United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION ON MOTION TO DISMISS [DKT. NO.
Vanessa L. Bryant United States District Judge
the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss filed May 11,
2017 and fully briefed on September 12. 2017. [Dkt. 13 (Mot.
Dismiss); Dkt. 18 (Extension Mot.); Dkt. 19 (Order); Dkt. 30
(Opp'n); Dkt. 31 (Reply)]. Plaintiff Alecia Aldrich
(“Aldrich”) brings this action to recover for her
alleged unlawful employment termination. She raises counts of
sexual harassment and retaliation under Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16, et seq.,
violations of procedural due process and equal protection
under the Fourteenth Amendment, violation of the Connecticut
Fair Employment Practices Act (“CFEPA”), and
intentional infliction of emotional distress
(“IIED”) against Defendants Town of Bloomfield
(“Town”), Town Manager Phillip Schenck
(“Schenck”), Chief of Police Paul B. Hammick
(“Hammick”), Human Resources Director Cindy
Coville (“Coville”), Police Lieutenant Arthur
Fredericks (“Fredericks”), Police Lieutenant
James Salvatore (“Salvatore”), Police Sergeant
Christine Benvenuto (“Benvenuto”), and Police
Sergeant Ellen White (“White”). Defendants move
to dismiss all counts except the CFEPA claim. For the
foregoing reasons, the Court GRANTS Defendants' motion.
following facts are taken from the Complaint and assumed to
be true for the purposes of this motion. Aldrich worked at
Fairfield University as a security officer for the
Connecticut National Guard from approximately 2010 until
2015. See [Dkt. 1 (Compl.) ¶ 14]. Fredericks is
a Command Sergeant Major in the Connecticut National Guard.
Id. ¶¶ 8, 17. Aldrich and Fredericks met
at a “SWAT” challenge for her National Guard
security unit, and Fredericks recruited her to apply to the
Bloomfield Police Department (“BPD”).
Id. ¶ 18. Fredericks gave her t-shirts and
other paraphernalia, and he told her that she would
“fit in and do well” at the BPD. Id.
alleges Fredericks “promoted an inappropriate intimate
relationship” with her an “us[ed] his position as
commander of the patrol division” to “objectify
and sexually harass” Aldrich while she was employed at
the BPD. Id. ¶ 19. Fredericks sent
“unsolicited personal and sexually suggestive
communications, ” such as texts depicting him in a
towel outside a shower and calling her
“sweetheart” and “meatball.”
Id. ¶ 22. Fredericks also commented on her body
and told her he was “taking care of” her.
Id. Fredericks and Aldrich met on multiple occasions
to go on runs at Penwood State Park, and afterwards he asked
her to go to his home and shower with him. Id.
¶ 24. On one occasion after a run, Fredericks said to
Aldrich, “I want to throw you up against a tree, kiss
your neck and finger your pussy.” Id. ¶
25. Aldrich alleges he said other sexually suggestive
comments. Id. He also tried to get Aldrich to have
sex with him. Id. ¶ 26. Aldrich alleges she was
“swept up” in the relationship with Fredericks
and could not “extricate herself for fear of
retaliation.” Id. ¶ 28.
engaged in the same sexual behavior with other
“probationary female employees.” Id.
¶ 29. Fredericks solicited two other white female
probationary officers to go on “runs” at Penwood
Park. Id. ¶ 42.
repeatedly spoke about sex among police officers.
Id. ¶ 30. She “fostered a profane, crude
and sexually and racially charged environment. Id.
For example, Benvenuto referred to female officers as
“fucking bitches” and “sluts.”
Id. On multiple occasions, Benvenuto stated,
“We have to stop hiring these crazy white
females.” Id. She also told Aldrich that
“the only way to succeed at BPD is by ‘fucking
the right people'” and that she knew Aldrich was
having sex with Fredericks. Id. ¶¶ 30-31.
Complaint alleges Schenck and Hammick initiated an
investigation “into the accident” on March 31,
2016. Id. ¶ 49. However, it is unclear what
accident they investigated because the accident-wherein
Aldrich responded to a motor vehicle accident and was herself
hit by a motor vehicle, sustaining injuries-is alleged to
have occurred on April 3, 2016. Id. ¶ 47.
Aldrich alleges that her denial of proper field officer
training was the direct cause of the accident. Id.
¶ 48. Aldrich was not provided notice or results of the
investigation. Id. ¶ 50.
Complaint also refers to a motor vehicle stop and driving
while intoxicated arrest that Aldrich conducted on May 20,
2016. Id. ¶ 52. On August 8, 2016, Hammick and
Schenck assigned Lieutenant Salvatore to conduct “a
sham and discriminatorily motivated” internal
investigation regarding the motor vehicle stop and driving
while intoxicated arrest. Id. ¶ 52. It was
concluded that “there were ‘inaccurate details
written within the described arrest report.'”
Id. Aldrich alleges “Salvatore conducted a
biased investigation, ignored facts and manipulated past
practice in order to find misconduct by Aldrich.”
Id. ¶ 53.
complained of sexual harassment and discrimination on
September 27, 2016 to Hammick. Id. ¶ 41. While
Aldrich was employed, two other white, female probationary
officers were “similarly sexually harassed and
subjected to discrimination, denied their due process and
equal protections rights and unlawfully terminated because of
their sex and race.” Id. ¶ 40. Hammick
“coerced” these two individuals into resigning.
Id. ¶ 41. Aldrich alleges Hammick told her he
would open a sexual harassment investigation. Id.
¶ 44. He “demanded and ordered” her to speak
with him in his office about Fredericks's actions.
Id. ¶ 45. Aldrich alleges Hammick never
initiated an investigation. Id. ¶ 46. Aldrich
also alleges Schenck, Coville, Hammick, Fredericks,
Salvatore, Benvenuto and White “were aware, refused to
investigate and allowed this sexual harassment and hostile
work environment to remain, ” although she does not
provide additional facts. Id. ¶ 39.
and Coville were thereafter notified in writing of
Aldrich's complaint. Id. ¶ 64. The
complaint “concerned] specific members of [the] police
department command staff, including Chief Hammick, LT
Salvatore, LT Fredericks, SGT Benvenuto, and others.”
Id. ¶ 65. Aldrich requested Schenck and Coville
investigate the matter without Hammick's involvement
“as they were the subjects of the sexual discrimination
complaint.” Id. ¶ 66. Instead of
investigating the case, Schenck and Coville immediately fired
her. Id. ¶ 67. After Aldrich was fired,
Detective Spellman said to her, “You should have fucked
Art to keep your job.” Id. ¶ 32.
alleges Ellen White, a supervisor and president of the local
police union, “colluded with Schenck, Hammick and
management” to deny Aldrich competent representation
while acting in her capacity as the union president.
Id. ¶ 34. Aldrich alleges “White refused
and neglected to adequately represent white, female
probationary members” and that she “neglected
these union members in return for favorable treatment by
management.” Id. ¶ 35. Aldrich alleges
White fostered a hostile work environment and discriminatory
actions by the male defendants, and “[t]his included
sexist statements and collusion with management in the
discriminatory environment, discipline and corruption of the
grievance process and collective bargaining agreement.”
Id. ¶ 36.
Town of Bloomfield has a sexual harassment policy that
prohibits “unwelcome advances or requests for sexual
favors or any conduct of a sexual nature.” Id.
¶ 58. The policy identifies the Director of Human
Resources and the Town Manager as contact people for sexual
harassment complaints, upon which it is required that an
investigation ensue. Id. ¶ 59. Such
investigations are to be conducted “promptly and
thoroughly” in a manner that maintains confidentiality
and protects the complainant from retaliation. Id.
¶ 60. Hammick also instituted General Order No. 26,
which prohibits sexual harassment. Id. ¶ 61.
General Order Nos. 2-07-09, 10, and 11 also prohibit
unethical conduct. Id. ¶ 62.
survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must plead
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “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.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). In
considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim,
the Court should follow a “two-pronged approach”
to evaluate the sufficiency of the complaint. Hayden v.
Paterson, 594 F.3d 150, 161 (2d Cir. 2010). “A
court ‘can choose to begin by identifying pleadings
that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not
entitled to the assumption of truth.'” Id.
(quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679). “At the
second step, a court should determine whether the
‘wellpleaded factual allegations, ' assumed to be
true, ‘plausibly give rise to an entitlement to