In Felton v. Monroe Community College et al, 6:20-CV-06156, 2021 WL 1132411 (W.D.N.Y. March 24, 2021), the court held, inter alia, that plaintiff sufficiently alleged race discrimination, and denied defendant’s motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
From the decision:
Plaintiff’s allegations as to discriminatory motive are admittedly thin. However, construing Plaintiff’s complaint in the light most favorable to him, he has alleged that his supervisors—all of whom were white—gave certain benefits, including promotions to fulltime teaching positions, to white or non-African American individuals, which they did not extend to him, and that they failed to offer any reasonable explanation for why his regular classes were moved to a time during which he was unable to teach. See Littlejohn, 795 F.3d 312 (plaintiff may show circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination by alleging the more favorable treatment of employees not in the protected group). These allegations distinguish this case from the ones relied upon by MCC, such as Patane v. Clark, 508 F.3d 106 (2d Cir. 2007), where the plaintiff failed to “set forth any factual circumstances from which a gender-based motivation for such an action might be inferred,” including that she failed to allege, for example, that “male employees were given preferential treatment when compared to Plaintiff.” Id. at 112. Again, Plaintiff does allege that individuals of a different race were given preferential treatment when compared to his treatment. And while MCC relies upon the fact that Plaintiff alleges certain classes were assigned to another individual of the same race (Dkt. 14-1 at 14), at this stage of the proceedings that is not determinative of whether Plaintiff may proceed with his claim, given the other allegations in the complaint.
While Plaintiff’s pro se filing is not the model of clarity, his allegations of discrimination are not entirely conclusory; for example, he has alleged that individuals outside of his protected group were treated more favorably than he was, including that they were considered for full-time positions, while he was not informed of or considered for those positions.
The court thus concluded that, in light of plaintiff’s pro se (unrepresented) status and viewing his allegations in the light most favorable to him at this early stage of the case, he adequately stated a claim for race discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the new York State Human Rights Law.