Court Denies Motion to Dismiss NYSCHR, NYCHRL Disability Discrimination Claims Following Dismissal of Federal Complaint Without Prejudice

In Flint v. Atlantic Networks, LLC, No. 505043/2021, 2024 WL 1840597 (N.Y. Sup Ct, Kings County Apr. 17, 2024), the court denied defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s disability discrimination claims asserted under the New York State and City Human Rights Laws.

The court began by summarizing the standard to apply when considering a pre-answer motion to dismiss:

On a motion to dismiss a complaint pursuant to CPLR 3211 (a)(7), “the court must accept the facts as alleged in the complaint as true, accord plaintiffs the benefit of every possible favorable inference, and determine only whether the facts as alleged fit within any cognizable legal theory” (Benjamin v. Yeroushalmi, 212 A.D.3d 758, 760, 183 N.Y.S.3d 134 [internal quotation marks omitted]; see Leon v. Martinez, 84 N.Y.2d 83, 87-88, 614 N.Y.S.2d 972, 638 N.E.2d 511). “Where evidentiary materials are considered in support of a motion pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(7), and the motion is not converted into one for summary judgment, the court must determine whether the plaintiff has a cause of action, not whether the plaintiff has stated one and, unless it has been shown that a material fact as claimed by the plaintiff to be one is not a fact at all and unless it can be said that no significant dispute exists regarding it, dismissal should not eventuate” (Recine v. Recine, 201 A.D.3d 827, 830, 161 N.Y.S.3d 307 [internal quotation marks omitted]; see Guggenheimer v. Ginzburg, 43 N.Y.2d 268, 274-275,401 N.Y.S.2d 182, 372 N.E.2d 17). “Whether the complaint will later survive a motion for summary judgment, or whether the plaintiff will ultimately be able to prove its claims, of course, plays no part in the determination of a prediscovery CPLR 3211 motion to dismiss” (Churong Liu v. Gabbay, 219 A.D.3d 459, 460, 194 N.Y.S.3d 258 [internal quotation marks omitted]; see Maursky v. Latham, 219 A.D.3d 473,474-75, 193 N.Y.S.3d 300). “A motion to dismiss a complaint pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(1) may be granted only if the documentary evidence submitted by the moving party utterly refutes the factual allegations of the complaint and conclusively establishes a defense to the claims as a matter of law” (Churong Liu v. Gabbay, 219 A.D.3d at 460, 194 N.Y.S.3d 258 [internal quotation marks omitted]; see Goshen v. Mutual Life Ins. Co. of N.Y., 98 N.Y.2d 314, 326, 746 N.Y.S.2d 858, 774 N.E.2d 1190).

Applying the law, the court – noting that the federal court dismissed plaintiff’s federal complaint “on the basis that application of the federal statute was not possible because of remediation and because defendants were no longer in business” – found that “dismissal was without prejudice and inasmuch as only the state claims are before the court, the plaintiff has pleaded facts that fit within a cognizable legal theory,” namely, discrimination based on a violation of the New York State and City Human Rights Laws.

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