United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION GRANTING DEFENDANTS'
MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT [ECF NO.
VANESSA L. BRYANT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is a Motion to Dismiss the Plaintiff Matthew
LaVecchia's Complaint, [ECF No.1], brought by Defendants
Milford Board of Fire Commissioners (“the
Board”), Fire Chief Douglas E. Edo, Assistant Chief of
Operations Gary R. Baker, and Assistant Chief of Fire Marshal
Bernard R. Begley (collectively “Defendants”).
[ECF No. 14]. For the reasons set forth herein the
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss against the individual
defendants will be GRANTED with prejudice. The
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss against the Board will be
GRANTED without prejudice to the Plaintiff filing an Amended
Complaint by October 24, 2019 sufficient to state a plausible
claim for relief under the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”) against the Board.
pro se Complaint, which was filed on March 7, 2019,
consists of a partially filled out Pro Se Form 7 Complaint
for Employment Discrimination, with an attached notarized
“Affidavit of Retaliation for Filing a CHRO Complaint
in 2016.” [ECF No. 1 at 7-13]. The Complaint also
attaches a “Dismissal and Notice of Rights”
signed by U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”) Area Office Director Feng Kenneth An on
December 13, 2018, stating that “[b]ased upon its
investigation, the EEOC is unable to conclude that the
information obtained establishes violations of the
statutes.” Id. at 14. The EEOC Notice also
states that “This does not certify that the respondent
is in compliance with the statutes. No. finding has been made
as to any other issues that might be construed as having been
raised by this charge.” Id. Finally, the EEOC
Notice informs the Plaintiff that he has 90 days in which to
file suit. Id.
Pro Se Form 7 portion of his Complaint, Plaintiff checked the
box indicating that it was the ADA that formed the
“Basis for Jurisdiction.” Id. at 3. In
the “Statement of Claim” section, Plaintiff
checked boxes for “[termination of my employment,
” “[f]ailure to promote me, ”
“[f]ailure to accommodate my disability, ”
“[u]nequal terms and conditions of my employment, and
“[r]etaliation.” Id. at 4. The remainder
of the applicable blocks on Plaintiffs Pro Se Form 7 are
filled in with “See Attachment.” Id. at
affidavit entitled “Affidavit of Retaliation for Filing
a CHRO Complaint in 2016” alleges that he filed a
Complaint with the State of Connecticut Commission on Human
Rights and Opportunities (“CHRO”) in December
2016, and that filing that Complaint caused Defendants to
retaliate against him by terminating him without just
cause. [ECF No. 1 at 7].
facts that Plaintiff alleges in support of this conclusion
are as follows. First, in a section entitled “Statement
of Facts #1, ” Plaintiff alleges that the 2016 CHRO
Complaint was resolved and memorialized in a settlement
agreement. Id. Plaintiff alleges that the terms and
condition of that agreement were violated by Defendants by
the Milford Fire Department (“MFD”) not providing
“ADA sensitivity training to MFD employees, ”
certain items in Plaintiff's personnel file not being
removed therefrom, non-use of Plaintiff by the MFD dive team,
and Plaintiff not being trained, qualified and used as an
operator of certain MFD fire apparatus. Id. at 7-8.
Plaintiff also argues apart from the settlement agreement
violations that (i) a 2017 collective bargaining agreement
(“CBA”) between the City of Milford and the
firefighters' union eliminated “Acting Pay, ”
which Plaintiff might have been entitled to, (ii) he was
terminated to save the MFD money before he retired, and that
(iii) Defendant Begley tried unsuccessfully to catch
Plaintiff slacking on the job. Id. at 8.
in a section entitled “Statement of Facts #2, ”
Plaintiff alleges that on February 14, 2018, he was
“arrested for an off duty assault, ” which
Plaintiff claims was actually initiated by an old high school
friend. Id. at 9. This led to Plaintiff being
“removed from his promotion assignment” and
reassigned, suspended without pay, and eventually
terminated, without proper due process protections being
afforded and in a way that was not even-handed and that was
discriminatory. Id. at 9-10. Plaintiff also alleges
that the Board committed several freedom of information
violations for, inter alia, holding improper
executive sessions. Id. at 10-12. Finally, Plaintiff
asks that the Court enforce the 2016 settlement agreement,
promote him because his boss is retiring, force the MFD to
perform certain personnel actions, provide him with back pay,
order the Defendants to stop harassing him, and pay his legal
fees and costs. Id. at 13.
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss
Motion to Dismiss, [ECF No. 14], first argues that the ADA
does not provide for individual liability and that therefore
the three individual defendants, Edo, Baker, and Begley
should be dismissed from the case, leaving only the Board.
Id. at 5-6.
next argue that Plaintiff's discrimination claims under
the ADA are not plausible, for several reasons. First,
Defendants argue that Plaintiff has not alleged that he is
disabled, which Defendants claim is required under the ADA.
Id. at 6-9. Second, Defendants argue that other than
his termination, Plaintiff has not alleged that he has
suffered an “adverse employment action, ” which
Defendants claim is also required by the ADA. Id. at
10-14. Third, Defendants argue that Plaintiff has not alleged
“causation, ” meaning that Plaintiff has not
alleged that an adverse employment action that Plaintiff has
suffered was “caused” by his disability, or the
Defendants' perception of it. Id. at 14-16.
Specifically, Defendants argue that the Plaintiff's
allegations seem to indicate that the cause of
Plaintiff's termination was the assault that occurred in
February 2018, not because of discrimination based on a
disability Plaintiff had, or Defendants' perception of
Plaintiff's disability. Lastly, Defendants argue that
Plaintiff has not sufficiently pled a failure to promote or a
reasonable accommodation claim because of a lack of
“any allegations” concerning either. Id.
Defendants argue Plaintiff's ADA retaliation claim is
implausible, because “plaintiff has not set forth any
allegations causally connecting his [2016 CHRO] complaint and
the challenged employment actions [i.e. termination], ”
id. 18-20, and because the time period between the
2016 CHRO Complaint and his termination was too great under
existing caselaw. Id.
has failed to respond to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss
and the time for doing so has long since passed. [ECF No. 14
(setting response to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss due by
August 8, 2019)].