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Singa v. Corizon Health, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. New York

January 8, 2018

SAROJA SINGA, Plaintiff,


          Brian M. Cogan, U.S.D.J.

         Plaintiff Saroja Singa brings this national-origin employment-discrimination case under Title VII and state and local law, alleging that she was discriminated against, subjected to a hostile work environment, and retaliated against for complaining about the alleged discrimination.[1] Defendant Corizon Health, Inc., has moved to dismiss plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to plead sufficient facts to state a claim in her amended complaint. With respect to her federal and state claims, plaintiff has not stated a claim, and those claims are therefore dismissed. I decline to exercise subject-matter jurisdiction over plaintiff's remaining claims under New York City law.


         The arguably factual and non-conclusory allegations of the amended complaint are as follows: Plaintiff is a physician of Indian descent. She began working for defendant as a doctor in 2001, when defendant took over the contract for supplying medical services at Rikers Island (presumably with the New York City Department of Corrections, although that is not alleged). Before then, plaintiff had worked in the same capacity at Rikers Island, but the prior contractor (her prior employer) was St. Barnabas Hospital.

         Plaintiff had no problems until 2011, when defendant adopted a new computer system for maintaining medical records. Before plaintiff could complete her training on the new system, as all medical staff were required to do, she was transferred to the Communicable Disease Unit (“CDU”). The CDU is a highly desired assignment for Rikers Island staff physicians.

         Plaintiff's supervisor in the CDU was Dr. Aung (first name unknown), who is of Chinese-Burmese descent. On plaintiff's first day in the CDU, Dr. Aung ignored her when she greeted him. After joining the CDU, plaintiff was placed on a performance improvement plan for the new computer program. Plaintiff did not complete the training for the new computer system under Dr. Aung during her first six months, but she eventually completed the training in only six hours under another supervisor.

         There were other Chinese-speaking personnel in the CDU, and Dr. Aung would speak to them in Chinese, which plaintiff did not understand. From 2011 to 2015, Dr. Aung gave plaintiff bad write-ups that she feels she did not deserve. (They are described in some detail in the amended complaint.). Some of these write-ups were rescinded when plaintiff proved to Dr. Aung that he was wrong. On one occasion, plaintiff was written up for prescribing Tylenol and Naprosyn for a patient; another doctor, Dr. Maungoo, who is of Chinese-Burmese descent, had previously made the same prescription for the patient, but was not written up. On another occasion, Dr. Maungoo replaced an oral methadone prescription with injectable methadone, which would have threatened the patient's life had nurses not caught the error. Dr. Aung did not write up Dr. Maungoo for this mistake. On another occasion, plaintiff was written up for ordering x-rays for a patient; Dr. Aung rescinded the write-up when plaintiff showed that she had not ordered the x-rays, but Dr. Aung did not write up the (unnamed) Chinese-Burmese doctor who had ordered them.

         On one occasion, plaintiff was assigned to four different units in an 8-hour shift (this is apparently called “floating, ” and is allegedly dangerous because each unit is managed differently with slightly different procedures), which did not happen to any other doctors. On two occasions, plaintiff's assigned shift was reassigned to Dr. Win (first name unknown), who is of Chinese-Burmese descent, and plaintiff had to float. On many (unspecified) occasions, plaintiff had to float for more than half of her weekly shift, and sometimes in the middle of her shift.

         Plaintiff repeatedly requested overtime work, which Dr. Aung denied, but gave to (unnamed) physicians of Chinese-Burmese descent. One such doctor was able to double his original shifts, and Dr. Maungoo and Dr. Win received overtime on a weekly basis.

         Dr. Aung did not permit plaintiff to use his office. Other (unnamed) non-Indian doctors were allowed to use his office.

         Plaintiff made several complaints that Dr. Aung was giving (unspecified) preferential treatment to Burmese doctors. The first was on March 21, 2014, sent to “management.” On June 28, 2015, plaintiff sent an email complaining “of the above discriminatory treatment, ” again to “management.” On August 2, 2015, she complained to Dr. Cintron (first name and position unknown) that Dr. Aung was denying overtime to doctors who were not of Chinese-Burmese descent. In response to this last complaint, defendant's Department of Human Resources scheduled a meeting between plaintiff, Dr. Aung, and Dr. Aung's (unnamed) supervisors. At the meeting, the supervisors “actually stood up, ” and walked out, saying that plaintiff was “picking on” Dr. Aung. No. action came of the meeting.

         Defendant's contract with the Department of Corrections ended on December 20, 2015. A new contractor (unnamed, but apparently the New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation) took over the medical-services contract at Rikers Island. Most of defendant's workers at Riker's Island were re-hired by the new provider, but plaintiff was not one of them.[2]


         Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009), and Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007), require a plaintiff seeking to avoid dismissal to plead factual allegations in her complaint sufficient to raise a right to relief above the speculative level. See also Brown v. Daikin America, Inc., 756 F.3d 219, 228 n.10 (2d Cir. 2014). A complaint must allege “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Starr v. Sony BMG ...

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