United States District Court, S.D. New York
Local 1180, Communications Workers Of America, AFL-CIO et al, Plaintiffs,
City Of New York et al, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
STEWART D. AARON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Court is a motion by Defendants, City of New York
(“City”) and the New York City Department of
Citywide Administrative Services (“DCAS”)
(collectively, the “Defendants”), pursuant to
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(c) and 12(h)(2)(B), to
dismiss the claims brought by plaintiff Lynette Andrews
(“Andrews”) for failure to join an indispensable
party, to wit, Andrews's direct employer, the
New York City Housing Authority (“NYCHA”). For
the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion is
Background Regarding Legal Claims
December 14, 2016, plaintiffs Local 1180, Communications
Workers of America AFL-CIO (“Local 1180”),
Lourdes Acevedo (“Acevedo”), Nathia Beltran
(“Beltran”), Adrienne Reed (“Reed”),
Jo Ann Richards (“Richards”) and Roseann Schembri
(“Schembri”), commenced an action in the Supreme
Court of the State of New York against the City and DCAS by
filing a Summons with Notice. (Summons with Notice, ECF No.
1-1, at 1.) According to the Notice, the claims asserted by
Plaintiffs were for “intentional and unintentional
discrimination” based on sex, gender and race, in
violation of various provisions of federal law, New York
state law and New York City law, including the federal Equal
Pay Act and the New York State Equal Pay Law. (Id.
at 2.) The Notice annexes and incorporates by reference a
Charge of Discrimination that was filed with the U.S. Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) on
December 5, 2013 against the City and DCAS by Local 1180 and
Jane Doe Administrative Managers #1-1000 and Jane Doe Former
Administrative Managers #1-1000, as well as a Supplemental
Charge of Discrimination that was filed on November 19, 2014.
(Summons with Notice, Exs. A & C.) The EEOC Charge and
Supplemental Charge allege violations of Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), in
addition to violations of the Equal Pay Act. (Id.)
It is alleged that the City and DCAS “engaged in a
pattern or practice of wage suppression” in the job
title Administrative Manager Non-Managerial (hereinafter,
“Administrative Manager NM”) that
“adversely impacted women and persons of color.”
(Summons with Notice, Ex. A, ¶ 18.)
April 7, 2017, the Summons with Notice was served upon
Defendants. On April 21, 2017, Defendants filed a Demand for
Complaint in the New York Supreme Court. (See Local 1180,
et al. v. City of New York, et al., Index No.
160513/2016, N.Y. Sup. Ct., N.Y. County, NYSCEF Doc. No. 8.)
On April 26, 2017, Defendants removed the action to this
Court on the basis that it asserted claims arising under
federal law. (Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1, ¶¶
11, 2017, a Complaint was filed in this action in this Court.
(Compl., ECF No. 5.) Certain of the plaintiffs named in the
Complaint were the same as those named in the Summons with
Notice (i.e., Local 1180, Acevedo, Beltran and
Reed); two of the plaintiffs that had been named in the
Summons with Notice were dropped (i.e., Richards and
Schembri); and two plaintiffs were added (i.e.,
Andrews and Rose Reeves). (Compare Summons with
Notice at 1 with Compl. at 1.) The Complaint
asserts claims under the federal Equal Pay Act and the New
York Equal Pay Law. (Compl. ¶¶ 117-28.) The
Complaint-like the EEOC Charges-alleges that the City and
DCAS engaged in discriminatory pay practices with respect to
the job title Administrative Manager NM. (See Compl.
¶¶ 15, 19.)
August 21, 2017, a First Amended Complaint
(“FAC”) was filed on behalf of the same
plaintiffs as named in the Complaint. The FAC adds a claim
under Title VII. (FAC ¶¶ 119-27.) Of relevance to
the motion before the Court, the First Amended Complaint
alleges that Andrews works at NYCHA (FAC ¶ 8), which is
not named as a defendant in this action.
21, 2018, Defendants filed their motion for judgment on the
pleadings, pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(c)
and 12(h)(2)(B), to dismiss the claims asserted by Andrews on
the grounds that, as Andrews's employer,
“NYCHA's involvement is of such a nature that
without joinder, complete relief cannot be accorded to her,
” and “pragmatic considerations” warrant
dismissal. (Mot., ECF No. 54, at 1.) On July 9, 2018, Plaintiffs
filed their memorandum of law in opposition to the motion,
arguing (among other things) that Defendants have not met the
standard to show that NYCHA is a necessary party. (Opp. Mem.,
ECF No. 56, at 3-4.) On July 18, 2018, Defendants filed their
reply memorandum (ECF No. 58), and the parties submitted
supplemental briefing at the request of the Court on July 27,
2018. (ECF Nos. 60-61.)
the legal issues in proper context, the Court discusses in
the section below NYCHA and NYCHA's relationship with the
City and DCAS.
Background Regarding NYCHA And Its Relationship With City
“is a public corporation created pursuant to the Public
Housing law of the State of New York for the purpose of
implementing the State Constitution by providing
‘low-rent housing for persons of low income as defined
by law . . .' New York State Constitution, Art. XVIII,
§ 1.” Holmes v. N.Y.C. Hous. Auth., 398
F.2d 262, 263 (2d Cir. 1968). NYCHA “was created in
1934 pursuant to enabling provisions then contained in the
Municipal Housing Authorities law, ” which was the
predecessor to the New York state public housing law. See
Ciulla v. State of New York, 191 Misc. 528, 530 (N.Y.
Ct. Cl. 1948).
New York City Housing Authority is a legal entity separate
from the City of New York.” Montenegro v. City of
New York, No. 00-CV-8434 (JCF), 2002 WL 500355, at *3
(S.D.N.Y. Apr. 3, 2002). However, there is a closeness of
relationship between the City and DCAS, on the one hand, and
NYCHA, on the other hand. For example, the City's Mayor
appoints the seven members of NYCHA. N.Y. Pub. Hous. Law
§ 402(3). Moreover, the City's Office of Payroll
Administration processes payroll for NYCHA employees. (Def.
7/27/2018 Ltr., ECF No. 60, at 1.) Thus, the paystub for
plaintiff Andrews is from the City. (Pl. 7/27/18 Ltr., Ex. A,
ECF No. 61.)
Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) that is
relevant to this case, which includes a February 9, 2015 side
letter relating to the Administrative Manager NM job title,
was entered into by the City Office of Labor Relations
(“OLR”) with Local 1180, and NYCHA is not a
signatory to the CBA. (See Def. 7/27/2018 Ltr., App.
A.) However, according to the City at oral argument, NYCHA
elected to have the OLR bargain on NYCHA's behalf, such
that the CBA applies to NYCHA.
York City Employees' Retirement System
(“NYCERS”) is a municipal public retirement
system. Among the members of NYCERS are employees of NYCHA.
(Website of NYCERS, “Participating Employers”
(last visited Jul. 31, 2018)). Andrews is a member of NYCERS.
(See Pl. 7/27/18 Ltr., Ex. A.)
an agency of the City of New York pursuant to the New York
City Charter and the New York City Administrative Code. (Def.
Mem., ECF No. 55, at ...