United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
W. EGINTON, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Neal Perron brought this action against defendant Estuary
Transit District, alleging that his termination violated 6
U.S.C. § 1142(a) and (b)(2); plaintiff also asserts a
state law claim, alleging retaliation for exercise of his
right to freedom of expression. Defendant has moved to
dismiss all counts for failure to state a claim. Plaintiff
does not oppose dismissal of the alleged violation of Section
1142(a). For the following reasons, defendant's motion to
dismiss will be granted.
purposes of ruling on this motion to dismiss, the Court
accepts the allegations of the complaint as true and draws
all inferences in favor of plaintiff.
is a resident of Connecticut. Defendant is a political
subdivision of the state of Connecticut, and a “public
transportation agency” as that term is defined in 29
C.F.R. § 1982.101.
December 2015, plaintiff began work for defendant as a bus
driver. On June 10, 2017, plaintiff reviewed the Driver
Vehicle Inspection Report (“DVIR”) for the bus
that he was assigned to drive. Plaintiff alleges that DVIRs
are required to be completed by drivers before and after the
operation of their motor vehicle each day pursuant to
defendant's policy as well as federal regulation, 49 CFR
§ 396.11(a)(3), which prohibits the operation of a
vehicle unless any such defect or deficiency has been
repaired and is certified as repaired or not requiring
noted that the driver had indicated that a nail was lodged in
one of the tires on the bus. He alleges that the tire had not
been repaired, and that the DVIR did not certify that the
condition had been repaired or that repair was unnecessary.
Plaintiff was concerned that the bus posed an unseen and
hazardous condition and that its operation would present an
imminent danger of death or serious injury.
informed a dispatcher that he would not operate the bus
because the issue identified on the DVIR had not been
repaired and the bus would present an imminent danger. The
dispatcher responded that no other buses were available for
him to operate. Plaintiff ultimately agreed to operate the
14, 2017, plaintiff sent a letter to another of
defendant's dispatchers, explaining that he was refusing
to operate any bus due to defendant's practice of failing
to perform necessary repairs and its failure to provide the
certification required by the federal regulation. He informed
defendant that he was not quitting, leaving or resigning, but
that he was declining to operate any bus due to
defendant's noncompliance with 49 CFR §
396.11(a)(3), and due to his fear that defendant's buses
were unsafe. He indicated that he would return to work once
the issue was resolved.
19, 2017, plaintiff called defendant's Operations
Manager, and asked her whether defendant had addressed the
issues he identified in his letter. The Operations Manager
responded that defendant was still looking into the
situation, but that plaintiff was on the schedule for the
following day. Later that day, on a phone call with the
Operations Manager, plaintiff learned that defendant had
investigated his concern, concluded that it was not valid,
and was treating plaintiff as having resigned from his
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).
Count One, plaintiff alleges that defendant terminated his
employment, in violation of 6 U.S.C. § 1142(a)(1) and
(2), because he refused to drive defendant's buses due to
his concern that defendant ...