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Alicea v. North America Central School Bus, LLC

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

February 6, 2017

CARMEN A. ALICEA, Plaintiff,
v.
NORTH AMERICAN CENTRAL SCHOOL BUS, LLC, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

          F. Dennis Saylor IV United States District Judge

         This is a workplace discrimination action. Plaintiff Carmen Alicea has brought suit against her former employer, defendant North American Central School Bus, LLC. The complaint alleges claims arising under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq.

         Defendant has moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. For the following reasons, defendant's motion will be granted.

         I. Background

         The facts are set forth as alleged in the complaint.

         Plaintiff Carmen Alicea is a Hispanic woman over the age of forty. North American Central School Bus, LLC, (“NACSB”) is a limited liability company that manages school bus contracts, including the contract for the Waltham schools.

         On August 1, 2011, Alicea began working for NACSB as a contract manager. Alicea's son, Francisco, also worked for NACSB, as a bus monitor.

         On October 17, 2012, Francisco was accused of “engaging in [unspecified] inappropriate activity.” (Compl. ¶ 8). The Waltham schools “requested [his] immediate removal.” (Id.)

         The complaint alleges that it was one of Alicea's duties as a contract manager to investigate allegations of wrongdoing, and that pursuant to that duty, she attempted to view videos in the custody of the police concerning the October 17 incident. The police refused to permit Alicea to view the videos. Thereafter, Alicea filed a report with NACSB concerning what she knew of the October 17 incident. Francisco was never criminally charged in connection with the incident, although he was terminated from employment at NACSB.

         The complaint alleges that after the incident, Alicea was “led to believe that everything was going well with her job” and her supervisor “continued to reassure her not to worry.” (Compl. ¶ 18). Despite those reassurances, she had hints that all was not well. First, she received an email stating that NACSB was transitioning a new manager for the Belmont location-apparently into her job. When asked, her supervisor told her that the new manager would be placed at a different location. Later, she saw an advertisement on Craigslist.com stating that NACSB was interviewing candidates for a manager position, but was again reassured that the advertisement concerned a different position and that she would not be replaced.

         On February 4, 2013, Alicea was terminated. She was “ultimately replaced by a younger (under age 40), male, Caucasian employee.” (Compl. ¶ 25).

         On September 23, 2016, Alicea brought this action alleging claims for discrimination and retaliation under Title VII and the ADEA. On December 20, 2016, defendant moved to dismiss the complaint under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).

         II. Analysis

         On a motion to dismiss, the court “must assume the truth of all well-plead[ed] facts and give the plaintiff the benefit of all reasonable inferences therefrom.” Ruiz v. Bally Total Fitness Holding Corp., 496 F.3d 1, 5 (1st Cir. 2007) (citing Rogan v. Menino, 175 F.3d 75, 77 (1st Cir. 1999)). To survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint must state a claim that is “plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). That is, “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level . . . on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).” Id. at 555 (citations omitted). “The plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability requirement, ' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Dismissal is appropriate if the complaint fails to set forth “factual allegations, either direct ...


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