Perry v. New Haven
ORDER granting 43 Motion for Summary Judgment. See attached ruling. Signed by Judge Robert N. Chatigny on 3/10/14. (Warden Rodgers, H.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
CITY OF NEW HAVEN,
CASE NO. 3:11-cv-1485(RNC)
RULING AND ORDER
Plaintiff Ronald Perry, a black police officer employed
by the City of New Haven, brings this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against the City claiming that he was passed
over for promotion to the position of detective because of
his race in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the
The City has moved for summary
judgment arguing that the evidence does not support a
finding that the defendant was denied promotion because of
I agree and therefore grant the motion.
The summary judgment record, viewed most favorably to
the plaintiff, establishes the following facts.
2009, the plaintiff was one of approximately fifty
candidates who passed an examination for promotion to the
position of detective.
Based on his score on the exam, he
was ranked near the bottom of the eligibility list.
"Rule of Three" would have allowed the Chief of Police to
fill a vacancy by selecting from among the top three
candidates on the list at the time of the vacancy.
Chief’s regular practice was to promote candidates "straight
off the list," in other words, in the order in which their
names appeared on the list.
Forty-six budgeted vacancies in
the position of detective were filled in this manner;
seventeen of them were filled by people of color.
these vacancies were filled, only one person was ahead of
the plaintiff on the eligibility list, a black female named
Two additional budgeted vacancies in the position of
detective arose in fall of 2009.
The Chief decided not to
the fill those vacancies, however, citing concerns that the
patrol division would be left understaffed.
officer, Caminer Lavache, was subsequently promoted.
Lavache, who is black, was not on the original eligibility
list because he was on military leave at the time the
examination was administered.
When Lavache returned from
leave, he took the examination and got a better score than
others who were promoted but he was inadvertently overlooked
as vacancies were filled from the original list.
error was discovered, Lavache was promoted, leaving only one
budgeted vacancy when the eligibility list expired.
time, the plaintiff was in the second position on the
eligibility list, after Officer Roach.
Other than the requirement for state action, the
analysis of employment discrimination claims under § 1983 is
the same as the test used in Title VII cases.
Doe v. City
of New York, 473 Fed. Appx. 24, 27 (2d Cir. 2012).
prevail on his § 1983 equal protection claim, the plaintiff
has the burden of proving that he was denied promotion
because of his race.
The record before the Court would not
permit a jury to make that finding.
There is no meaningful
dispute that only one budgeted vacancy remained when the
eligibility list expired.
The plaintiff was second on the
list after Officer Roach.
The plaintiff does not contend
that he was entitled to be promoted instead of her.1
Accordingly, the defendant’s motion for summary
judgment is hereby granted.
The Clerk may close the file.
So ordered this 10th day of March 2014.
Robert N. Chatigny
United States District Judge
Plaintiff’s supplemental brief states that he was never
told there was a finite number of vacancies. But there is no
evidence that more than one budgeted vacancy existed when the
list expired. The plaintiff's subjective belief that more
vacancies could have been filled is insufficient to give rise to
a genuine issue of material fact for trial.
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