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Small v. Rahway Board of Education

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

January 26, 2018

JANE SMALL, Plaintiff,
v.
RAHWAY BOARD OF EDUCATION & PATRICIA CAMP, Defendants.

          OPINION & ORDER

          JOHN MICHAEL VAZQUEZ U.S.D.J.

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendants Rahway Board of Education and Patricia Camp's (collectively "Defendants") renewed motion to dismiss[1] the Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).[2] D.E. 9. Defendants supplemented this motion. D.E. 18. Plaintiff Jane Small ("Plaintiff) filed a brief in opposition, D.E. 10, and then also supplemented that opposition. D.E. 19. Defendants replied to Plaintiffs opposition.[3] D.E. 20. The Court reviewed the submissions in support and in opposition, and considered the motion without oral argument pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b) and L. Civ. R. 78.1(b).[4] For the reasons stated below, Defendants' motion to dismiss and supplemental motion to dismiss are GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background

         Plaintiff is an African-American woman of over sixty years of age who, prior to 2016, had worked as a substitute custodian for the Rahway Board of Education. D.E. 1 at 3. Defendants are the Rahway Board of Education and the Superintendent of the Rahway Public School District, Patricia Camp. Id.

         Plaintiff alleges that the Rahway Board of Education hired her in August 2016 as a full-time custodian to begin in September 2016. Id. at 7. However, on August 31, 2016, the principal of one of the Rahway schools, Mr. Johnson, called Plaintiff to inform her that she could not start her new job due to a positive drug test result. Id. The drug test was conducted by an outside testing facility, Care Station Medical Group. D.E. 10 at PG. ID 105. The drug test states that Plaintiff tested positive for cocaine on August 22, 2016.[5] Id. Plaintiff maintains that Defendants refused to consider a note from her doctor explaining that she has a medical condition that caused a false positive test result.[6] D.E. 1-1 at 6-8. Plaintiffs doctors' notes list medications prescribed to Plaintiff. D.E. 10 at PG. ID 102-03. The notes, however, do not explain or support Plaintiffs claim of a "false positive" result.

         Plaintiff states that Defendants refused to consider her doctors' notes and hired a younger, white male for the custodial position instead of her. D.E. 1-1. Defendants argue that they adhered to the Rahway Public School District Policy 4119.23 in not hiring Plaintiff after she failed the pre-employment drug screening. Def. Sup. Brf. at 5; D.E. 18. The Policy, in relevant part, reads, "[p]re-employment testing shall be administered to an applicant offered a position in the district prior to the first time the employee performs any safety-sensitivity function for the district. An applicant who tests positive will not be hired for any safety-sensitive position." Id., File 4119.23 Employee Substance Abuse; D.E. 18-3.

         B. Procedural History

         On March 24, 2017, Plaintiff filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis and included her Complaint. D.E. 1. The Complaint alleges claims for employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), and the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). The Court granted Plaintiffs application to proceed in forma pauperis. D.E. 2. After screening the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court also allowed Plaintiffs ADEA claim to go forward. Id. However, the Court dismissed Plaintiffs claims under the ADA and Title VII without prejudice for failure to state a claim. Id. Specifically, the Court noted that Plaintiff had not attached a right to sue letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") as required to bring an ADA or Title VII claim. Id. The Court, nevertheless, granted Plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint correcting the noted deficiencies in the ADA and Title VII claims within thirty (30) days. Id.

         On September 13, 2017, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the Complaint. D.E. 9. On October 26, 2017, Plaintiff filed a letter, attaching a right to sue letter from the EEOC. D.E. 11. The following day, Plaintiff filed a brief in opposition to Defendants' motion to dismiss. D.E. 10. Defendants then filed a letter with the Court objecting to Plaintiffs late submission of opposition and her failure to respond to the Court's instructions in its April 6th Opinion and Order. D.E. 12.

         Consequently, the Court ordered Plaintiff to show cause why she had not filed a timely opposition or an Amended Complaint. D.E. 13. On November 29, 2017, the Court heard oral argument from both parties on the order to show cause. Afterwards, the Court ordered that Plaintiffs October 26, 2017 letter, which included a right to sue letter from the EEOC (D.E. 11), sufficiently addressed the deficiencies noted in the Court's April 6, 2017 Opinion and Order, D.E. 2, so that the ADA and Title VII claims could also go forward. D.E. 17. Because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court excused Plaintiffs tardiness. Further, the Court administratively terminated Defendants' motion to dismiss but stated that Defendants could later reinstate and supplement their motion. Id.

         On December 14, 2017, Defendants renewed their motion to dismiss and filed supplemental briefing. D.E. 18. Plaintiff, belatedly, filed a supplemental brief in opposition. D.E. 19. Defendants replied to this opposition. D.E. 20. Plaintiff then filed a letter with the Court, attaching a drug test dated November 3, 2018 for employment with Gem Limousine. D.E. 21.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Rule 12(b)(6) governs motions to dismiss for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." For a complaint to survive dismissal under the rule, it must contain sufficient factual matter to state a claim that is plausible on its face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl Corp. v. Twombly,550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is facially plausible "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. Although the plausibility standard "does not impose a probability requirement, it does require a pleading to show more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Connelly v. Lane Const. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 786 (3d Cir. 2016) (internal quotation marks and ...


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