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Monica Ditommaso v. (Jei/Kmw) the Medicines Company

December 7, 2010

MONICA DITOMMASO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
(JEI/KMW) THE MEDICINES COMPANY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Joseph E. Irenas

OPINION

This matter appears before the Court on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss the Complaint, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). *fn1 For the reasons sets forth below, the Court will grant in part and deny in part the Motion.

I.

The following facts are alleged in the Complaint. Defendant, The Medicines Company, ("Medco") employed Plaintiff, Monica DiTommaso, ("DiTommaso") as a salesperson from February 6, 2002, until on or about April 7, 2009. (Complaint ¶¶ 9-10) DiTomasso is a "Caucasian individual." ( Id. at 9). During her employment, DiTomasso consistently achieved a high percentage of her sales goals, exceeding the minimum level of achievement required to receive sales commissions from Medco. ( Id. at 11)

In 2006 and 2007, Reginald Davis ("Davis"), DiTomasso's manager and an "African-American individual", failed to increase DiTomasso's salary based on her race. Davis did provide salary increases to African-American employees, each of whom had lower sales figures than DiTomasso. ( Id. at 13) DiTomasso registered a complaint of racial discrimination with Medco's human resources director, but no corrective action was taken. ( Id. at 14)

In retaliation for DiTomasso's complaints, Davis reassigned several of DiTomasso's most profitable accounts to other, less qualified employees. ( Id. at 15) Davis allowed similarly situated African-American employees to choose their assigned accounts. ( Id. at 17) DiTomasso was also denied the opportunity to attend an industry conference, while certain African-American employees with less tenure than DiTomasso were allowed to attend. ( Id. at 16) In further retaliation, Davis refused to intervene on behalf of DiTomasso with a customer who was making sexually-offensive comments, and refused to adjust working hours for DiTomasso while allowing such adjustments for similarly situated Africa-American employees. ( Id. at 19) Davis also refused to reduce DiTomasso's sales quota without proper documentation from a customer, while lowering sales quotas of similarly situated Africa-American employees without such documentation. ( Id. at 20)

Again, DiTomasso registered a complaint of racial discrimination, this time with Medco's area sales director, but no corrective action was taken. ( Id. at 21). Further retaliation continued. In March 2009, Davis issued DiTomasso a negative review for failing to meet her sales quota, even though such failure was the result of Davis's racial discrimination and retaliatory acts. ( Id. at 22) Davis did not issue negative reviews to similarly situated Africa-American employees, even if those employees that failed to meet their sales quotas. ( Id. Medco terminated DiTomasso on April 7, 2009, due to poor sales performance. ( Id. at 23) Medco did not terminate similarly situated Africa-American employees with sales performances inferior to DiTomasso. ( Id. at 24)

DiTomasso filed her original complaint on April 13, 2010. Medco then filed this Motion to Dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) on June 22, 2010. *fn2

Count I of the Complaint alleges that Medco discriminated against DiTomasso because of her race in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Count II of the Complaint alleges that Medco retaliated against DiTomasso for her opposition to race discrimination in the workplace in violation of § 1981. Count III of the Complaint alleges that Medco discriminated against DiTomasso in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination ("LAD"), N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 et. seq. Count IV of the Complaint alleges that Medco retaliated against DiTomasso in violation of the LAD.

For the reasons explained herein, the Court will deny Defendant's Motion to Dismiss as to Counts I and II, and will grant the Motion as to Counts III and IV. *fn3

II.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides that a court may dismiss a complaint "for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." In order to survive a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a complaint must allege facts that raise a right to relief above the speculative level. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S. Ct. 1955, 1965 (2007); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). While a court must accept as true all allegations in the plaintiff's complaint, and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, Phillips v. County of Allegheny , 515 F.3d 224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008), a court is not required to accept sweeping legal conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations, unwarranted inferences, or unsupported conclusions. Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist. , 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997). The complaint must state sufficient facts to show that the legal allegations are not simply possible, but plausible. Phillips , 515 F.3d at 234.

III.

DiTomasso's claims under ยง 1981 are governed by the burden-shifting principles set ...


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