United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION GRANTING DEFENDANTS'
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT TDKT. 431
Vanessa L. Bryant United States District Judge.
Ruel Rafael, a former employee of Defendants State of
Connecticut Department of Children and Families
("DCF") and Connecticut Juvenile Training School
("CJTS") brings this action for employment
discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et
seq. For the reasons that follow, Defendants' Motion
for Summary Judgment [Dkt. 43] is
The Record on Summary Judgment
party asserting that a fact... is genuinely disputed must
support the assertion by ... citing to particular parts of
materials in the record, including depositions, documents,
electronically stored information, affidavits or
declarations, stipulations, admissions, interrogatory
answers, or other materials." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). A
party may also support their assertion by "showing that
the materials cited do not establish the absence ... of a
genuine dispute." Id. Cited documents must
consist of either "(1) the affidavit of a witness
competent to testify as to the facts at trial and/or (2)
evidence that would be admissible at trial." Local R.
Civ. P. 56(a)3; see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(4).
principles governing admissibility of evidence do not change
on a motion for summary judgment." Schaghticoke
Tribal Nation v. Kempthorne, 587 F.Supp.2d 389, 395 (D.
Conn. 2008), aff'd, 587 F.3d 132 (2d Cir. 2009)
(quoting Merry Charters, LLC v. Town of Stonlngton,
342 F.Supp.2d 69, 75 (D. Conn. 2004)). "[D]ocuments
submitted in opposition to a summary judgment motion must be
properly authenticated in order to be considered by the court
at summary judgment stage." Barlow v.
Connecticut, 319 F.Supp.2d 250, 257 (D. Conn. 2004),
aff'd sub nom., Barlow v. Dep't of Pub. Health,
Connecticut, 148 F.App'x 31 (2d Cir. 2005); see
also Bazak Int'l Corp. v. Tarrant Apparel Grp.,
378 F.Supp.2d 377, 391 (S.D.N.Y. 2005) ("[P]roper
admission requires a determination on relevance and
Court need not consider any materials that the parties have
failed to cite, but may in its discretion consider other
materials in the record. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3). If a party
fails to properly support an assertion of fact, or fails to
properly address another party's assertion of fact, the
Court may "consider the fact undisputed for purposes of
the motion [and] grant summary judgment if the motion and
supporting materials - including the facts considered
undisputed -show that the movant is entitled to it."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); see also Local R. 56(a)3
("[F]ailure to provide specific citations to evidence in
the record as required by this Local Rule may result in the
Court deeming certain facts that are supported by the
evidence admitted in accordance with [Local] Rule 56(a)1 or
in the Court imposing sanctions, including ... an order
granting the motion if the undisputed facts show that the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law."). Because Plaintiff has filed no Rule 56(a)
statement, the Court is not obligated to consider any of the
facts Plaintiff asserts in his Opposition. However, the Court
has nevertheless considered facts asserted in Plaintiff's
Opposition where they are supported by admissible evidence
elsewhere in the record.
began working as an instructional assistant for the Defendant
CJTS in January 2007. [Dkt. 43-4, January 12, 2016 Deposition
of Ruel Raphael ("Raphael Dep."), at 19-20, 22]. As
an instructional assistant, Plaintiff's responsibilities
included providing instructional support services to students
working under the direct supervision of a classroom teacher.
[Raphael Dep. at 22; Dkt. 43-5]. Plaintiff's direct
supervisor was Barbara Mule, State School Department Head.
[Meehan Aff. ¶ 12]. John Mattera, the principal of CJTS
supervised Plaintiff indirectly. [Raphael Dep. at 27].
was formally counseled or reprimanded numerous times between
April 2007 and May 2011 for failing to report to work,
failing to report absences, and failing to submit required
medical certificates when taking sick leave. [See Dkts. 43-6,
43-7, 43-8, 43-9; Meehan Aff. ¶¶ 14-25]. He was
also informed that failing to improve his attendance could
result in an "unsatisfactory" performance rating,
and that two such ratings could result in his termination.
[Meehan Aff. ¶¶ 24; Dkt. 43-10].
August 2011, Plaintiff, his union representative, Principal
Mattera, and the school superintendent Donna Gambria, entered
into a "last chance agreement" in which Plaintiff
agreed to "demonstrate immediate and sustained
improvement in his attendance" in lieu of dismissal.
[Raphael Dep. at 36; Dkt. 43-12 ¶ 1]. Plaintiff also
agreed that several of his absences were unauthorized
absences, and that the failure to produce a completed medical
certificate after taking sick leave would result in his
dismissal. [Dkt. 43-12 ¶ 4]. He also agreed not to seek
"redress for the actions taken by the Department of
Children and Families in any forum available to him including
... Federal Courts, " [Dkt. 43-12 ¶ 6] and he
released Defendants from liability arising from the
agreement. [Dkt. 43-12 ¶ 9]. In Sepember 2011, Plaintiff
received a performance rating of "unsatisfactory, "
based solely on his failure to comply with the attendance
policy. [Dkt. 43-13; Meehan Aff. ¶¶ 39-40].
addition to excessive unauthorized absences, Defendants have
offered evidence that Plaintiff misused state computer
equipment by using his state email address to promote his
music career. [Dkt. 43-14; Meehan Aff. ¶¶ 31, 32,
35, 37, 38]. This misuse of state equipment constituted
"neglect of duty, " and following a thorough Labor
Relations Adminstrative Investigation, Plaintiff was
suspended for thirty days. [Dkt. 43-14; Meehan Aff.
¶¶ 33-38]. Plaintiff's suspension was imposed
after a hearing at which Plaintiff had union representation.
[Meehan Aff. ¶ 38]. In August of 2012, Mr. ...