Sola v. Connecticut et al
ORDER granting 50 Motion for Reconsideration. Signed by Judge Warren W. Eginton on 11/6/17. (Gould, K.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
STATE OF CONNECTICUT JUDICIAL
RULING ON MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
In this action, plaintiff Luis Sola asserts that defendant the State of Connecticut
Judicial Branch discriminated against him due to his ethnicity, heritage and national
origin; retaliated against him for complaining about discrimination; and subjected him to
a hostile work environment in violation of Title VII and the Connecticut Fair Employment
Practices Act (CFEPA).1 Specifically, plaintiff based his assertions of disparate
treatment and retaliation on the circumstances of his suspension, an unfavorable
evaluation, defendant’s failure to provide him with evaluations for four years, and
defendant’s failure to promote him.
In a ruling dated August 25, 2017, this Court granted defendant’s motion for
summary judgment on plaintiff’s claims of disparate treatment based on the period of
time in which he did not receive an evaluation and his failure to be promoted in 2012
and 2013; retaliation; and hostile environment. The Court found that plaintiff’s claims of
disparate treatment based on his suspension and unsatisfactory evaluation should be
considered by a jury.
Generally, Connecticut anti-discrimination statutes are interpreted in accordance with
federal precedent. Kaytor v. Electric Boat Corp., 609 F.3d 537, 556 (2d Cir. 2010).
Defendant filed a motion for reconsideration, arguing that the Court erred by
failing to find that plaintiff had satisfied his burden to show a prima facie case on his
disparate treatment claims; and that the Court improperly found disputed issues of facts
relative to pretext. The Court will grant the motion for reconsideration and will clarify its
A motion for reconsideration "generally will be denied unless the moving party
can point to controlling decisions or data . . . that might reasonably be expected to alter
the conclusion reached by the court." Shrader v. CSX Transp., Inc., 70 F.3d 255, 257
(2d Cir. 1995). "The major grounds justifying reconsideration are 'an intervening
change of controlling law, the availability of new evidence, or the need to correct a clear
error or prevent manifest injustice.'" Virgin Atl. Airways, Ltd. v. Nat'l Mediation Bd., 956
F.2d 1245, 1255 (2d Cir. 1992).
Plaintiff may establish his prima facie claim of discrimination in violation of Title
VII by demonstrating that (1) he is a member of a protected class; (2) he was qualified
for the position; (3) he suffered an adverse employment action; and (4) the adverse
employment action occurred under circumstances giving rise to an inference of
discrimination. Mathirampuzha v. Potter, 548 F.3d 70, 78 (2d Cir. 2008).
On summary judgment, defendant did not challenge that plaintiff had established
the first three prongs of his prima facie case, but it contested plaintiff’s ability to
establish that the adverse employment action occurred under circumstances giving rise
to an inference of discrimination.
Although the plaintiff’s initial burden is not onerous, he must show that the
alleged adverse employment action was not made for legitimate reasons. Thomas v.
St. Francis Hosp. & Med. Ctr., 990 F. Supp. 81, 86 (D. Conn. 1998).
If the plaintiff establishes a prima facie case, the defendant must articulate a
legitimate, non-discriminatory business reason for the alleged discriminatory action.
The plaintiff must then prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the supposed
legitimate reason is actually a pretext for discrimination. St. Mary’s Honor Ctr. v. Hicks,
509 U.S. 502, 515 (1993).
The Court notes that its ruling did find that plaintiff had satisfied the prima facie
case on his disparate treatment claims. Nevertheless, the Court hereby clarifies that
plaintiff has satisfied his minimal burden of demonstrating the prima facie case.
Construing the facts most favorably to plaintiff, plaintiff has established that the negative
performance evaluation and suspension occurred under circumstances giving rise to an
inference of discrimination. Similarly, the Court adheres to its previous decision that a
jury should resolve whether defendant has proffered pretextual justifications for
discriminatory adverse employment actions.
For the foregoing reasons, defendant’s motion for reconsideration [doc. 50] is
GRANTED. However, the Court clarifies that it found that plaintiff did satisfy the prima
facie case on his disparate treatment claims, and it adheres to its previous decision.
/s/Warren W. Eginton
Warren W. Eginton
Senior U.S District Judge
Dated this 2d day of November, 2017 at Bridgeport, Connecticut.
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