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Mejia v. White Plains Self Storage Corp

United States District Court, S.D. New York

January 16, 2020

WALTER D MEJIA, Plaintiff,
v.
WHITE PLAINS SELF STORAGE CORP., Defendant.

          Walter D Mejia Pro Se Plaintiff

          Seth Diamant Kaufman, Esq. Fisher Phillips, LLP Counsel for Defendant

          OPINION & ORDER

          KENNETH M. KARAS, United States District Judge

         Walter D Mejia (“Plaintiff”) brings this Action against White Plains Self Storage Corporation (“Defendant”), alleging that Defendant discriminated against Plaintiff on the basis of religion in violation of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”), N.Y. Exec. Law § 290, et seq., and New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”), N.Y. City Admin. Code §§ 8-101, et seq., when Plaintiff was terminated from his job in November 2017. (See Compl. (Dkt. No. 2).) Before the Court is Defendant's Motion To Dismiss (the “Motion”), pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and (6). (See Not. of Mot. (Dkt. No. 12).) For the reasons discussed below, the Motion is granted.

         I. Background

         A. Factual Background

         The following facts are taken from Plaintiff's verified Complaint and the exhibits incorporated therein and are assumed to be true for the purposes of this Motion. See Sierra Club v. Con-Strux LLC, 911 F.3d 85, 88 (2d Cir. 2018) (accepting “all factual allegations as true” for the purposes of a motion to dismiss and deeming a complaint to include “any written instrument attached to it as an exhibit” (citations omitted)).[1]

         Plaintiff was allegedly hired by Defendant in June 2017. (Compl. 5.)[2] According to Plaintiff, he was hired “with the agreement to have a religious accommodation.” (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that things were “going well” until, on September 30, 2017, Plaintiff allegedly emailed the district manager and office manager indicating concerns that he was “being scheduled on Sundays.” (Id.) Plaintiff avers that following that email, he “was treated differently than other employees, ” he was “unjustly written up, ” and “ultimately terminated on [November] 25[, ] 2017.” (Id.) Based on these allegations, Plaintiff has marked boxes indicating that Defendant improperly discriminated against Plaintiff on the basis of religion by terminating him, by treating him differently than similarly situated individuals, by retaliating against him, and by creating a hostile work environment. (Id.)

         Attached to Plaintiff's Complaint is a Determination and Order After Investigation (“Determination”) written by the New York State Division of Human Rights (“NYSDHR”), dated July 27, 2018. (See Compl. 11-12.) In it, the NYSDHR noted that “[a]fter investigation, and following opportunity for review of related information and evidence by the named parties, the [NYSDHR] has determined that there is no probable cause to believe that [Defendant] has engaged in or is engaging in the unlawful discriminatory practice complained of.” (Id. at 11 (alterations omitted).) In the Determination, the NYSDHR reviewed the record before it and determined that it did not support Plaintiff's assertion that Defendant had “promised to accommodate his request to take Sundays off.” (Id.) Moreover, according to the NYSDHR, the record included “write-ups that support [Defendant's] claim that it terminated [Plaintiff] because of poor performance.” (Id. at 12.) The NYSDHR concluded that there was “insufficient evidence” to show that Defendant's “conduct was motivated by unlawful discriminatory animus related to [Plaintiff's] creed, ” and provided Plaintiff with guidance on next steps, including notifying Plaintiff that he had the right to request EEOC review of his complaint, and, that if he did not request review, the EEOC would typically “adopt” the NYSDHR's conclusion. (Id.) Also attached to the Complaint is the EEOC's Dismissal and Notice of Rights (“EEOC Dismissal”), dated September 25, 2018, which reads, “The EEOC is closing its file on this charge for the following reason, ” and marks the option stating, “The EEOC has adopted the findings of the state or local fair employment practices agency that investigated this charge.” (Id. at 10.)

         B. Procedural Background

         Plaintiff initiated this Action by filing a Complaint on December 21, 2018. (Compl.) Plaintiff applied to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”), (Dkt. No. 1), and the application was granted on December 27, 2018, (Dkt. No. 3). In response to a Pre-Motion Letter from counsel for Defendant, (Dkt. No. 9), the Court set a briefing schedule, thus obviating the need for a pre-motion conference, (Dkt. No. 10). On May 10, 2019, Defendant filed its Motion and Memorandum. (See Not. of Mot.; Def.'s Mem. in Supp. of Mot. (“Def.'s Mem.”) (Dkt. No. 13).) Plaintiff did not file an opposition, and Defendant did not file a reply. The Court considers the Motion fully submitted.

         II. Discussion

         Defendant argues that the Complaint should be dismissed because the NYCHRL does not apply to Plaintiff; the Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state claims, as Plaintiff has foregone his opportunity to pursue those claims in this Court by filing them before the NYSDHR; and Plaintiff failed to sufficiently plead his federal claims. (Def.'s Mem. 3-10.)

         A. ...


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