Justia Labor & Employment Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals
Castine v. Zurlo
Plaintiff filed suit against defendants after she was temporarily removed from the office of the Clinton County Election Commissioner during her candidacy for Beekmantown Town Justice. Plaintiff alleged that her removal from office under Clinton County Local Law No. 1 was an unconstitutional retaliation for the exercise of her First Amendment rights in running for elective office. The court agreed with the district court that plaintiff's evidence failed to show a genuine issue of material fact supporting her claim of unconstitutional retaliation. The court affirmed the district court's judgment insofar as it dismissed her federal claim. The court vacated, however, the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendants on plaintiff's claim seeking a declaratory judgment that Local Law No. 1 is void under New York state law. The timing of the claim raises a substantial question whether the claim was moot. Therefore, the court remanded to the district court to consider the question of mootness in the first instance. View "Castine v. Zurlo" on Justia Law
Brown v. N.Y.C. Dep’t of Educ.
Plaintiff appealed from the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants on plaintiff's federal claim for relief under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. 201 et seq. The court declined to review plaintiff's lack of notice claim. The court concluded that the totality of the circumstances, even when viewed in the light most favorable to plaintiff, compelled the legal conclusion that he rendered services at a high school as a public agency volunteer, thereby exempting the DOE from the minimum and overtime wage requirements of the FLSA. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment, and the court concluded that the district court acted within its discretion in dismissing plaintiff's New York Labor Law claim without prejudice to refiling in state court. View "Brown v. N.Y.C. Dep't of Educ." on Justia Law
Fracasse v. People’s United Bank
Plaintiffs, formerly employed as mortgage underwriters by the Bank, filed suit in state court asserting state law claims for unjust enrichment, negligent infliction of emotional distress, wrongful termination in violation of public policy, and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The Bank removed to federal court and the district court dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6), holding that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. 201 et seq., preempted plaintiffs' common law claims. In Gunn v. Minton, the Supreme Court explained that federal jurisdiction over a state law claim will lie if a federal issue is: (1) necessarily raised, (2) actually disputed, (3) substantial, and (4) capable of resolution in federal court without disrupting the federal-state balance approved by Congress. In this case, the court concluded that the federal issue arising in these state law claims was not substantial, and the district court, therefore, lacked subject matter jurisdiction. Even if the court were to assume that plaintiffs' state common law claims raised a federal issue as pled, the federal issue was at best insubstantial. Accordingly, the court concluded that the federal courts were without subject matter jurisdiction in this case and vacated and remanded with instructions. View "Fracasse v. People's United Bank" on Justia Law
Parada v. Banco Industrial de Venezuela, C.A.
Plaintiff filed discrimination and retaliation claims against the Bank under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq., as well as state and local laws. At issue was whether an employee's inability to sit for a prolonged time may constitute a disability under the ADA. The court held that impairments that limit the ability to sit for long periods of time do not categorically fail to qualify as disabilities under the ADA. The court vacated the district court's judgment relating to plaintiff's claim of discrimination under the ADA and leave for the district court to determine in the first instance on remand if the record reflected a genuine dispute of fact as to whether plaintiff's inability to sit for a prolonged period of time constituted a substantial limitation of a major life activity, and to address remaining arguments advanced by the Bank in its summary judgment motion. The court affirmed the district court's judgment with respect to plaintiff's claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. 201 et seq., as well as her claim of retaliation under the ADA. The court vacated the district court's judgment with respect to plaintiff's claim of discrimination under the ADA and her claims under state law, remanding for further proceedings. View "Parada v. Banco Industrial de Venezuela, C.A." on Justia Law
Castagna v. Luceno
Plaintiff appealed from the dismissal of her state-law tort claims as time-barred, arguing that the statute of limitations applicable to her tort claims was tolled by her filing of a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. The court joined the Seventh and Ninth Circuits in holding as a matter of federal law that filing an EEOC charge did not toll the limitations period of state-law tort claims, even if those claims arose out of the same factual circumstances as the discrimination alleged in the EEOC charge. Accordingly, the court affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff's tort claims. View "Castagna v. Luceno" on Justia Law
Brady v. Int’l Brotherhood of Teamsters, et al.
Plaintiff filed suit against defendants alleging that they violated Title I of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), 29 U.S.C. 411 et seq., by denying him membership in IBT Local 817 in retaliation for his complaints about a union member. The district court held that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction because plaintiff pleaded facts affirmatively establishing that he was neither a member nor a member in substance of the union. The court affirmed the judgment of the district court, concluding that plaintiff failed to plead facts establishing that he was even a member "in substance." The court clarified that the LMRDA conferred subject matter jurisdiction over claims brought by members in substance as well as by formal union members. View "Brady v. Int'l Brotherhood of Teamsters, et al." on Justia Law
Kalyanaram v. Am. Ass’n. of Univ. Professors at The N.Y. Inst. of Tech., Inc.
Plaintiff filed suit against the Union alleging that it breached its duty of fair representation. The Union filed a motion for partial judgment on the pleadings, arguing that plaintiff's claim was time-barred. The court held that the statute of limitations on plaintiff's claim accrued when the arbitrator issued his final award even though the collective bargaining agreement provided that the arbitrator's decision shall be final and binding subject to appeal by either party. Further, a state court action to vacate the arbitration award did not toll that limitations period. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of the Union's motion. View "Kalyanaram v. Am. Ass'n. of Univ. Professors at The N.Y. Inst. of Tech., Inc." on Justia Law
Ramos v. SimplexGrinnell LP
Plaintiffs, workers who installed, maintained, repaired, tested, and inspected fire alarm and suppression systems in public and private buildings for Simplex, filed suit claiming that Simplex did not pay them prevailing wages for their labor on public works in violation of NYLL section 220. This case raises two questions of New York law that the court certified to the state court: (1) whether a court should give deference not only to an agency's substantive interpretation of a statute arising from an unrelated proceeding but also to its decision to enforce that interpretation only prospectively; and (2) whether contracts committing parties to pay prevailing wages under section 220 need to specify - when the scope of the statute's coverage is unclear to the parties - what particular work the prevailing wages will be paid for. View "Ramos v. SimplexGrinnell LP" on Justia Law
Martinez v. Bloomberg LP
Plaintiff appealed the district court's dismissal of his discrimination claim against his former employer under Rule 12(b)(3) for improper venue. Defendants moved to dismiss on the basis of a clause contained in plaintiff's employment contract, which indicated that English law governed the agreement and that "any dispute arising hereunder shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts." The court affirmed, holding that where a contract contained both a valid choice-of-law clause and a forum selection clause, the substantive law identified in the choice-of-law clause governed the interpretation of the forum selection clause, while federal law governed the enforceability of the forum selection clause; under English law, plaintiff's discrimination claims arose under the employment agreement, within the meaning of the forum selection clause; and the forum selection clause was enforceable under federal law. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Martinez v. Bloomberg LP" on Justia Law
Matusick v. Erie Cnty Water Auth., et al.
Plaintiff filed suit against defendants alleging, inter alia, unlawful discrimination and hostile work environment. The court concluded, inter alia, that the jury was precluded from finding that plaintiff had not actually engaged in the conduct charged against him in the section 75 of the New York State Civil Service Law hearing. Inasmuch as the district court did not expressly instruct the jury that its fact-findings were cabined in this regard, the jury charge was in error. The court affirmed the judgment of the district court with respect to the state law claims and its award of backpay to plaintiff; affirmed the judgment as to plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. 1983 claim against the ECWA and the concomitant award of punitive damages against the ECWA; reversed the judgment imposing liability against the individual defendants on plaintiff's section 1983 claims against them, and therefore also reversed the judgment insofar as it awarded punitive damages against the individual defendants; and affirmed the district court's attorney's fee award. View "Matusick v. Erie Cnty Water Auth., et al." on Justia Law