United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING AND ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Rainey (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se,
filed a lawsuit against the Connecticut Department of Social
Services (“Defendant” or “the Department of
Social Services” or “the Department”),
alleging claims for illegal race discrimination and
retaliation under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et
seq., and for violation of her civil rights under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. See Amended Complaint, dated
Sept. 28, 2017 (“Am. Compl.”), ECF No. 15. The
Department of Social Services has moved to dismiss, claiming
that Ms. Rainey failed to exhaust her administrative remedies
before filing this lawsuit and failed to state a claim for
which relief can be granted.
following reasons, the motion to dismiss is GRANTED
IN PART AND DENIED IN PART.
motion to dismiss is granted as to Ms. Rainey's claim for
damages under Section 1983 because of the Department of
Social Services's sovereign immunity under the Eleventh
Amendment. The motion to dismiss is denied as to all of Ms.
Rainey's other claims.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Rainey, an African-American woman, works as an Accounts
Examiner at the Connecticut Department of Social Services.
Am. Compl. ¶¶ 1-2. She alleges that approximately
fifteen people work in her position, and the “vast
majority are white.” Id. ¶ 3.
Rainey alleges that, on or about August 18, 2015, she filed a
complaint against a co-worker, Susan Mangifico, alleging
workplace violence. Id. ¶ 4. She claims that,
since filing that complaint, she has “been the subject
of discrimination and retaliation by [her] employer.”
Id. ¶ 5. She alleges that both she and Ms.
Mangifico were moved, Ms. Rainey “next to another
employee who was known by management to be a severe problem
employee, ” and Ms. Mangifico to “an area where
there were no problems[.]” Id. ¶ 5(a).
She also alleges that, before filing the complaint, her
evaluations were very good, but that, after filing the
complaint, her evaluation in September 2016, “was
down-graded, ” and she was “written up for taking
off sick time that was unpaid, which [she] had done in the
past without incident.” Id. ¶ 5(b).
Rainey also alleges that, before filing the complaint, she
performed audits of dental offices. Id. ¶ 5(c).
She alleges that, even though she had failed the Associate
Accounts Examiner test, she was told that if she took and
completed another exam her supervisor would recommend her for
a promotion. Id. She alleges that she completed the
test, at her own cost of approximately $20, 000. Id.
Ms. Rainey claims that, when she “returned to work from
a pregnancy, [she] was removed from [her] duties, and they
were ‘outsourced, '” and that now, she
“log[s] in complaints.” Id. She claims
that, “[a]s a result, [her] changes for advancing
within the Department have been drastically reduced, and the
$20, 000 [she] spent is wasted.” Id.
Rainey alleges that she has been “called an
‘animal' and a ‘savage, '” which,
she claims, was “reported in writing to supervisors,
and to Human Resources as a complaint of
discrimination.” Id. ¶ 5(d). She alleges
that in response, “[n]ot only was nothing done, but
[her] treatment worsened.” Id.
Rainey alleges that she was “told in writing by [her]
supervisor that if [she] wanted ‘everything to
stop', [she] should email the union that [she] did not
wish to pursue this.” Id. ¶ 5(e).
Rainey alleges that her former supervisor, Walter Pacyna,
instructed her at the end of February 2016 that she
“had to file a complaint with the Commission on Human
Rights and Opportunities, or [she] would lose health benefits
for [her] new child.” Id. ¶ 6.
Rainey claims that “[t]his all has caused [her]
emotional distress, and required [her] to seek medical
treatment.” Id. ¶ 7.
April 24, 2017, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
issued Ms. Rainey a right-to-sue letter. Id. ¶
8; U.S. E.E.O.C. Dismissal and Notice of Rights, dated Apr.
24, 2017, annexed as Ex. 1 to Am. Compl., ECF No. 15-1
(adopting findings of state or local fair employment
practices agency that investigated the charge).
21, 2017, Ms. Rainey filed a pro se Complaint
against the Department of Social Services. Complaint, dated
July 21, 2017 (“Compl.”), ECF No. 1. The Court
referred the case to Magistrate Judge Garfinkel, who reviewed
Ms. Rainey's motion to proceed in forma pauperis, and
found that the Complaint “appear[ed] to state as a
cause of action an employment discrimination claim, ”
but did not “sufficiently describe the facts which
support this claim.” Order, dated Aug. 3, 2017, ECF No.
14. Judge Garfinkel therefore instructed Ms. Rainey to file
an amended complaint within 60 days of the Order.
Rainey filed an Amended Complaint on September 28, 2017. Am.
Compl., ECF No. 15. Judge Garfinkel granted her motion for
leave to proceed in forma pauperis on October 11, 2017.
Order, dated Oct. 11, 2017, ECF No. 16.
January 29, 2018, the Department of Social Services filed a
motion nunc pro tunc to dismiss the Amended
Complaint. Motion Nunc Pro Tunc to Dismiss, dated
Jan. 29, 2018 (“Mot.”), ECF No. 26. The
Department of Social Services then filed a motion to stay
discovery until the Court rules on the motion to dismiss or
until six months from the Order. Motion to Stay, dated Jan.
31, 2018, ECF No. 28. The Court granted the motion to stay
discovery on February 21, 2018, Order, dated Feb. 21, 2018,
ECF No. 31, and then held oral argument on the motion to
dismiss on September 4, 2018, Minute Entry, dated Sept. 4,
2018, ECF No. 35.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
“[a] case is properly dismissed for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1) when the district
court lacks the statutory or constitutional power to
adjudicate it.” Makarova v. United States, 201
F.3d 110, 113 (2d Cir. 2000); Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). The
plaintiff bears the burden of establishing by a preponderance
of the evidence that the court has subject matter
jurisdiction over the claims. Id. In evaluating
whether the plaintiff has established that the court has
subject matter jurisdiction, “the court may resolve the
disputed jurisdictional fact issues by referring to evidence
outside of the pleadings, such as affidavits, and if
necessary, hold an evidentiary ...