The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOSEPH GREENAWAY Jr., District Judge
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.
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.
I. Governing Legal Standards
A. Standard for a Rule 12(c) Motion for Judgment on the
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 ...