United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MARIA B. ROSARIO, Plaintiff,
MEGAN BRENNAN and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendants.
RULING ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS
BOND ARTERTON, U.S.D.J.
Maria Rosario brought this action against Defendants Megan
Brennan, Postmaster General, and the United States of
America, alleging violations of Plaintiffs "Fifth and
Fourteenth Amendment rights to be free from deprivation of
liberty without due process of law ... in violation of [Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act]" (Count One); retaliation in
violation of Title VII (Count Two); and intentional
infliction of emotional distress ('TIED") (Count
Three). Defendants move [Doc. # 21] to dismiss Counts Two and
Three. Oral argument was held on June 20, 2016. For the
following reasons, Defendants' motion is granted as to
Count Three and denied as to Count Two.
alleges the following facts in her Second Amended Complaint
[Doc. #21]. On July 28, 2012, Plaintiff was hired as a Motor
Vehicle Driver by the United States Postal Service
("USPS"). (2d Am. Compl. ¶ 7.) At some point
thereafter, Jeff B. Cureton, the Supervisor of Transportation
for the USPS, began to "constantly stare at Plaintiffs
body on a daily basis and follow her around the building,
making her feel unsafe, intimidated and apprehensive about
what he might do to her." (Id. ¶¶ 6,
23.) He "would also engage in lewd behavior such as
grabbing parts of his body while staring at her."
(Id. ¶ 24.) "On one occasion, [Mr.]
Cureton even told her that, as her supervisor, he could do
whatever he wanted to her, and that she has to do whatever he
said to do." (Id.) As a result, on May 10,
2014, Plaintiff filed an Equal Employment Opportunity
("EEO") complaint regarding Mr. Cureton's
harassment of her. (Id. ¶ 8.) Thereafter, Mr.
"Cureton's efforts to harass and intimidate the
Plaintiff greatly intensified." (Id. ¶
"repeatedly informed" William A. Rodriguez, the
Acting Manager of Transportation at the USPS, of Mr.
Cureton's conduct toward her, but "he chose to do
nothing about [it] saying there was nothing he could do and
in any event he did not believe her." (Id.
¶¶ 5, 25.) "Significantly, [Mr.] Rodriguez
also told the Plaintiff that he actually wanted her to drop
the EEO complaint." (Id.) "As a direct
result of the sexual harassment she experienced . . .
Plaintiff suffered an acute anxiety attack that required she
go to the emergency room." (Id. ¶ 28.)
21, 2014, Mr. Rodriguez, with whom Plaintiff was engaged in
an intimate relationship, observed Plaintiff talking with
another USPS employee, John Thomas. (Id. ¶ 15.)
Within ten minutes, Mr. Rodriguez terminated Mr. Thomas and
then called Plaintiff "to threaten" her,
"saying, 'see what I can do to you? You don't
want to f**k with me!'" (Id.) Mr.
"Rodriguez also used his position to change the hours
and assignment of another one of Plaintiff s co-workers,
Willy Colon, whom he suspected of having a relationship with
the Plaintiff." (Id. ¶ 16.)
10, 2014, "Plaintiff injured her back while unloading a
truck with a postcom (rolling equipment) because [Mr.]
Rodriguez would not allow other mail handlers to help her
unload a truck even after she asked for help."
(Id. ¶ 10.) Plaintiffs doctor, Dr. Michael
Collins instructed her to perform only light duty following
the injury. (Id. ¶ 13.)
ended her relationship with Mr. Rodriguez on September 16,
2014. (Id. ¶ 14.) Mr. Rodriguez "became
exceedingly angry and began harassing [Plaintiff] and making
things extremely difficult for her in the workplace by, among
other actions, constantly watching her, threatening her, and
bullying male coworkers who attempted to talk to her."
(Id.) On "several occasions" Mr. Rodriguez
"sent Plaintiff home" early, claiming that
"there was no work for her." (Id. ¶
17.) Two days after Plaintiff ended the relationship, Mr.
Rodriguez "harassively [sic] limited the Plaintiffs work
time" to 2.5 hours a day. (Id. ¶ 18.)
September 30, 2014, Mr. Rodriguez assigned Plaintiff "to
case mail on a restbar, " although the assignment
violated her medical restrictions. (Id. ¶ 20.)
That same day, Mr. Rodriguez and Mr. Cureton presented
Plaintiff with an offer of Modified Assignment (Light Duty),
which also "improperly violated her medical
restrictions." (Id. ¶ 19.) When she
refused to sign the offer, they sent her home early and gave
her limited hours on October 1, October 2, and October 3,
2014. (Id.) From October 4, 2014 to December 13,
2014, Plaintiff "did not return to work, "
believing that "she had either been fired or
released." (Id. ¶ 21.)
Count Two (Title VII Retaliation)
order to make out a colorable claim of retaliation under
Title VII, a plaintiff must allege that: (1) she participated
in a protected activity, (2) the defendant knew of her
participation in the protected activity, (3) she suffered an
adverse employment action, and (4) there exists a causal
connection between the protected activity and the adverse
employment action. Hicks v. Baines, 593 F.3d 159,
164 (2d Cir. 2010). Defendants here concede that Plaintiff
has adequately alleged that she participated in a protected
activity by filing the EEO complaint and that Defendants knew
of her participation in that activity. (Mem. Supp. Mot.
Dismiss [Doc. # 25-1] at 6.) However, they contend that she
has not adequately alleged the third and fourth elements-an
adverse employment action and a causal connection.
VII's anti-retaliation provision applies broadly to
'employer actions that would have been materially adverse
to a reasonable employee or job applicant.'"
Hicks, 593 F.3d at 164 (quoting Burlington N.
& Santa Fe Ry. Co. v. White, 548 U.S. 53, 57
(2006)). "Actions are 'materially adverse' if
they are 'harmful to the point that they could well
dissuade a reasonable worker from making or supporting a
charge of discrimination.'" Id. (quoting
White, 548 U.S. at 57).
Plaintiff alleges the following adverse actions: (1) Mr.
Cureton intensified his harassment of her after she filed the
EEO complaint against him (2d Am. Compl. ¶ 25); (2) Mr.
Rodriguez terminated John Thomas and changed Willy
Colon's hours (id. ¶¶ 15, 16); (3) Mr.
Rodriguez refused to permit other employees to help Plaintiff
unload her truck (id. ¶ 10), and on September
30, 2014, Mr. Rodriguez assigned her to perform tasks that
violated her medical restrictions (id. ¶ 20);
and (4) Mr. Rodriguez limited Plaintiff to 2.5 hours per day
for an unknown period of time beginning September 18, 2014,
and ending no later than October 3, 2014,  sent her ...