filed pro se, is sparse on factual allegations. The Court has pieced together the following facts from Braxton's Amended Complaint and his Notice of Right to Sue letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), which was attached to the complaint. The factual allegations in these documents are presumed true for purposes of deciding the motion to dismiss.

         Robert Braxton was employed as a bus operator by the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“MTA”). (Dkt. No. 5 (“FAC”) at 7.) At some point during his employment, Braxton took leave to have knee replacement surgery on his right knee. (FAC at 8‒ 9.) Braxton returned to work on May 27, 2015, at which time he was assigned to work as a “caretaker.” (FAC at 9.) Braxton states that his “doctor has written letters” indicating that Braxton should be “sedentary with bearing as needed” and that Braxton should do “no commercial driving.” (FAC at 9.)

         Braxton continued working as a caretaker until October 21, 2015, at which time Defendant Tracey Young, a representative[1] of TWU, informed Braxton that he could no longer work as a caretaker. (FAC at 3, 9.) Braxton alleges that on October 26, 2015, Young “took [him] off the schedule and replaced [him] with two operators who did not have any disabilities.” (FAC at 3, 9.) Braxton then contacted Jose Castellon, [2] another union representative, [3] who informed Braxton that Young had gone “over his head and spoke[n] to Richard Davis, ” Vice President of TWU Local 100. (FAC at 3, 5.) Castellon told Braxton that Braxton was removed because his “union dues were not up to date.” (FAC at 9.) Braxton then called Davis, but Davis refused to speak with him. (FAC at 3.) Braxton has not worked since that day. (FAC at 3.)

         Braxton filed this lawsuit in December 2016. (Dkt. No. 2.) The allegations contained in Braxton's original complaint, however, were “conclusory claims of discrimination” that the Court concluded were “insufficient to state a claim under the ADA.” (Dkt. No. 4 at 4.) The Court directed Braxton to file an amended complaint “providing any facts from which an inference can be made that [any defendant] discriminated or retaliated against him based on his disability.” (Id.) The Order informed Braxton that his amended complaint “must provide a short and plain statement of the relevant facts supporting each claim against each defendant” and warned Braxton that “[b]ecause [his] amended complaint will completely replace, not supplement, the original complaint, any facts or claims that [he] wishes to maintain must be included in the amended complaint.” (Id. at 5.)

         Braxton filed the Amended Complaint in March 2017, and Defendants moved to dismiss. (See Dkt. No. 13.) Despite a warning from the Court, Braxton failed to file an opposition to Defendants' motion to dismiss. (See Dkt. No. 18.)

         II. Legal Standard

         When considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, courts “must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint, ” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 572 (2007) (quoting Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N. A., 534 U.S. 506, 508 n.1 (2002)), and must draw “all inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party[], ” In re NYSE Specialists Sec. Litig., 503 F.3d 89, 95 (2d Cir. 2007) (Sotomayor, J.). The Court is obliged to construe pro se pleadings liberally, see Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 72 (2d Cir. 2009), and to interpret them “to raise the strongest [claims] that they suggest, ” Triestman v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471, 474 (2d Cir. 2006) (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Pabon v. Wright, 459 F.3d 241, 248 (2d Cir. 2006)).

         However, any complaint-even one filed by a pro se plaintiff-“must contain . . . a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). “To survive a motion to dismiss [under Rule 12(b)(6)], a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter . . . to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.

         Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). A claim is plausible on its face only “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id.

         III. Discussion

         The Amended Complaint asserts a claim under the ADA against Defendants for (1) failing to accommodate Braxton's disability, and (2) retaliating against him. (FAC at 2.) Braxton has named four defendants: TWU Local 100 and three individual TWU ...


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