United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION AND ORDER
se plaintiff Shaneis Mardia Garcia brings this action
pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
(“ADA”) against Kings County Hospital Center and
Melissa Walters, alleging employment discrimination and
retaliation on the basis of her disability. Before the Court
is Defendants' motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons discussed below,
Defendants' motion to dismiss is GRANTED.
submissions are poorly written and poorly organized. However,
the Court remains obligated to construe a pro se
complaint liberally, Hill v. Curcione, 657 F.3d 116,
122 (2d Cir. 2011), and to interpret a pro se
plaintiff's claims as raising the strongest arguments
that they suggest. Triestman v. Federal Bureau of
Prisons, 470 F.3d 471, 474 (2d Cir. 2006). The
obligation to be lenient while reading a pro se
plaintiff's pleadings “applies with particular
force when the plaintiff's civil rights are at
issue.” Jackson v. N.Y.S. Department of Labor,
709 F.Supp.2d 218, 224 (S.D.N.Y. 2010) (citing McEachin
v. McGuinnis, 357 F.3d 197, 200 (2d Cir. 2004)). With
these principles in mind, the Court accepts the following
allegations from Plaintiff's complaint
(“Compl.”) and Opposition to Defendants'
Motion to Dismiss (“Pl.'s Opp.”) as true for
purposes of this motion. See Koch v. Christie's
International PLC, 699 F.3d 141, 145 (2d Cir. 2012);
Vail v. City of New York, 68 F.Supp.3d 412, 427
(S.D.N.Y. 2014) (“Where new allegations in a pro
se plaintiff's opposition memoranda are consistent
with the allegations contained in the Complaint, they may be
read as supplements to the pleadings.”) (citation and
internal quotation marks omitted). In addition, the Court
considers Plaintiff's filings with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). See
Littlejohn v. City of New York, 795 F.3d 297, 305 n.3
(2d Cir. 2015) (“In reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to
dismiss, ‘it is proper for this court to consider the
plaintiff[']s relevant filings with the EEOC and other
documents related to plaintiff's claim, even if they are
not attached to the complaint, so long as those filings are
either ‘incorporate[d] by reference' or are
‘integral to' and ‘solely relie[d]' upon
by the complaint.”) (citation omitted).
was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1997. Compl. at
On October 6, 2014, she was hired by the New York City Health
Hospitals to work as a Peer Counselor at Kings County
Hospital Center (“KCHC”). Compl. at 82. Plaintiff
alleges that her supervisor, Melissa Walters, mistreated and
verbally abused her throughout her time at KCHC. See
Compl. at 3, 5, 86. According to Plaintiff, Walters was aware
of Plaintiff's disability since the moment she was hired.
Pl.'s Opp. at 5. The complaint is in essence a chronology
of contentious interactions between Plaintiff and Walters
from December 2014 to April 2016. See Compl. 8-47;
Opp. at 5- 14. Plaintiff's opposition to Defendants'
motion also primarily consists of the same factual
allegations. While too numerous to include here, the Court
summarizes some of the alleged interactions between Plaintiff
and Walters for the sake of illustration:
• Plaintiff alleges that in December 2014, Walters
accused her of sitting in a room doing nothing during work
hours and told her that she was not “fit for the
job.” Compl. at 9; Pl.'s Opp. at 7.
• Plaintiff alleges that in January 2015, Walters
discredited her work ability “in an abusive and cruel
tone” and told her that she could not give her a good
evaluation because some of her colleagues had complained that
she was dismissive and belligerent. Compl. at 12; Pl.'s
Opp. at 9. According to Plaintiff, Walters approached her the
following day and told her that people complained about her
lipstick color and that it was Walters' responsibility to
tell her if she was dressing provocatively. Compl. at 13.
• Plaintiff alleges that during an August 7, 2015
meeting about patients wearing sleepwear during a visit from
the Department of Justice, she expressed an opinion and
Walters angrily put her hand in her face and scolded her.
Compl. at 86; Pl.'s Opp. at 10.
contends that Walters' behavior severely impacted her
disability. See Pl.'s Opp. at 3-4, 17-21. In
particular, Plaintiff asserts that Walters' emotionally
abusive treatment of her triggered a decline in her mental
health, causing her to become violent and angry and
preventing her from being able to work. See id. On
February 24, 2016, Plaintiff requested a four-week leave of
absence pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act
(“FMLA”), claiming that she was unable to perform
her job functions as a result of her mental illness and would
benefit from taking time off from work. Compl. at 70-74.
Plaintiff's request was granted and her leave was
subsequently extended on two occasions after her psychiatrist
informed KCHC that she was not ready to return to work.
See id. at 75-76. On March 21, 2016, she filed an
application seeking worker's compensation benefits on the
basis that Walters' harassment and negative feedback
regarding her job performance had affected her physical and
emotional health and overall well-being. Compl. at 77-78.
FMLA leave expired on June 28, 2016. See Pl.'s
Opp. at 40. Plaintiff, however, did not return to work.
Id. KCHC sent her multiple letters informing her
that she was “Absent Without Official Leave” or
“AWOL” and that she could be subject to
disciplinary action, including termination. See
Pl.'s Opp. at 40-42. After two disciplinary
hearings-which Plaintiff did not attend despite having been
provided notice-Plaintiff's employment was terminated on
January 20, 2017, as a result of her failure to return to
work after her FMLA leave expired. See id. at 44-50.
Plaintiff does not allege that her termination was
discriminatory or violated the ADA.
her FMLA leave, Plaintiff filed a complaint with the EEOC
alleging discrimination on the basis of her disability on
April 8, 2016, and the EEOC issued a dismissal and
right-to-sue letter on April 13, 2016. Id. at 6-7,
80-85. Plaintiff brought this action on April 27, 2016. Doc
2. Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiff's claims
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) on March
21, 2017. Doc. 26.
ruling on a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the court must accept all factual
allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable
inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Nielsen v.
Rabin, 746 F.3d 58, 62 (2d Cir. 2014) (citation
omitted). The court is not required to credit “mere
conclusory statements” or “threadbare recitals of
the elements of a cause of action.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)); see
also Id. at 681 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at
551). “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter . . . to ‘state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Id. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at
570). 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.” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). More specifically, the
plaintiff must allege sufficient ...