United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION ON DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO
W. EGINTON SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
action, plaintiff alleges statutory violations of Title VII
(Count I), Section 1981 (Count II), Section 1983 (Counts III,
IV), and Sections 1985 and 1986 (Count VI) against various
state agencies for whom he was employed and against
individual defendants in supervisory roles at those agencies.
Plaintiff also alleges negligent infliction of emotional
distress (Count V). All of plaintiff’s claims stem from
allegations that he was subjected to discrimination on the
basis of his race, color, and national origin.
have moved to dismiss plaintiff’s claim in its
entirety. For the following reasons, defendants’ motion
will be granted.
is an African American who was born in Somalia. He has a
Bachelor of Science in business administration. Between July
2000 and the filing of the instant complaint, plaintiff was
employed by the Department of Children and Families
(“DCF”), the Department of Social Services
(“DSS”), the Department of Economic and Community
Development (“DECD”), and the Department of
Housing (“DOH”). Plaintiff asserts that over that
time he applied for at least 20 various job positions for
which he was the most qualified candidate. Nevertheless,
defendants hired less qualified “non-basis
individuals.” Plaintiff also alleges that defendants
conspired to misuse state issued credit cards and to
overcharge the state on small business loans. On June 6,
2016, plaintiff filed the first of multiple whistleblower
complaints against DECD based on these allegations.
suffered from a gambling addiction. He printed lottery
tickets for himself, apparently without purchasing them, from
a store that he owned. As a result of the delinquency, the
State Lottery Commission caused plaintiff to be criminally
prosecuted in 2008. He was charged with Second Degree Larceny
and subsequently pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor larceny
charge. A letter detailing the conviction was placed in his
personnel file. Plaintiff asserts that this letter negatively
impacted his applications with respect to the 20 positions
for which he applied and was interviewed. Plaintiff alleges
that subsequent to his conviction, he was subjected to
increased scrutiny, such as background checks and monitoring.
complaint is a vast, rambling, repetitive mishmash of
conclusory legal terminology. At base, it asserts that
defendants disseminated among themselves plaintiff’s
personal information, including social security number,
immigration status, arrest records, and health records.
Plaintiff further alleges that defendants used the
information, primarily the criminal conviction, as a basis to
deny plaintiff employment opportunities.
plaintiff alleges that he was subject “to disparate
treatment with respect to the terms and conditions of
employment, including obtaining, sharing, providing, passing
on, personal and confidential information about [him] to
other defendants, in order to negatively impact [his]
employment and promotional opportunities.”
function of a motion to dismiss is "merely to assess the
legal feasibility of the complaint, not to assay the weight
of the evidence which might be offered in support
thereof." Ryder Energy Distribution v. Merrill Lynch
Commodities, Inc., 748 F.2d 774, 779 (2d Cir. 1984).
When deciding a motion to dismiss, the Court must accept all
well-pleaded allegations as true and draw all reasonable
inferences in favor of the pleader. Hishon v. King,
467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984). The complaint must contain the
grounds upon which the claim rests through factual
allegations sufficient “to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007). A plaintiff is
obliged to amplify a claim with some factual allegations in
those contexts where such amplification is needed to render
the claim plausible. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009).
Title VII, a plaintiff may establish a prima facie case of
discrimination by showing (1) membership in a protected
class, (2) qualification for the position, (3) adverse
employment action, and (4) minimal evidence suggesting an
inference that the employer acted with discriminatory
motivation. Littlejohn v. City of New York, 795 F.3d
297, 307-11 (2d Cir. 2015).
is no dispute that plaintiff is a member of a protected
class, that he was qualified for the positions at issue, and
that a decision not to hire is an adverse employment action.
fundamental problem with plaintiff’s complaint is its
lack of any description of a causal connection to his race,
color, or national origin that would create an inference of
discrimination. Plaintiff does explicitly plead, many times,
that he was subjected to “various acts of
discrimination on the basis of [his] race, color, [and]
national origin,” but that is the complete extent of
his effort to demonstrate any inference of discrimination. It
is an example of legal conclusions that present only a
“sheer possibility that a defendant acted
unlawfully.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
initial pleading stage, the complaint must have “at
least minimal support for the proposition the employer was
motivated by discriminatory intent.”
Littlejohn, 795 F.3d at 311. Here, plaintiff himself
alleges that defendants were motivated in large part by his
criminal conviction, which is unrelated to his protected
class. Plaintiff has failed to allege that any similarly
situated employees outside of his protected class received
preferential treatment, so there is no indication that his
criminal conviction was not the actual reason for
defendants’ decision not to hire him into alternative
positions. See Kpaka v. City University of New York,
708 Fed.Appx. 703, 704-05 (2d Cir. 2017) (summary order). And