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April 17, 2023

Curing certain procedural omissions by the plaintiff and the plaintiff's alleged failure to state the merits of certain of her claims

Plaintiff [Petitioner] appealed the judgment of the United States District Court dismissing all her claims against the Defendants [School District]. Petitioner had filed claims alleging unlawful discrimination within the meaning of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §2000e et seq., and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, as made actionable by 42 U.S.C. §1983.

As to certain procedural issues, the Circuit Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, said it had concluded that although the School District has been properly served with the summons and complaint, Petitioner had failed to demonstrate proper service of her complaint upon two named School District employees. The court also agreed with the district court that Petitioner had failed to exhaust that portion of her Title VII claim related to alleged adverse employment actions in May 2019.

Addressing the merits of Petitioner's action, the Circuit Court ruled that the district court had erred in holding that the Petitioner's First Amended Complaint failed to state a plausible claim under Title VII or the Equal Protection Clause.

Accordingly, the Circuit Court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Petitioner's Title VII complaint "to the extent the claim is based on alleged adverse employment actions in May 2019" but then vacated the district court’s judgment to the extent it dismissed Petitioner's Section 1983 claim and the remainder of Petitioner's Title VII claim.

The Circuit Court then remanded the matter to the district court for:

1. Further proceedings consistent with its opinion; and

2. A determination by the district court as to whether Petitioner should be provided with
"an extension of time to effectuate proper service of process" on the two employees of the School District referred to above.

Click HERE to access the decision of the Circuit Court of Appeals.

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New York Public Personnel Law Blog Editor Harvey Randall served as Principal Attorney, New York State Department of Civil Service; Director of Personnel, SUNY Central Administration; Director of Research, Governor’s Office of Employee Relations; and Staff Judge Advocate General, New York Guard. Consistent with the Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations, the material posted to this blog is presented with the understanding that neither the publisher nor NYPPL and, or, its staff and contributors are providing legal advice to the reader and in the event legal or other expert assistance is needed, the reader is urged to seek such advice from a knowledgeable professional.
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