Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

BROWN v. NORTON

October 17, 2005.

MARILEE BROWN, Plaintiff,
v.
GALE NORTON, as Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, THE UNITED STATES FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, et al., Individuals and DOES I-XX, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOSEPH GREENAWAY Jr., District Judge

OPINION

This matter comes before the Court on the Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings or, in the alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment by Defendants Gale Norton, Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (collectively, "Defendants"). Defendants have filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings or, in the alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment on the Amended Complaint, pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 12(c) and 56. For the reasons set forth below, these Motions will be granted in part and denied in part.

INTRODUCTION

  Plaintiff has been employed by Defendant United States Fish and Wildlife Service ("FWS") since 1995. Her initial work assignment was at the New Jersey field office in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where the allegations contained in the Amended Complaint arose. During Plaintiff's assignment to this office, she filed three complaints of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), the first on July 6, 1998, and the second and third in 1999. By letter dated October 11, 2001, the EEOC issued a Final Agency Decision ("FAD") which determined that these complaints did not give rise to employment discrimination claims. The FAD gave notice of the right to sue within 90 days. Plaintiff filed her initial Complaint against Defendants on February 15, 2002 and, by leave of this Court, an Amended Complaint on January 31, 2005. In the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleged that Defendants: engaged in discriminatory retaliation against her in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000 (Count I); engaged in discriminatory retaliation in violation of N.J. Stat. § 34:19-3 (Count II); and failed to pay wages in violation of both the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201 (Count III) and N.J. Stat § 34:11-56a (Count IV). On May 19, 2005, Defendants filed the instant motions.

  ANALYSIS

  I. Governing Legal Standards

  A. Standard for a Rule 12(c) Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings

  The standard for a motion for judgment on the pleadings under FED. R. CIV. P. 12(c) is the same as that for a motion to dismiss under FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b). See Spruill v. Gillis, 372 F.3d 218, 223 (3d Cir. 2004) ("There is no material difference in the applicable legal standards"). Because the legal standards do not differ, this Court will use the word "dismiss" in this opinion to refer to the action sought by the Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. B. Standard for a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss

  On a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6), the court must accept as true all allegations in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom, and view them in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. See Oshiver v. Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, 38 F.3d 1380, 1384 (3d Cir. 1994). A complaint should be dismissed only if the alleged facts, taken as true, fail to state a claim. See In re Warfarin Sodium, 214 F.3d 395, 397 (3d Cir. 2000). The question is whether the claimant can prove any set of facts consistent with his or her allegations that will entitle him or her to relief, not whether that person will ultimately prevail. See Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984). While a court will accept well-pled allegations as true for the purposes of the motion, it will not accept unsupported conclusions, unwarranted inferences, or sweeping legal conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations. See Sutton v. United Airlines, Inc., 527 U.S. 471, 475 (1999). All reasonable inferences, however, must be drawn in the plaintiff's favor. See Sturm v. Clark, 835 F.2d 1009, 1011 (3d Cir. 1987). Moreover, the claimant must set forth sufficient information to outline the elements of his or her claims or to permit inferences to be drawn that the elements exist. See FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a)(2); Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957). "The defendant bears the burden of showing that no claim has been presented." Hedges v. United States, 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir. 2005).

  C. Standard for a Rule 56 Motion for Summary Judgment

  Summary judgment is appropriate under FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c) when the moving party demonstrates that there is no genuine issue of material fact and the evidence establishes the moving party's entitlement to judgment as a matter of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Orson, Inc. v. Miramax Film Corp., 79 F.3d 1358, 1366 (3d Cir. 1996). In making this determination, the Court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-movant. Hullett v. Towers, Perrin, Forster & Crosby, Inc., 38 F.3d 107, 111 (3d Cir. 1994); Nat'l State Bank v. Fed. Reserve Bank of N.Y., 979 F.2d 1579, 1581 (3d Cir. 1992).

  Once the moving party has satisfied its initial burden, the party opposing the motion must establish that a genuine issue as to a material fact exists. Jersey Cent. Power & Light Co. v. Lacey Township, 772 F.2d 1103, 1109 (3d Cir. 1985). The party opposing the motion for summary judgment cannot rest on mere allegations and instead must present actual evidence that creates a genuine issue as to a material fact for trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Siegel Transfer, Inc. v. Carrier Express, Inc., 54 F.3d 1125, 1130-31 (3d Cir. 1995). "[U]nsupported allegations . . . and pleadings are insufficient to repel summary judgment." Schoch v. First Fid. Bancorporation, 912 F.2d 654, 657 (3d Cir. 1990); see also FED. R. CIV. P. 56(e) (requiring nonmoving party to "set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial").

  If the nonmoving party has failed "to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial, . . . there can be `no genuine issue of material fact,' since a complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial." Katz v. Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co., 972 F.2d 53, 55 (3d Cir. 1992) (quoting Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-23). In determining whether there are any issues of material fact, the Court must resolve all doubts as to the existence of a material fact against the moving ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.