United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING RE: MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFF'S THIRD
AMENDED COMPLAINT (DOC. NO. 78)
C. Hall United States District Judge
Lois Craig (“Craig”) brings this action against
Debby Baker in her individual capacity under section 1983 of
the United States Code for allegedly discriminating against
her in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment. Craig's Third Amended Complaint
includes a single count against the
“defendants” under both section 1981 and 1983 of the
United States Code. See 3d Am. Compl. Baker moves to
dismiss the Third Amended Complaint. Mot. to Dismiss (Doc.
No. 78). For the reasons that follow, Baker's Motion to
Dismiss is granted.
is an African-American female who has been employed by DMHAS
as a Mental Health Assistant II (“MHA II”) for
over sixteen years. See 3d Am. Compl. at ¶
a union delegate, Craig frequently represents her coworkers
and herself in disputes between the union and management.
See id. at ¶ 5. In 2012, the
defendants hired Melanie Lagana as an MHA I and
promoted her after a year. See id. at ¶ 11. The
defendants promoted Lagana even though the MHA union contract
requires an employee to be in the MHA I position for three
years before he or she is eligible for promotion to the MHA
II position. See id. at ¶ 12. In November 2013,
the defendants hired Heidi Bishop, a white female, to the
position of Recovery Support Specialist. See id. at
¶ 13. The Recover Support Specialist position was
changed to MHA II in 2014. See id. at ¶ 14.
August 2015, Craig applied for a vacant, full-time MHA II
position, but she was not granted an interview, while
“non-basis” persons with less work experience and
less seniority were interviewed. See id. at ¶
15. In October 2015, defendants hired someone who was less
qualified and younger than Craig for the MHA II position.
See id. at ¶ 16. Craig was placed on a
Performance Improvement Plan (“PIP”) in October
2015, which prevented her from applying for other MHA II
positions. See id. at ¶ 16. In February 2016,
Craig applied for a third shift position, which the
defendants gave to a less qualified, more junior, “non
basis” person. See id. at ¶ 9.
2014, the defendants said that Craig's hair style
“harbored head lice, ” but neither one was
disciplined by DMHAS. See id. at ¶¶ 45,
In 2015, Craig was cited repeatedly for
“neglect/refusal to perform her delegated duties, that
she has been threatening, as disruptive to the work
environment.” See id. at ¶ 49. In 2016,
defendants referred to Craig as “an angry black woman,
who often wore dread locks.” Id. at
¶¶ 44, 50. In August 2016, the defendants described
Craig as “cocky, lacking respect, intimidating,
exhibiting poor communication skills, being illogical, and
rude. See id. at ¶ 51. At unspecified times,
defendants said that Craig was “too cocky and needed to
be cut down to size” and that she was “working
too slowly on the job.” See id. at
¶¶ 56, 59.
defendants' conduct described above, Craig developed
serious mental and emotional conditions, including anxiety,
depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, high blood
pressure, and insomnia. Id. at ¶ 60.
filed her original Complaint on December 21, 2016. (Doc. No.
1). On January 27, 2017, Craig filed her First Amended
Complaint, which included 272 pages of exhibits. (Doc. No.
16). On February 23, 2017, the defendants filed a Motion for
More Definite Statement. (Doc. No. 23). Craig objected to
defendants' Motion on March 17, 2013, and represented
that she would withdraw Count Two (Intentional Infliction of
Emotional Distress) and Count Five (Monell) as to all
defendants. (Doc. No. 26). On April 27, 2017, the court
denied the defendants' Motion, but ordered Craig to file
a second amended complaint that removed Counts Two and Five
and supplied additional information about Baker. (Doc. No.
Second Amended Complaint, which she filed on July 10, 2017,
included five counts against DMHAS and seven DMHAS employees
in their individual and official capacities. (Doc. No. 45).
On November 28, 2017, the court granted the defendants'
Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint in
its entirety. (Doc. No. 72). The court dismissed the Second
Amended Complaint with prejudice with the limited exception
that Craig was permitted to file an amended complaint against
Baker or any individual defendant who allegedly discriminated
against her. See id. at 25.
deciding a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the
court must determine whether a plaintiff has stated a legally
cognizable claim by making allegations that, if true, would
show that the plaintiff is entitled to relief. See Bell
Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 557 (2007)
(interpreting Rule 12(b)(6), in accordance with Rule 8(a)(2),
to require allegations with “enough heft to
‘sho[w] that the pleader is entitled to relief”
(alteration in original)). The court takes all factual
allegations in the complaint as true and draws all reasonable
inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Crawford v.
Cuomo, 796 F.3d 252, 256 (2d Cir. 2015). However, the
principle that a court must accept a complaint's
allegations as true is inapplicable to “[t]hreadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
survive a motion pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), “a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Id. (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 570). “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 misconduct alleged. The plausibility standard is not
akin to a ‘probability requirement, ...