United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
ANDRE GILL, P.E. Plaintiff,
ALEXION PHARMACEUTICALS, INC., and KATHERINE LEITCH, P.E., individually and as Director of Engineering, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
WILLIAM E. SMITH, CHIEF JUDGE.
the Court is Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Katherine
Leitch's (collectively “Defendants”) Motion
to Dismiss Counts I, II, III, and V of Plaintiff's
Complaint Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(B)(6), ECF No. 6. For
the reasons that follow, the Defendants' motion is
GRANTED IN PART.
Court is once again faced with pleadings in an employment
discrimination action that present a tangled knot of factual
allegations and conclusory statements. The Court has used its
best efforts to understand the pleading's narrative. The
recitation that follows accepts as true the Complaint's
well-pled facts, while according its conclusory assertions no
weight. See A.G. ex rel. Maddox v. Elsevier, Inc.,
732 F.3d 77, 80 (1st Cir. 2013); Barrington Cove Ltd.
P'ship v. R.I. Hous. & Mortg. Fin. Corp., 246
F.3d 1, 5 (1st Cir. 2001).
Andre Gill pleads eight claims under three statutes: 42
U.S.C. § 1981; the Rhode Island Whistleblowers'
Protection Act (“RIWPA”), R.I. Gen. Laws §
28-50-3 et seq.; and the Rhode Island Civil Rights Act
(“RICRA”), R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-112-1 et seq.
The claims under each statute are premised on substantially
the same factual allegations. See Compl., ECF No.
1-2. These include that Defendants: (1) subjected Plaintiff
to discriminatory terms of employment (Counts I, IV, VI,
VIII); (2) created an unlawful hostile work environment
(Counts II, VII); and (3) retaliated against Plaintiff for
making protected complaints (Counts III, V). Defendants have
moved to dismiss only counts I, II, III, and V. Defs.'
Mot. to Dismiss 1, ECF No. 6.
Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. employed Gill as a professional
engineer for approximately four years. Compl. ¶¶ 4,
8. Gill alleges that, before April 2013, his employer
regarded him as an “exemplary” employee who
received positive performance evaluations, two promotions,
and several pay raises. Id. ¶¶ 6, 11.
April 2013, Defendant Katherine Leitch became Gill's
supervisor. Id. ¶ 6. Gill alleges that Leitch
failed to demonstrate respect for Gill's engineering
judgment, consistently subjected him to criticism, withheld
positive encouragement, refused to look him in the eye, and
subjected him to negative performance evaluations.
Id. ¶¶ 11-12. Gill alleges that Leitch
gave him a negative evaluation only four weeks after becoming
his supervisor; this was the first negative performance
evaluation that Gill had received during his tenure at
Alexion. Id. ¶ 12. Gill alleges that
Leitch's negative performance evaluations resulted in
denied pay raises. Id. ¶¶ 11-12.
alleges that, after two years, Leitch decided to terminate
him and caused Alexion to ratify her decision on the grounds
of poor performance. Id. Gill characterizes her
rationale as pretextual. Id. ¶ 12. Alexion
terminated Gill on August 13, 2015, which was the date set
for his formal mid-year evaluation. Id. Gill alleges
Defendants hired three white males to perform all of his
former engineering duties at greatly increased labor costs.
Id. ¶ 13.
his tenure at Alexion, Gill presented reports regarding
“myriad mandatory legal mandates applicable to
Defendants.” Id. ¶¶ 14. Gill's
Complaint simply describes these reports as
“statutorily protected complaints” that were
communicated to Defendants both verbally and through email.
Id. ¶ 16. Gill claims that Alexion executives
retaliated against him by authorizing Leitch to supervise him
in a manner that would encourage him to quit. Id.
¶ 17. Because he did not quit, Defendants terminated his
employment. Id. Gill alleges that if he was not
fired, he would have continued to work and would have
received future pay raises. Id. ¶ 20.
later, on August 14, 2018, Gill filed this action in the
Rhode Island Superior Court. See Defs.' Notice
of Removal to Fed. Ct. (“Notice of Removal”), ECF
No. 1. Defendants removed the action to this Court based on
Gill's § 1981 claim. Id.
survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a plaintiff must allege
“sufficient factual matter . . . to ‘state a
claim to relief 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 two-step analysis governs such a determination.
First, the Court must “distinguish the complaint's
factual allegations (which must be accepted as true) from its
conclusory legal allegations (which need not be
credited).” Cardigan Mountain Sch. v. N.H. Ins.
Co., 787 F.3d 82, 84 (1st Cir. 2015) (quoting
García-Catalán v. United States, 734
F.3d 100, 103 (1st Cir. 2013) (quotation marks omitted)).
Second, the Court must “determine whether the factual
allegations are sufficient to support the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable.” Id.
(quoting Haley v. City of Boston, 657 F.3d 39, 46
(1st Cir. 2011).
Fails to State a Claim under RIWPA in ...