Haiyan v. Hamden Public Schools et al
ORDER granting 23 Defendant College Board's Motion to Dismiss; granting in part and denying in part 24 Defendants Rabinowitz, Hernandez and Rodriguez's Motion to Dismiss. See the attached Memorandum of Decision. Signed by Judge Vanessa L. Bryant on 7/15/11. (Engel, J.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
HAMDEN PUBLIC SCHOOLS, ET AL., :
CIVIL ACTION NO.
July 15, 2011
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION GRANTING DEFENDANT THE COLLEGE BOARD’S
MOTION TO DISMISS [Doc. #23] AND GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
DEFENDANTS FRANCES RABINOWITZ, HAMLET HERNANDEZ AND KAROLYN
RODRIGUEZ’S MOTION TO DISMISS [Doc. #24]
The plaintiff, Bai Haiyan (“Haiyan”), brings this action alleging that the
College Board, Hamden Public Schools, Frances Rabinowitz, Hamlet Hernandez,
and Karolyn Rodriguez1 (collectively, the “Defendants”) conspired to terminate her
employment in violation of the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the
Fourteenth Amendment, the First Amendment, and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. She further
asserts claims for breach of contract, violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964 against Hamden Public Schools, tortious interference with contractual
relations against the individual defendants and the College Board, and promissory
estoppel against the College Board. The College Board and the individual
defendants separately move to dismiss all constitutional claims against them, the 42
U.S.C. § 1981 claim, and the tortious interference with contractual relations claim2
for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)
Rabinowitz, Hernandez, and Rodriguez are hereinafter collectively referred
to as the “individual defendants.” Haiyan asserts her constitutional claims against
the individual defendants in their personal capacities only.
The individual defendants move to dismiss this claim only as against
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. [Doc. ##23, 24]. For the reasons explained
hereafter, the College Board’s motion to dismiss is GRANTED, and the individual
defendants’ motion to dismiss is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.
I. STATEMENT OF FACTS
Haiyan’s amended complaint alleges the following facts. Haiyan is a citizen of
the People’s Republic of China, where she was employed as a university professor
of English. Am. Compl. ¶ 2. In or about May 2009, Hamden Public Schools (“HPS”)
entered an agreement with the College Board, a New York corporation, whereby the
College Board agreed to assist HPS in obtaining a Chinese language teacher from
the People’s Republic of China through the College Board’s Chinese Guest Teacher
Program. Id. ¶ 10. Pursuant to this agreement, the College Board undertook the
responsibility of screening, supervising and evaluating Chinese language teachers
on behalf of HPS and HPS assumed the obligation of hiring a Chinese language
teacher from the People’s Republic of China for the 2009-2010 school year. Id. ¶¶
11, 13; Def. Exh. B [Doc. #25-2]. Haiyan further alleges that HPS agreed that it would
not terminate the employment of the Chinese Guest Teacher without just cause. Id.
On or about May 29, 2009, Haiyan entered into a written contract of
employment with HPS, whereby she was to teach Chinese language classes at
Hamden High School for a term of one-school year, beginning August 24, 2009 and
ending June 15, 2010. Id. ¶ 14. Under the terms of the contract, HPS promised to
pay Haiyan a salary of $26,967, a housing benefit of $8,500 and a transportation
benefit of $1,000. Id. ¶ 15; Def. Exh. A [Doc. #25-1]. HPS also promised to act as
Haiyan’s employer so that she would be eligible to obtain a J-1 visa, which would
permit her to lawfully enter and teach in the United States. Id. ¶ 16. Subsequently,
on July 21, 2009, Haiyan traveled to the United States to begin teaching Chinese
language classes at Hamden High School. Id. ¶ 18.
During September and October of 2009, Haiyan wrote to several
administrators in the Hamden School system concerning a dispute with regard to
her pay, resulting in Haiyan retaining counsel in an attempt to resolve the issue. Id.
¶¶ 48–51. Specifically, Haiyan alleges that she was not given her first paycheck
until three weeks after she began working for HPS, and that she was being paid less
than other first-year teachers at HPS and could not afford food or clothing. Id. After
retaining counsel, she contacted the College Board regarding her pay dispute. The
College Board notified her that all pay concerns with HPS should be addressed
through the College Board and that retaining counsel sent an “unfriendly message”
to HPS. Id. ¶¶ 52–53, 56. Requests for a written explanation as to why Haiyan was
not being paid commensurate with similarly situated first-year teachers as well as a
second letter to defendant Frances Rabinowitz (“Rabinowitz”), superintendent of
HPS, requesting a resolution of the pay dispute received no response. Id. ¶¶ 54, 58.
Haiyan alleges that, due to this unresolved pay dispute and her decision to
retain counsel, the Defendants conspired to terminate her participation in the
Chinese Guest Teacher Program by making false findings of facts against her. Id.
¶¶ 59–60. Specifically, Haiyan contends that her teaching contract with HPS was
terminated in December 2009 after Karolyn Rodriguez (“Rodriguez”), chair of HPS’s
world language department, at the behest and direction of Rabinowitz and Hamlet
Hernandez (“Hernandez”), assistant superintendent of HPS, procured a false
statement from Li Li, another Chinese guest teacher who was living in the same
apartment with Haiyan, asserting that Haiyan had attacked her a domestic dispute at
their residence. Id. These findings, which Haiyan alleges were a mere pretext, were
communicated to the College Board, which acquiesced in HPS’s decision to
terminate Haiyan’s employment. Id. ¶¶ 61–62, 65. These findings were also
communicated to education authorities in the People’s Republic of China. Id. ¶ 62.
Haiyan alleges that the conspiracy was furthered by Hernandez, who on
December 22, 2009 ordered Haiyan to vacate her apartment in Hamden and to not
return to HPS. Id. ¶ 64. As a result of her termination, Haiyan alleges that the
College Board took action that caused her J-1 visa to be revoked and for agents of
the Chinese government to order her immediate return to the People’s Republic of
China. Id. ¶ 67–68. On January 12, 2010, the Hamden Board of Education adopted
the decision of Rabinowitz and Hernandez to terminate Haiyan’s employment,
refusing to consider an appeal by Haiyan for a hearing regarding her termination.
Id. ¶ 70.
Additionally, Haiyan alleges that she was intentionally treated differently than
similarly situated first-year teachers who were not foreign nationals. Id. ¶ 47.
Haiyan alleges that she was treated differently due to HPS’s failure to pay her full
salary in pro-rata bi-weekly installments, HPS’s attempt to deduct from her salary
the cost of meals it provided to her at the school cafeteria, HPS’s requirement that
she sign a 12-month lease for an apartment selected by HPS in which she was
required to live, and the requirement that she accept utility services at her
apartment selected by HPS, the cost of which were deducted from her pay. Id.
II. STANDARD OF REVIEW
“Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a pleading must contain a
‘short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.’” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). While Rule 8 does not
require detailed factual allegations, “[a] pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions’
or ‘formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.’ Nor does a
complaint suffice if it tenders ‘naked assertion[s]’ devoid of ‘further factual
enhancement.’” Id. (internal quotations omitted). “To survive a motion to dismiss, a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.’ A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (internal citations omitted).
In considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the Court
should follow a “two-pronged approach” to evaluate the sufficiency of the
complaint. Hayden v Paterson, 594 F.3d 150, 161 (2d Cir. 2010). “A court ‘can
choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than
conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth.’” Id. (quoting Iqbal, 129
S.Ct. at 1949-50). “At the second step, a court should determine whether the ‘wellpleaded factual allegations,’ assumed to be true, ‘plausibly give rise to an
entitlement to relief.’” Id. (quoting Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950). “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.” Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (internal
quotation marks omitted).
A. Claims Against the College Board
1. Due Process and Equal Protection Claims
In Count One of her amended complaint, Haiyan alleges that the Defendants’
conduct deprived her of liberty and property without due process of law in violation
of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, as enforced by 42. U.S.C.
§ 1983. Count Three alleges that the Defendants violated the Equal Protection
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, as enforced by 42 U.S.C. § 1983, by
unlawfully discriminating against her on the basis of her status as a foreign
national. Count Three further alleges that the Defendants violated 42 U.S.C. § 1985,
which prohibits, inter alia, conspiracies to deprive persons of the equal protection
of the law or of equal privileges or immunities under the law.
Section 1983 provides, in relevant part:
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation,
custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia,
subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or
other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any
rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws,
shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or
other proper proceeding for redress.
42 U.S.C. § 1983. “The purpose of § 1983 is to deter state actors from using
the badge of their authority to deprive individuals of their federally guaranteed
rights and to provide relief to victims if such deterrence fails.” Wyatt v. Cole, 504
U.S. 158, 161 (1992). “In order to state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege
that [s]he was injured by either a state actor or a private party acting under color of
state law.” Ciambriello v. County of Nassau, 292 F.3d 307, 323 (2d Cir. 2002).
Haiyan does not allege that the College Board is a state actor; instead, she asserts
that the College Board is a New York corporation. Therefore, the College Board
cannot be held liable under Section 1983 unless it engaged in conduct that can be
characterized as state action or it acted in concert with a state actor to violate
Haiyan’s constitutional rights.
“In order to satisfy the state action requirement where the defendant is a
private entity, the allegedly unconstitutional conduct must be ‘fairly attributable’ to
the state.” Tancredi v. Met. Life Ins. Co., 316 F.3d 308, 312 (2d Cir. 2003). “Conduct
that is ostensibly private can be fairly attributed to the state only if there is ‘such a
close nexus between the State and the challenged action’ that seemingly private
behavior ‘may be fairly treated as that of the State itself.’” Id. (quoting Brentwood
Acad. v. Tenn. Secondary Sch. Athletic Ass’n, 531 U.S. 288, 295 (2001)). Thus,
“[s]tate action may properly be found where the state exercises coercive power
over, is entwined in [the] management or control of, or provides significant
encouragement, either overt or covert to, a private actor, or where the private actor
operates as a willful participant in joint activity with the State or its agents, is
controlled by an agency of the State, has been delegated a public function by the
state, or is entwined with governmental policies.” Id. (internal quotation marks
Here, the amended complaint does not allege and Haiyan does not argue that
the College Board’s allegedly unconstitutional conduct was “fairly attributable” to
the State. Instead, she argues that the College Board should be held liable under
Section 1983 because it engaged in a conspiracy with HPS and its employees to
deprive her of her constitutional rights. “To state a claim against a private entity on
a section 1983 conspiracy theory, the complaint must allege facts demonstrating
that the private entity acted in concert with the state actor to commit an
unconstitutional act.” Ciambriello, 292 F.3d at 324. “Put differently, a private actor
acts under color of state law when the private actor ‘is a willful participant in joint
activity with the State or its agents.” Id. (citing Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S.
144, 152 (1970)).
In order to survive a motion to dismiss on a Section 1983 conspiracy claim, a
plaintiff must allege “(1) an agreement between a state actor and a private party; (2)
to act in concert to inflict an unconstitutional injury; and (3) an overt act done in
furtherance of that goal causing damages.” Id. at 324-25. As the Second Circuit
explained in Ciambriello, “complaints containing only conclusory, vague, or general
allegations that the defendants have engaged in a conspiracy to deprive the plaintiff
of his constitutional rights are properly dismissed; diffuse and expansive
allegations are insufficient, unless amplified by specific instances of misconduct.”
Id. at 325 (citation omitted).
Haiyan has failed to allege sufficient facts to state a plausible Section 1983
conspiracy claim against the College Board. Instead, her amended complaint
consists of “conclusory, vague, or general allegations” that the College Board
conspired with HPS and its employees to terminate her employment with HPS. Id.
For instance, Haiyan alleges that Rabinowitz and Hernandez “conspired with the
College Board” and Rodriguez “to take actions to terminate [her] employment with
[HPS], and to terminate [her] participation in the Chinese Guest Teacher Program,
because [she] had hired legal counsel to assist her with a pay dispute she was
having with HPS.” Am. Compl. ¶ 20. This bare allegation is devoid of any specific
facts regarding the alleged conspiracy and the College Board’s involvement in that
conspiracy, and therefore cannot support liability under Section 1983.
Moreover, Haiyan’s claim that the College Board conspired with HPS and its
employees to deprive her of her constitutional rights is implausible based upon
certain specific facts which are actually asserted in Haiyan’s amended complaint.
Haiyan alleges that, on December 21, 2009, HPS and the individual defendants
terminated her teaching contract after procuring a false statement and making false
findings of fact regarding her alleged assault of Li Li, and that the findings of fact
were then communicated to the College Board. See Am. Compl. ¶¶ 21-24. These
allegations suggest that the College Board was not involved in the decision to
terminate Haiyan’s employment; instead, HPS merely communicated its decision to
terminate Haiyan to the College Board, along with the basis for that decision, after
the fact. Haiyan also asserts that the College Board “amended” its May 2009
agreement with HPS “to permit HPS to terminate [her] employment.” Am. Compl. ¶.
However, by its terms the May 2009 agreement already permitted HPS to terminate
its agreement with the College Board upon “misconduct of Chinese Guest Teacher
or violation of federal, state or local laws[.]” [Doc. #25-2] ¶ 22.214.171.124
Finally, Haiyan alleges that the College Board “took action to cause [her] J-1
visa to be revoked,” and “to cause the Chinese government to order [her] immediate
return to the People’s Republic of China.” Am. Compl. ¶¶ 30-31. Although it is
unclear precisely what Haiyan means when she states vaguely that the College
Board “took action” to cause her J-1 visa to be revoked and subject her to
The Court may consider documents “incorporated by reference in the
complaint” in deciding a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. DiFolco v.
MSNBC Cable L.L.C., 622 F.3d 104, 111 (2d Cir. 2010).
deportation back to China, the only plausible inference is that the College Board
notified immigration officials in the United States and China that Haiyan was no
longer employed as a full-time exchange teacher for HPS, a prerequisite to her J-1
visa status. See 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(15)(J) (permitting aliens to gain temporary
admission to the United States as a participant in a program designated by the
Director of the United States Information Agency, for the purpose of, inter alia,
teaching, instructing or lecturing); 22 C.F.R. § 62.24(c) (setting forth eligibility
requirements for foreign nationals to participate in an exchange visitor program as a
full-time teacher in primary and secondary accredited educational institutions).
However, notifying immigration officials that an exchange teacher has been
terminated from the exchange visitor program in which she was participating is not
an unconstitutional act. To the contrary, federal regulations require the sponsor of
an exchange visitor to notify the Department of State in writing when the exchange
visitor has been terminated from its program. 22 C.F.R. § 62.13(c)(2).
Because the College Board is not a state actor, and Haiyan has not alleged
sufficient facts to support the conclusion that it acted under color of state law,
Haiyan’s Section 1983 claims against the College Board must be dismissed.
Haiyan also alleges that the College Board violated Section 1985 by
conspiring to deprive her of equal protection of the law or of equal privileges or
immunities under the law. See 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3). “A conspiracy claim under 42
U.S.C. § 1985(3) has four elements: (1) a conspiracy, (2) for the purpose of
depriving any person or class of persons of the equal protection of the laws or of
equal privileges and immunities under the laws, (3) an act in furtherance of the
conspiracy, and (4) whereby a person is injured in his person or property or
deprived of a right or privilege of a citizen.” Iqbal v. Hasty, 490 F.3d 143, 176 (2d Cir.
2007). “In addition, the conspiracy must be motivated by some class-based
animus.” Id. Section 1985 contains no requirement of state action and thus applies
to private conspiracies. Griffen v. Breckenridge, 402 U.S. 88, 101 (1971).
Haiyan fails to allege a plausible Section 1985 conspiracy claim against the
College Board. As discussed above, to support a conspiracy claim a plaintiff must
assert “specific instances of misconduct;” “conclusory, vague, or general
allegations” of conspiracy are properly dismissed. Ciambriello, 292 F.3d at 325.
Here, Haiyan’s conspiracy claims against the College Board are not supported by
specific facts evidencing a meeting of the minds or other concerted action that the
College Board participated in to deprive Haiyan of equal protection of the laws or of
equal privileges or immunities under the laws on the basis of discriminatory
animus. See Burke v. APT Foundation, 509 F. Supp. 2d 169, 175 (D. Conn. 2007)
(dismissing conspiracy claim where plaintiff provided no information that would
suggest a meeting of the minds or other concerted action to deprive him of equal
protection on the basis of racial animus). Accordingly, Counts One and Three are
dismissed as against the College Board.
2. First Amendment Retaliation
In Count Five, Haiyan alleges that the conduct of the Defendants violated the
First Amendment as enforced through 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1988 and Connecticut
General Statutes § 31-51q. First Amendment retaliation claims are analyzed under
the framework adopted by the Supreme Court in Connick v. Myers, 461 U.S. 138
(1983) and Pickering v. Bd. of Educ., 391 U.S. 563 (1968). In Connick, the Supreme
Court held that a public employee must show that he spoke “as a citizen upon
matters of public concern” rather than “as an employee upon matters of personal
interest” in order to establish a claim for First Amendment retaliation. 461 U.S. at
147. In Pickering, the Supreme Court held that a court addressing a claim of First
Amendment retaliation must balance “the interests of the [employee], as a citizen, in
commenting on matters of public concern and the interest of the State, as an
employer, in promoting the efficiency of the public services it performs through its
employees.” 391 U.S. at 569.
A public employee who alleges First Amendment retaliation must prove the
following elements: “(1) the speech at issue was made as a citizen on matters of
public concern rather than as an employee on matters of personal interest; (2) he or
she suffered an adverse employment action; and (3) the speech was at least a
substantial or motivating factor in the adverse employment action.” Everitt v.
DeMarco, 704 F. Supp. 2d 122, 129 (D. Conn. 2010) (quoting Johnson v. Ganim, 342
F.3d 105, 112 (2d Cir. 2003)).
Section 31-51q of the Connecticut General Statutes protects employees from
retaliatory action based upon their exercise of certain enumerated rights, including,
inter alia, the right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by the First Amendment
to the United States Constitution and Article First, § 4, of the Connecticut
Constitution. Daley v. Aetna Life and Cas. Co., 249 Conn. 766, 778 (1999). The
Connecticut Supreme Court applies the Connick public concern analysis in
determining whether an employer has violated Section 31-51q. Id. at 778-82. Thus,
statements by employees that address personal matters rather than matters of
public concern are not protected by Section 31-51q. Id.
The College Board first argues that it cannot be held liable under Section 1983
or Section 31-51q because Haiyan was employed by HPS, and HPS made the
decision to terminate her employment. In response, Haiyan argues that, even
though the College Board was not her employer, it is nevertheless liable because it
conspired with HPS and its employees to terminate her employment in retaliation for
exercising her First Amendment rights. However, as explained above, Haiyan’s
conspiracy claim is conclusory and cannot survive a motion to dismiss. Haiyan
merely alleges that the College Board conspired with Rabinowitz, Hernandez and
Rodriguez “to take actions to terminate [her] employment with [HPS], and to
terminate [her] participation in the Chinese Guest Teacher Program, because [she]
had hired legal counsel to assist her with a pay dispute she was having with HPS.”
Am. Compl. ¶ 20. She fails to allege specific facts which would suggest that the
College Board participated in concerted action with HPS and its employees to
terminate her employment in retaliation for complaining about her pay. Therefore,
her retaliation claim against the College Board fails.
The College Board further argues that Haiyan’s retaliation claim must be
dismissed because her pay dispute with HPS was a purely personal grievance
rather than a matter of public concern. Speech that addresses a matter of public
concern involves statements that can “fairly be characterized as relating to any
matter of political, social, or other concern to the community[.]” Connick, 461 U.S.
at 146. “Whether an employee’s speech addresses a matter of public concern is a
question of law for the court to decide, taking into account the content, form, and
context of a given statement as revealed by the whole record.” Lewis v. Cowen, 165
F.3d 154, 163 (2d Cir. 1999). In reaching this decision, the Court must examine the
motive of the speaker “to determine whether the speech was calculated to redress
personal grievances or whether it had a broader public purpose.” Id. at 163-64.
Haiyan argues that her speech addressed a matter of public concern because
it involved “complaints made to members of the public that the school system was
discriminating against Chinese Guest Teachers generally.” [Doc. #30] at 15.
Although discrimination in a government workplace is a matter of public concern,
Cotalero v. Village of Sleepy Hollow Police Dep’t, 460 F.3d 247, 252 (2d Cir. 2006), in
this case Haiyan’s argument is unsupported by the factual allegations contained in
the amended complaint. Haiyan alleges that, during September and October of
2009, she wrote to several administrators in the Hamden School system
complaining that she was not given her first paycheck until three weeks after she
began working for HPS, and that she was being paid less than other first-year
teachers and could not afford food and clothing. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 48-51. She then
retained counsel to assist her in addressing the issue, who wrote two letters to
Rabinowitz on her behalf stating that she should be paid commensurate with other
teachers and seeking a resolution of the “pay dispute.” Id. ¶¶ 51, 58. Haiyan also
contacted the College Board regarding her “pay dispute,” which attempted to
intervene with HPS on her behalf. Id. ¶¶ 53-57.
Thus, based upon Haiyan’s own allegations, it is clear that her complaints to
HPS administrators and her retention of an attorney to assert her in that regard was
calculated to redress her personal grievance with HPS regarding her pay. Nowhere
in her amended complaint does she assert facts indicating that she made an effort
to raise questions regarding discrimination in the Hamden Public School system
generally. See Saulpaugh v. Monroe Cmty. Hosp., 4 F.3d 134, 143 (2d Cir. 1993)
(finding that employee’s complaints of sex discrimination did not implicate matters
of public concern because they “were motivated by and dealt with her individual
employment situation”); Bates v. Bigger, 56 Fed. Appx. 527, 530 (2d Cir. 2002)
(“Individual complaints of discrimination, which do not allege system-wide
discrimination, do not involve matters of public concern.”). Haiyan’s amended
complaint is similarly devoid of any facts suggesting that she ever informed the
College Board, members of the public, or anyone else that she was being
discriminated against on the basis of her race or alienage.
Finally, the mere fact that Haiyan hired an attorney to assist her in redressing
her grievance does not give rise to a First Amendment retaliation claim. As the
Supreme Court recently made clear, a government employee cannot assert a
retaliation claim under the Petition Clause of the First Amendment unless the
underlying issue on which she petitions the government is a matter of public
concern. See Borough of Duryea, Pa. v. Guarnieri, - S.Ct. -, 2011 WL 2437008, at *13
(2011). Thus, Haiyan’s retention of an attorney to communicate with HPS on her
behalf was not protected by the First Amendment because, as explained previously,
her underlying grievance involved a matter of purely private concern. See id. (“If a
public employee petitions as an employee on a matter of purely private concern, the
employee’s First Amendment interest must give way, as it does in speech cases.”).
Therefore, Haiyan’s retaliation claim against the College Board contained in Count
Five must be dismissed.
3. Section 1981 claim
In Count Six, Haiyan alleges that the Defendants violated 42 U.S.C. § 1981 as
well as Connecticut General Statute 46a-58 and 46a-100,4 by discriminating against
her on basis of alienage in the formation and enforcement of an employment
contract. Section 1981 prohibits discrimination in, inter alia, the making and
enforcing of contracts, and extends to private as well as state actors. 42 U.S.C. §
1981; see also Anderson v. Conboy, 156 F.3d 167, 170 (2d Cir. 1998) (“It is
established that Section 1981 prohibits discrimination based on race in the making
and enforcement of contracts, and extends to private as well as state actors in that
regard.”) (citations omitted). The statute defines the phrase “make and enforce
contracts” to include the “making, performance, modification, and termination of
contracts, and the enjoyment of all benefits, privileges, terms, and conditions of the
contractual relationship.” Id.
“To establish a claim under § 1981, a plaintiff must allege facts in support of
the following elements: (1) the plaintiff is a member of a racial minority; (2) an intent
to discriminate on the basis of race by the defendant; and (3) the discrimination
concerned one or more of the activities enumerated in the statute (i.e., make and
enforce contracts, sue and be sued, give evidence, etc.).” Mian v. Donaldson,
Lufkin & Jenrette Sec. Corp., 7 F.3d 1085, 1087 (2d Cir. 1993). The Second Circuit
has interpreted Section 1981, in light of its language and legislative history, to apply
to racial and ethnic discrimination as well as discrimination based upon alienage.
See Anderson, 156 F.3d at 170.
Connecticut reviews federal precedent concerning employment
discrimination for guidance in enforcing its own anti-discrimination statutes. See
Levy v. Commission of Human Rights and Opportunities, 236 Conn. 96, 103 (1996).
The College Board argues that it cannot be held liable under Section 1981
because Haiyan has not alleged any specific facts demonstrating that the College
Board discriminated against her on the basis of her alienage. The Court agrees.
Haiyan’s amended complaint contains only vague and conclusory allegations that
the College Board participated in a conspiracy with HPS and its employees to
terminate Haiyan’s employment and to have her deported; she alleges no specific
discriminatory actions taken by the College Board and no facts giving rise to an
inference of purposeful discrimination on the part of the College Board.
The facts alleged establish that the College Board specifically sought out
individuals from China to participate in the Chinese Guest Teacher Program at HPS.
While employed as a Chinese Guest Teacher for HPS, Haiyan complained to HPS
regarding her pay; there is no indication that she asserted that she was being
discriminated against on the basis of race, alienage, or any other protected status.
Ultimately, HPS terminated Haiyan’s employment based on a statement by Li Li, a
fellow Chinese Guest Teacher, that Haiyan had assaulted her. Haiyan claims that
the statement is false, and that it was intentionally procured by HPS employees as a
pretext to terminate her employment in retaliation for exercising her First
Amendment rights. However, there are insufficient facts alleged to support an
inference that the College Board played any role in procuring the allegedly false
statement or in the termination decision; instead, Haiyan alleges that the College
Board was notified after the fact. Once Haiyan was terminated from HPS, by law her
eligibility for a J-1 visa expired. See 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(15)(J); 22 C.F.R. § 62.24(c).
The College Board then notified immigration officials that Haiyan’s employment with
HPS and therefore her participation in the Chinese Guest Teacher program had been
terminated, as it was required to do by federal regulation. See 22 C.F.R. §
62.13(c)(2). Contrary to Haiyan’s argument, there is nothing in these factual
allegations that gives rise to an inference that the College Board purposefully
discriminated against her on the basis of her alienage. Accordingly, Count Six is
dismissed as against the College Board.
B. Claims Against the Individual Defendants
1. Qualified Immunity
The individual defendants argue that they are entitled to qualified immunity
with respect to all of the constitutional claims asserted against them. The doctrine
of qualified immunity shields government officials performing a discretionary
function “from liability for civil damages insofar as their conduct does not violate
clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person
would have known.” Harlow v. Fitzerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818 (1982). The Court must
engage in a two-part inquiry to determine an official’s entitlement to governmental
immunity: whether the facts shown “make out a violation of a constitutional right,”
and “whether the right was clearly established at the time of [the] defendant’s
alleged misconduct.” Pearson v. Callahan, 129 S.Ct. 808, 815-16 (2009). Courts are
permitted to exercise their discretion in determining which of the two prongs should
be addressed first. Id. To be clearly established, “[t]he contours of the right must
be sufficiently clear that a reasonable official would understand that what he is
doing violates that right.” Anderson v. Creighton, 483 U.S. 635, 640 (1987).
a. Due Process – Property Interest
In Count One, Haiyan alleges that the Defendants violated the Due Process
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, as enforced by 42 U.S.C. § 1983, by
terminating her employment without notice and an opportunity to be heard. The
threshold inquiry in analyzing a procedural due process claim is whether the
plaintiff has a property or liberty interest protected by the Constitution. Board of
Regents v. Roth, 408 U.S. 564, 569 (1972). If a protected interest is identified, the
Court must consider whether the government deprived the plaintiff of that interest
without due process. Narumanchi v. Board of Trustees of Connecticut State
University, 850 F.2d 70, 72 (2d Cir. 1988). The Court is then required to determine
what process was due and whether the constitutional minimum was provided by the
government. Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319, 332 (1976).
While the Constitution protects property interests, it does not create them.
Jackson v. Roslyn Board of Education, 652 F. Supp. 2d 332, 339 (2009). “Property
interests are created, and their dimensions are clarified by existing rules or
understandings that stem from an independent source such as state law rules or
understandings that secure certain benefits and that support claims of entitlements
to those benefits.” Roth, 406 U.S. at 577.
When a property interest relates to employment, the Court will look to the
relevant law, contract or regulation governing the employment to determine whether
a property interest is protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. Ciambriello v.
County of Nassau, 292 F.3d 307, 314 (2d Cir. 2002). However, not every contractual
benefit rises to the level of a constitutionally protected property interest. Ezekwo v.
N.Y. City Health & Hops. Corp., 940 F.2d 755, 782 (2d Cir. 1991). “In the employment
context, a property interest arises only where the state is barred whether by statute
or contract, from terminating (or not renewing) the employment relationship without
cause.” Taravella v. Town of Wolcott, 599 F.3d 129, 134 (2d Cir. 2010) (quoting S&D
Maintenance Co. v. Goldin, 844 F.2d 962, 967 (2d Cir. 1988)). Under Connecticut law,
employment at-will is the default rule, and parties must specifically contract a
commitment to be terminated only for just cause. See Torosyan v. Boehringer
Ingelheim Pharms., Inc., 234 Conn. 1, 14-15 (1995). An exception exists, however,
for contracts that create employment for a fixed duration. See Slifkin v. Condec
Corp., 13 Conn. App. 538 (1988). “An employment contract for a definite or
determinable term . . . may be terminated by either party only for good or just
cause.” Id. at 549.
An employee who possesses a property right in continued employment must
be afforded a pre-termination opportunity to respond to the charges against her
coupled with a post-termination administrative procedure. See Cleveland Board of
Educ. v. Loudermill, 470 U.S. 532, 547-48 (1985).
The Court finds that Haiyan has stated a claim for violation of due process,
and that the individual defendants are not entitled to qualified immunity. Haiyan
alleges that she was hired for a fixed term of one school year, and her contract of
employment with HPS expressly provided that her period of employment would be
from August 24, 2009 to June 15, 2010. Def. Exh. A, [Doc. #25-1]. Therefore, under
Connecticut law she could only be terminated for just cause. Slifkin, 13 Conn. App.
at 549. It is clearly established that a public employee who can be only be
terminated for cause has a property interest in continued employment. Taravella,
599 F.3d at 134. Haiyan further alleges that she was not afforded pre-termination
notice and an opportunity to be heard or a post-termination hearing, as is required if
an employee with a property right in continued employment is terminated.
Loudermill, 470 U.S. at 547-48.
The individual defendants argue that their conduct in terminating Haiyan was
objectively reasonable because the memorandum of understanding between HPS
and the College Board, which set forth the terms of the Chinese Guest Teacher
program, provided that HPS could withdraw from the program on sixty days written
notice and that the College Board could terminate the agreement in the event of the
early departure of a guest teacher. Thus, they claim, it was reasonable for them to
believe that she did not have a property interest in her employment. In making this
argument, the individual defendants rely upon Taravella v. Town of Wolcott, a case
in which the Second Circuit granted qualified immunity to a mayor who had
terminated a town employee without a hearing where her employment agreement
was ambiguous as to whether she could be terminated without cause and the mayor
read the agreement and sought legal advice prior to the termination. 599 F.3d at
135. However, Taravella is readily distinguishable from the case at bar.
In Taravella, the ambiguity as to whether the plaintiff could be terminated
without cause arose from language within her employment agreement itself. Id.
Here, by contrast, Haiyan’s employment letter unambiguously states that her term of
employment was to be from August 24, 2009 to June 15, 2010. Def. Exh. A, [Doc.
#25-1]. The individual defendants rely upon provisions contained in the
memorandum of understanding between HPS and the College Board in support of
their claim that they believed that Haiyan could end her employment or be
terminated before expiration of her one-year term without cause. However, Haiyan
was not a party to the memorandum of understanding, nor does she allege that she
was privy to the specific terms of the memorandum of understanding before
accepting employment with HPS. Furthermore, there is no indication that the
individual defendants themselves either read the memorandum of understanding or
sought legal advice with respect to whether Haiyan could be terminated without just
cause before terminating her employment, as the defendant in Taravella did. 599
F.3d at 135. Therefore, the individual defendants are not entitled to qualified
immunity with respect to Haiyan’s due process claim at this stage of the litigation.
b. Due Process – Stigma-Plus Claim
Haiyan also alleges in Count One that she was deprived of liberty without due
process of law. Such a claim is termed a “stigma-plus” violation and is “brought for
injury to one’s reputation (the stigma) coupled with the deprivation of some
‘tangible interest’ or property right (the plus), without adequate process.” DiBlasio
v. Novello, 344 F.3d 292, 302 (2d Cir. 2003) (citation omitted).
A plaintiff must fulfill three requirements in order to establish a stigma-plus
claim arising from the termination of public employment. First, the plaintiff must
show that the government made statements about her that call into question her
“good name, reputation, honor, or integrity” or that “denigrate [her] competence as
a professional and impugn [her] professional reputation in such a fashion as to
effectively put a significant roadblock on [her] continued ability to practice [her]
profession.” Patterson v. City of Utica, 370 F.3d 322, 330 (2d Cir. 2004) (citations
omitted). The plaintiff generally need only to raise the falsity of such stigmatizing
statements as an issue, not prove that they are false. Id. Second, a plaintiff must
prove that the stigmatizing statements were made public. Id. Third, a plaintiff must
show that the stigmatizing statements “were made concurrently in time to [her]
dismissal from government employment.” Id. If a plaintiff successfully proves her
stigma plus claim, due process requires that she be provided a post-deprivation
opportunity to clear her name as a remedy. Id.
The individual defendants argue that they are entitled to qualified immunity
with respect to Haiyan’s stigma-plus claim for three distinct reasons. First, they
claim that Haiyan fails to allege that any stigmatizing statement was made public at
the time of her termination. Second, they claim that, even if such a statement was
made public Haiyan does not allege that it permanently deprived her of the right to
pursue her teaching career. Third, they claim that Haiyan had no liberty interest
because she was not a permanent HPS employee, but instead was only appointed to
teach for a one-year term. Each of these arguments is unavailing.
With regard to the publication requirement, “[t]he defamatory statement must
be sufficiently public to create or threaten a stigma; hence, a statement made only
to the plaintiff, and only in private, ordinarily does not implicate a liberty interest.”
Velez v. Levy, 401 F.3d 75, 87 (2d Cir. 2005). In this case, the allegedly false findings
regarding Haiyan’s assault of Li Li were not merely communicated to Haiyan in
private. Rather, Haiyan alleges that the findings were communicated to the College
Board as well as to education authorities in China. Therefore, she has satisfied the
publication requirement. See, e.g., Simpson v. O’Sullivan, No. 09-cv-2334 (JS)(ETB),
2010 WL 4608741, at *2 (E.D.N.Y. Nov. 2, 2010) (plaintiff sufficiently alleged that
defendant made a false public statement that injured his reputation when she falsely
reported to the IRS that he failed to report income).
Next, as to the argument that Haiyan was not permanently deprived of an
opportunity to pursue her teaching career, the individual defendants misapprehend
Second Circuit precedent. The Second Circuit does require a plaintiff to have been
“permanently deprived” of her ability to practice her chosen profession in order to
state a stigma-plus claim. Instead, as the Second Circuit made clear in Patterson, in
order for a statement to qualify as stigmatizing, it must either call into question a
plaintiff’s “good name, reputation, honor, or integrity,” or impugn her professional
competence in such a way as to “put a significant roadblock in [her] continued
ability to practice [her] profession.” 370 F.3d at 330. The false statement alleged by
Haiyan in this case meets this standard. Haiyan claims that the individual
defendants intentionally procured a false statement from Li Li that Haiyan had
assaulted her, which is a crime. It is clearly established that charges of criminal
conduct qualify as stigmatizing. See Quinn v. Syracuse Model Neighborhood Corp.,
613 F.2d 438, 446 n.4 (2d Cir. 1980); see also Velez, 401 F.3d at 75 (holding that
“allegedly trumped-up charges of criminal behavior” are sufficient to create the
requisite stigma). Furthermore, Haiyan alleges that, as a result of the false
statement, her employment was terminated and she was deprived of the ability to
continue teaching in the United States. She also alleges that her termination and
the underlying basis for it were communicated to education authorities in China,
and thus it is reasonable to infer that her ability to teach in China was impacted as
Finally, Haiyan need not have been a permanent public employee in order to
show that her termination implicated a liberty interest. In Donato v. Plainview-Old
Bethpage Cent. School Dist., 96 F.3d 623, 631-33 (2d Cir. 1996), the Second Circuit
held that the termination of an assistant principal during her probationary
appointment period implicated a liberty interest, even though she did not have a
property interest in her employment under state law as a consequence of her
probationary status. See also Pagan v. New York State Div. of Parole, No. 98 Civ.
5840 FM, 2003 WL 22723013, at *8 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 18, 2003) ([E]ven a probationary
employee may be entitled to a due process hearing – albeit, a post-termination
hearing – if he was dismissed under circumstances which stigmatize him and
imperil his opportunity to secure future employment.”). Here, as discussed above,
Haiyan had property interest in continued employment because her contract
provided for a fixed term of employment and therefore she could only be terminated
Moreover, even if Haiyan did not have a property interest in her employment,
her circumstances were sufficiently analogous to those of the probationary
employee in Donato to render qualified immunity inappropriate. Haiyan was
appointed to a one-year term of employment at HPS as a Chinese Guest Teacher,
beginning on August 24, 2009 and ending June 15, 2010. HPS terminated her
employment in December 2009, approximately seven months before her term was
scheduled to end. The individual defendants argue that Haiyan had no liberty
interest because the memorandum of understanding between HPS and the College
Board which governed the terms of the Chinese Guest Teacher program gave HPS
the right to the withdraw from the program entirely on 60 days written notice, or to
terminate a guest teacher immediately based upon misconduct or violation of the
law. See Def. Exh. B [Doc. #25-2], ¶¶ 8.21, 8.25. However, Donato makes clear that
entitlement to continued employment is not required in order to make out a stigmaplus claim. The plaintiff in Donato could be terminated at any time and therefore
she had no property interest in continued employment. 96 F.3d at 629.
Nevertheless, the Second Circuit held that her termination violated a liberty interest
because her employer made stigmatizing statements about her during the course of
her termination that were publicly disclosed. Id. at 631-32. Likewise, Haiyan has
alleged that her liberty interest was implicated when the individual defendants made
false charges that she had engaged in criminal conduct in the course of terminating
her employment. Therefore, the individual defendants are not entitled to qualified
In sum, Haiyan has adequately alleged a stigma-plus claim, and the individual
defendants are not entitled to qualified immunity because the law in this area is
clearly established. Haiyan asserts that the individual defendants procured a
stigmatizing statement implicating her in criminal conduct that she claims is false.
The statement was publicly disseminated, having been communicated to both the
College Board and to education authorities in China. The statement was made in
the course of and was used to justify her termination, which satisfies the “plus”
requirement of a stigma-plus claim. Finally, Haiyan alleges that she was not
afforded any pre-termination due process, and that the Hamden Board of Education
denied her request for a post-termination hearing regarding the reasons for her
termination. Therefore, the individual defendants’ motion to dismiss is denied with
respect to Haiyan’s stigma-plus claim.
c. Equal Protection and 42 U.S.C. § 1981
In Count Three, Haiyan asserts an employment discrimination claim under the
Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, as enforced by 42 U.S.C. §
1983. In Count Six, Haiyan alleges that the Defendants discriminated against her in
the formation and enforcement of an employment contract in violation of 42 U.S.C. §
Discrimination claims based on race or alienage can form the basis of a
Section 1983 equal protection claim or a Section 1981 claim for discrimination in the
making and enforcing of a contract. See Patterson v. County of Oneida, N.Y., 375
F.3d 206, 225 (2d Cir. 2004) (“Most of the core substantive standards that apply to
claims of discriminatory conduct in violation of Title VII are also application to
claims of discrimination in employment in violation of § 1981 or the Equal Protection
Clause.”). “Once action under color of state law is established, the analysis for
such claims is similar to that used for employment discrimination claims brought
under Title VII, the difference being that a § 1983 [or Section 1981] claim can be
brought against individuals.” Demoret v. Zegarelli, 451 F.3d 140, 149 (2d Cir. 2006).
In her amended complaint, Haiyan bases her employment discrimination
claims on allegations of disparate treatment. Specifically, Haiyan alleges that she
was treated differently than similarly situated first-year teachers who were not
foreign nationals because HPS failed to pay her full salary in pro-rata bi-weekly
installments, attempted to deduct from her salary the cost of meals it provided to
her at the school cafeteria, required that she sign a 12-month lease for an apartment
selected by HPS in which she was required to live, and required that she accept
utility services at her apartment that were selected by HPS and the cost of which
were deducted from her pay. Am. Compl. ¶ 47.
Courts analyze claims of disparate treatment in employment under the
familiar burden-shifting framework of McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S.
792 (1973). “The plaintiff must first establish a prima facie case by demonstrating
that: (1) she is a member of a protected class; (2) her job performance was
satisfactory; (3) she suffered an adverse employment action; and (4) the action
occurred under conditions giving rise to an inference of discrimination.” Demoret,
451 F.3d at 151.
In order to demonstrate the fourth element of a prima facie case, “[a] plaintiff
relying on disparate treatment evidence must show that she was similarly situated
in all materials respects to the individuals with whom she seeks to compare
herself.” Mandell v. County of Suffolk, 316 F.3d 368, 379 (2d Cir. 2003). Courts have
held that temporary workers and permanent employees are not similarly situated.
See Williams v. Josephs, No. 91 CIV. 878 (MBM), 1993 WL 403969, at *3 (S.D.N.Y.
1993) (“A temporary worker at a government agency and a full-time civil service
employee are not similarly situated.”); Uniformed Firefighters Ass’n v. City of New
York, 512 F. Supp. 292 (S.D.N.Y. 1981) (“temporary appointments or provisional
employments are entitled to the emoluments of temporary appointees, they do not
become temporaries with the attributes of permanent employees”).
Even accepting all of the allegations in the amended complaint as true,
Haiyan cannot show that she was similarly situated to other first-year teachers at
HPS. Haiyan’s appointment to teach Chinese at HPS was based upon her
participation in a Guest Teacher Program arranged through a private entity, the
College Board. Unlike other first-year teachers, Haiyan held a temporary
assignment of one year, was not a member of the collective bargaining unit, and
was not certified to teach in the State of Connecticut. The terms and conditions of
Haiyan’s employment were set in accordance with an agreement between HPS and
the College Board. Pursuant to her employment contract with HPS, HPS arranged
for Haiyan’s housing and utilities, which was not done for other first-year teachers.
Therefore, Haiyan’s circumstances were not comparable to those of other first-year
teachers at HPS which whom she seeks to compare herself.
Indeed, in her opposition to the individual defendants’ motion to dismiss
Haiyan does not even attempt to explain how she could be considered to have been
similarly situated with other first-year teachers at HPS in light of the stark
differences in the terms and conditions of her employment. Rather, she argues that,
despite the language in her amended complaint that she was treated differently than
similarly situated first-year teachers, she is actually alleging a “policy” on the part
of HPS, implemented by the individual defendants, to discriminate against her solely
because she was a resident alien. Therefore, Haiyan claims, she is not required to
show that she was in fact treated differently than similarly situated first-year
teachers who were not resident aliens.
Haiyan does not identify the purported “policy” that the individual defendants
implemented, and her amended complaint makes no reference to a “policy” of
discrimination. To the extent that Haiyan is attempting to argue that a plaintiff
asserting an employment discrimination claim may rely upon evidence other than
disparate treatment to show an inference of discriminatory intent, she is correct.
See Leibowitz v. Cornell Univ., 584 F.3d 487, 502 (2d Cir. 2009) (“It is well-settled that
an inference of discriminatory intent may be derived from a variety of
circumstances, including, but not limited to: the employer’s continuing, after
discharging the plaintiff, to seek applicants from persons of the plaintiff’s
qualifications to fill that position; or the employer’s criticism of the plaintiff’s
performance in ethnically degrading terms; or its invidious comments about others
in the employee’s protected group; or the more favorable treatment of employees
not in the protected group; or the sequence of events leading to the plaintiff’s
discharge.”) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). However, the amended
complaint is bereft of any well-pleaded factual allegations suggesting that any of the
individual defendants had such an intent in this case. She does not allege that any
of the individual defendants, or anyone else at HPS, ever criticized her performance
in degrading terms or made any discriminatory remarks about aliens. She does not
allege that HPS sought to replace her or transfer her responsibilities to a non-alien
teacher after she was terminated. Nor does she allege that either she or her
attorney ever complained that she was being discriminated against on the basis of
her alienage at the time of the events giving rise to this lawsuit. Instead, according
to allegations of the amended complaint, the individual defendants were motivated
to terminate Haiyan’s employment because of the complaints she made regarding
her pay and the fact that she hired an attorney to assist her with her pay dispute
with HPS. However, as discussed above, her speech was not protected because it
did not address a matter of public concern. Haiyan’s bare allegation that she was
terminated “on the basis of her status as a foreign national,” Am. Compl. ¶ 69, is
conclusory and is not entitled to an assumption of truth. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949-50.
Therefore, the individual defendants are entitled to qualified immunity with respect
to Haiyan’s employment discrimination claims under Section 1983 and Section 1981.
d. First Amendment Retaliation Claim
The Court has already concluded that Haiyan has not adequately pleaded a
claim for First Amendment retaliation because, based upon the facts alleged in the
amended complaint, her speech involved a personal grievance regarding her pay
and did not address a matter of public concern. See supra Section II.a.2. Therefore,
the individual defendants are entitled to qualified immunity with respect to this
2. Personal Involvement of Rodriguez
Finally, the individual defendants move to dismiss all claims against
Rodriguez on the basis that Haiyan has failed to adequately plead her personal
involvement in the conduct giving rise to Haiyan’s claims. “[P]ersonal involvement
of defendants in alleged constitutional deprivations is a prerequisite to an award of
damages under § 1983.” Wright v. Smith, 21 F.3d 496, 501 (2d Cir. 1994).
Haiyan alleges the following claims against Rodriguez: violation of equal
protection; violation of due process; First Amendment retaliation; violation of 42
U.S.C. § 1981; and tortious interference with contractual relations. The Court has
already found that the individual defendants are entitled to qualified immunity with
respect to Haiyan’s claims for equal protection, First Amendment retaliation, and
violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981. As to the remaining due process and tortious
interference claims, the Court holds that Haiyan has sufficiently alleged Rodriguez’s
personal involvement in the conduct complained of. Specifically, Haiyan alleges
that Rodriguez was the chair of HPS’s world language department and the person
who intentionally procured the allegedly false statement from Li Li which Haiyan
claims was used to justify her termination. Am. Compl. ¶ 24. This is sufficient to
state a claim that Rodriguez was personally involved in the deprivation of Haiyan’s
rights. See Back v. Hastings on Hudson Union Free Sch. Dist., 365 F.3d 107, 123 (2d
Cir. 2004) (finding that plaintiff’s supervisors were personally involved in the alleged
deprivation of plaintiff’s rights where they provided a memo to the superintendent of
the school district which the plaintiff claimed contained false information that was
used to deny her tenure).
Based upon the foregoing reasoning, the College Board’s motion to dismiss
[Doc. #23] is GRANTED, and the individual defendants’ motion to dismiss [Doc. #24]
is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. Haiyan’s claims against the College
Board for violation of due process (Count One), violation of equal protection (Count
Three), First Amendment retaliation (Count Five), and violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981
(Count Six) are dismissed. In addition, the individual defendants are entitled to
qualified immunity only with respect to Haiyan’s claims for violation of equal
protection (Count Three), First Amendment retaliation (Count Five), and violation of
42 U.S.C. § 1981 (Count Six). All remaining claims asserted in the amended
complaint will go forward.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Vanessa L. Bryant
United States District Judge
Dated at Hartford, Connecticut: July 15, 2011.
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