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July 31, 2012

Examination for Fire Lieutenant prepared by the New York State Department Civil Service held job related


Examination for Fire Lieutenant prepared by the New York State Department Civil Service held job related

In a Title VII suit against the City of Buffalo (City) claiming race discrimination in the administration of the 1998 and 2002 promotional examinations for the position of fire lieutenant, district court's judgment in favor of the defendants is affirmed where:

1. On plaintiffs' disparate impact challenge to the 1998 examination, the district court did not clearly err in finding that the defendant carried its burden to demonstrate that the examination's job relatedness by showing that the test derived from a valid statewide job analysis indicating the fire lieutenants across New York performed the same critical tasks required the same critical skills and in finding that the [New York State] Civil Service Department exercised reasonable competence in designing the examination and that the examination was both content related and representative;

2. On plaintiffs' disparate treatment challenge, the district court correctly concluded that plaintiffs could not re-litigate questions of job relatedness and business necessity decided against them at the bench trial of their disparate impact claims and that plaintiffs had not established a genuine material of fact that the City intentionally discriminated against African Americans by using the 1998 test results; and

3. On plaintiffs' Title VII challenge to the 2002 examination, the district court correctly relied on collateral estoppel to grant summary judgment in favor of the City because the only matters in dispute had been resolved in the earlier challenge to the 1998 examination and there was sufficient identity between the plaintiffs in both suits.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

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