Mohawk v. William Floyd School District
MEMORANDUM & ORDER granting 16 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim; For the foregoing reasons, the District's motion to dismiss the Amended Complaint is GRANTED, and Plaintiff's claims are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. The Court certifies that pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3) that any appeal from this Order would not be taken in good faith and therefore in forma pauperis status is DENIED for the purpose of any appeal. The Clerk of the Court is directed to mark this matter CLOSED and to mail a copy of this Memorandum and Order to pro se Plaintiff. So Ordered by Judge Joanna Seybert on 12/15/2014. C/M; C/ECF; Judgment Clerk notified via NEF. (Valle, Christine)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
HAROLD B. MOHAWK,
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
WILLIAM FLOYD SCHOOL DISTRICT,
Harold B. Mohawk, pro se
11 Robert Street
Mastic, NY 11950
Howard Marc Miller, Esq.
Jessica C. Moller, Esq.
Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC
1010 Franklin Avenue, Suite 200
Garden City, NY 11530
SEYBERT, District Judge:
Presently before the Court is defendant William Floyd
School District’s (the “District”) motion to dismiss the Amended
Complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
(Docket Entry 16.)
For the following
reasons, the District’s motion is GRANTED.
commenced this action against the District on April 22, 2013,
alleging employment discrimination based on race pursuant to Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000e et seq.
Plaintiff is a Native American male who formerly
worked for the District as a security guard.
In his original
eighth grade, Caucasian male student assaulted him on two separate
occasions, but that the student was not disciplined even though
the assaults were videotaped and the student admitted to a District
Instead, the administrator “terminated [Plaintiff] because [he]
refused to except [sic] a bribe to be suspended without pay for
two weeks to make false charges disappear.”
(Compl. at 6.)
Plaintiff also claimed that the District lied to a state labor
judge to prevent Plaintiff from receiving unemployment benefits.
(Compl. at 6.)
On June 19, 2013, the District moved to dismiss the
original Complaint for failure to state a claim.
On March 3, 2014, this Court granted the District’s motion
and dismissed the Complaint because Plaintiff failed to plausibly
See Mohawk v. William Floyd Sch. Dist., No. 13-
CV-2518, 2014 WL 838162, at *3 (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 3, 2014).
given his pro se status, the Court granted Plaintiff leave to
Id. at *4
The page numbers of the Complaint referenced herein are the page
numbers generated by the Electronic Case Filing system.
Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on March 27, 2014.
(Docket Entry 12.)
The Amended Complaint contains even less
factual detail than the original Complaint.
It alleges that
“[Plaintiff] was assaulted twice by a student who was white and
when [Plaintiff] reported it, [the District] ignored [Plaintiff],
retaliated against [him] with termination and tried to bribe [him
to be quiet.”
(Am. Compl. at 4.2)
On April 30, 2014, the District
moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint for failure to state a
claim. (Docket Entry 16.) This motion is currently pending before
standards before turning to the merits of Defendant’s motion.
In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court
applies a “plausibility standard,” which is guided by “[t]wo
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.
Ct. 1937, 173 L. Ed. 2d 868 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S. Ct. 1955, 167 L. Ed. 2d 929 (2007);
accord Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 71–72 (2d Cir. 2009).
although the Court must accept all allegations as true, this
The page numbers of the Amended Complaint referenced herein are
the page numbers generated by the Electronic Case Filing system.
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action,
supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”
556 U.S. at 678; accord Harris, 572 F.3d at 72.
complaints that state a “plausible claim for relief” can survive
a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.
Determining whether a complaint does so is “a context-specific
task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial
experience and common sense.”
Id.; accord Harris, 572 F.3d at 72.
Pleading Standard Under Title VII
Title VII employment discrimination claims are analyzed
using the burden-shifting framework articulated by the Supreme
Court in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 93 S. Ct.
1817, 36 L. Ed. 2d 668 (1973).
To establish a prima facie case of
discrimination under McDonnell Douglas, a plaintiff must show
that: “(1) he is a member of a protected class; (2) he was qualified
for the position he held; (3) he suffered an adverse employment
action; and (4) the adverse action took place under circumstances
giving rise to [an] inference of discrimination.”
Barrett, 685 F.3d 193, 202 (2d Cir. 2012) (alteration in original)
(quoting Ruiz v. Cnty. of Rockland, 609 F.3d 486, 491-92 (2d Cir.
However, in Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506,
511, 122 S. Ct. 992, 152 L. Ed. 2d 1 (2002), the Supreme Court
held that a plaintiff in an employment discrimination case need
not plead facts establishing a prima facie case of discrimination
under McDonnell Douglas in order to survive a motion to dismiss.
McDonnell Douglas . . . is an evidentiary standard, not a pleading
Rather, “the ordinary rules for assessing the
sufficiency of a complaint apply.”
Id. at 511.
Swierkiewicz preceded Twombly and Iqbal, however, and
therefore relied on the more lenient notice pleading standard first
articulated in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 78 S. Ct. 99, 2 L.
complaint “must simply ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the
plaintiff’s claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.’”
(quoting Conley, 355 U.S. at 47)).
Thus, the Second Circuit
discrimination complaints is somewhat of an open question in our
Hedges v. Town of Madison, 456 F. App’x 22, 23 (2d Cir.
2012) (summary order). Although it declined to resolve the issue,3
the Second Circuit did state that “Swierkiewicz’s reliance on
Conley suggests that, at a minimum, employment discrimination
claims must meet the standard of pleading set forth in Twombly and
“We need not resolve these conflicts here, however, for
Hedges’s claims fail any conceivable standard of pleading.”
Hedges, 456 F. App’x at 23.
Iqbal, even if pleading a prima facie case is not required.”
Hedges, 456 F. App’x at 23.
Thus, reconciling Swierkiewicz with
the standards set forth in Twombly and Iqbal, in the employment
discrimination context, “a complaint need not establish a prima
facie case of employment discrimination to survive a motion to
dismiss [but] the claim must be facially plausible and must give
fair notice to the defendants of the basis for the claim.” Barbosa
v. Continuum Health Partners, Inc., 716 F. Supp. 2d 210, 215
(S.D.N.Y. 2010) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted);
accord King v. U.S. Sec. Assocs., Inc., No. 11–CV–4457, 2012 WL
4122025, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 22, 2012), adopted by 2012 WL 4327396
(S.D.N.Y. Sept. 18, 2012).
“A claim has facial plausibility when
the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw
the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; accord Turkman v.
Ashcroft, 589 F.3d 542, 546 (2d Cir. 2009).
“For this conclusion
to be drawn, a plaintiff must allege facts that allow the court in
substance to infer elements of a prima facie case.”
King, 2012 WL
4122025, at *5 (collecting cases); see also Hitchins v. N.Y. City
Dep’t of Educ., No. 11-CV-4180, 2013 WL 1290981, at *3 (E.D.N.Y.
Mar. 28, 2013) (stating that on a motion to dismiss, “the Court
asks only whether a plaintiff has pled a prima facie case, not
whether a plaintiff has established that case.
Thus, the standard
is simply whether plaintiff’s complaint, construed liberally,
satisfies the federal pleading requirements for a claim of wrongful
termination” (emphasis in original))
With these standards in mind, the Court will now turn to
the District’s motion to dismiss.
III. The District’s Motion to Dismiss
The District contends that the Amended Complaint fails
to state a cause of action because, like the original Complaint,
the Amended Complaint “is based solely on conclusory averments
that Plaintiff was discriminated against.”
Entry 17, at 4.)
(Def.’s Br., Docket
The Court agrees.
Like the original Complaint, the Amended Complaint fails
The Amended Complaint rehashes the same conduct
alleged in the original Complaint, with less factual detail.
Plaintiff alleges that he “was assaulted twice by a student who
was white,” and that when he reported it, he was ignored, bribed,
and retaliated against with termination.
(Am. Compl. at 4.)
noted in the Court’s Order dismissing the original Complaint, these
mistreatment and ask the court to conclude that it must have been
related to his race [color, or national origin].’”
WL 838162, at *3 (alterations in original) (quoting Hitchins, 2013
circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination.”
Mohawk, 2014 WL 838162, at *3; see also Hitchins, 2013 WL 1290981,
Accordingly, the District’s motion to dismiss is GRANTED
and the Amended Complaint is DISMISSED.
Leave to Replead
The Second Circuit has stated that “[w]hen a motion to
dismiss is granted, the usual practice is to grant leave to amend
Hayden v. Cnty. of Nassau, 180 F.3d 42, 53 (2d
Cir. 1999); see also FED. R. CIV. P. 15(a)(2) (“The court should
“Nonetheless, courts may deny leave to replead where amendment
qualifies as futile.”
Herbert v. Delta Airlines, No. 12-CV-1250,
2014 WL 4923100, at *5 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 30, 2014) (citing Cuoco v.
Moritsugu, 222 F.3d 99, 112 (2d Cir. 2000)).
Here, the Court granted Plaintiff leave to replead and
identified the deficiencies of the original Complaint. See Mohawk,
2014 WL 838162, at *3-4.
The Amended Complaint does not correct
District’s motion to dismiss provides no indication that further
amendment would be successful.
(See Mohawk Aff., Docket Entry
19.) Accordingly, the Court will not grant leave to replead again,
and the claims alleged in the Amended Complaint are DISMISSED WITH
See Herbert, 2014 WL 4923100, at *5 (denying pro se
plaintiff leave to amend where amended complaint failed to correct
the deficiencies the court had previously identified); Alsaifullah
v. Travis, 160 F. Supp. 2d 417, 421 (E.D.N.Y. 2001) (“[A]s the
Amended Complaint, by definition, provided plaintiff a second
chance to sufficiently plead the facts supporting this action, the
court will not permit Plaintiff to replead.”).
For the foregoing reasons, the District’s motion to
dismiss the Amended Complaint is GRANTED, and Plaintiff’s claims
are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
§ 1915(a)(3) that any appeal from this Order would not be taken in
good faith and therefore in forma pauperis status is DENIED for
the purpose of any appeal.
See Coppedge v. United States, 369
U.S. 438, 444-45, 82 S. Ct. 917, 8 L. Ed. 2d 21 (1962).
The Clerk of the Court is directed to mark this matter
CLOSED and to mail a copy of this Memorandum and Order to pro se
/s/ JOANNA SEYBERT______
Joanna Seybert, U.S.D.J.
15 , 2014
Central Islip, NY
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?