United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY
W. EGINTON SENIOR U.S DISTRICT JUDGE.
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). Specifically, plaintiff bases 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.
Defendant has filed a motion for summary judgment. For the
following reasons, defendant's motion for summary
judgment will be granted in part and denied in part.
parties have filed statements of facts along with supporting
exhibits and affidavits. These materials reflect the
following factual background.
is a Hispanic male of Puerto Rican descent. He is employed by
the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch as a Deputy Chief
Judicial Marshal. From 2006 through May 6, 2013, plaintiff
was assigned to the New Haven Judicial District and reported
to Chief Thomas Bouley, a non-Hispanic male.
asserts that Chief Bouley commented at different times that
all people on the island of Puerto Rico must be related.
Plaintiff does not recall Chief Bouley's exact expression
or the specific circumstances in which the comment was made.
rating period of September 30, 2001 through October 1, 2002,
plaintiff received an overall rating of satisfactory. Chief
Bouley signed his evaluation. For the rating period of
October 1, 2003 through September 30, 2004, plaintiff
received an overall rating of satisfactory. Plaintiff asserts
that this evaluation was from Chief Marshal ODonovan Murphy.
did not receive another evaluation until October 2009 for the
September 1, 2008 through October 1, 2009 rating period.
However, in 2006, during the period in which plaintiff had
not received his evaluations, plaintiff was promoted to the
position of Deputy Chief.
the evaluations resumed, plaintiff received an overall rating
of satisfactory for the rating period of September 1, 2008
through October 1, 2009, the period of September 1, 2009
through October 1, 2010, and September 1, 2011 through
October 1, 2012. These evaluations were all signed by Chief
rating period of October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013,
plaintiff received a rating of unsatisfactory. This
evaluation was signed by Deputy Director of the Judicial
Marshals Kevin Grosse. Plaintiff also signed it under
protest. The evaluation for the period of October 1, 2013 to
September 30, 2014 rated plaintiff as satisfactory and was
also signed by Grosse.
January 2012, plaintiff received a Letter of Expectations,
indicating that he was being put on a sixty-day probation
period. It stated: "It is important that you recognize
the need for and undertake serious and broad reaching changes
in the manner in which you perform your duties and manage the
office of Deputy Chief Judicial Marshal. Temporary, sporadic
or inconsistent improvement will not be accepted. Fundamental
and serious changes are required." The letter listed
plaintiff's duties, including being responsible for the
atmosphere of all personnel working under his direction;
establishing cooperation between all persons under his
direction and avoiding conflict and negativism; not engaging
in rancor, hostility or harassment; performing his job duties
in an atmosphere of congeniality; and conforming to the
expectations of the Judicial Branch and the Judicial Marshal
Services. The letter required plaintiff to ensure harmonious
working relations between himself and the supervisory staff
and not to address judicial branch staff in a loud,
applied for promotions to a Chief position in Waterbury on
August 13, 2012, and in Danbury on December 19, 2013. He was
not selected for either of the positions for which he
Leave and Suspension
April 7, 2013, plaintiff was arrested after sending
threatening text messages to his son and his son's
girlfriend. Plaintiff sent his son the following text
message: "The next time either of you two fat fucks take
Michael to your house without my knowledge, I swear, I
promise, I will drive up you house and cave the both of your
heads in! That's a promise!!!"
wrote back: "listen you little dicked fuck face. That
motor cycle accident should have killed your good for nothing
worthless fucking life. Come near my home I fucking dare
responded: "Don't call, come around, disappear. You
wanted it that way, now keep it that way!! State the fuck
away from all of us!! I don't want my sons around that
ugly fucken animal you fucken sleep with around my
son!!" Plaintiff also wrote: "I'll see you in a
little while, you can tell it to my face."
replied: "Just do the world a favor and drop dead."
Plaintiff sent a text message back stating: "I will, and
I'm taken both of you with me."
plaintiff reported his arrest to defendant, he was placed on
administrative leave on April 9, 2013. Defendant's
administrative leave policy provides: "Employees with
criminal charges pending against them may be placed on
administrative leave if the employee's presence at work
could be harmful to the welfare, health or safety of the
employee, members of the public, or co-workers, or if the
pendency of criminal charges could compromise the
effectiveness of the employee or the efficient functioning of
maintains that at the April 11, 2013, investigatory meeting,
plaintiff failed to cooperate with the investigation and
changed his story numerous times about the content of the
text messages that he had sent to his son. He indicated that
he had texted that he was going to split his son's
"noggin;" later said that he had texted that he was
going to split his son's "head;" and then
expressed that he had texted that he was going to bust his
son's head. Plaintiff claimed to have deleted the text
January 30, 2013, plaintiff had a conversation with Chief
Bouley, in which according to plaintiffs deposition
testimony, plaintiff was "upset with him" and was
"talking louder than usual." According to
plaintiff, "sometimes when I'm talking to somebody,
they think that I'm yelling and I'm just speaking
loud because I can't hear too well ...."
April 23, 2013, an individual who had a traffic ticket
presented plaintiff's business card at a courthouse.
Defendant maintains that the individual indicated that
plaintiff had told him to present the card and that the
marshal would then take care of him. Defendant asserts that
it appeared as if plaintiff had attempted to help the
individual through his position.
letter dated May 22, 2013, the plaintiff was notified that
there would be a predisciplinary meeting on May 29, 2013. The
letter stated that plaintiff had engaged in "conduct
unbecoming of a judicial Branch Manager, " and various
violations of Judicial Branch policies. It explained:
"These violations stem from your behavior in the
workplace on January 30, 2013 [concerning a loud interaction
with Chief Bouley], your off-duty conduct on April 7, 2013
[related to the arrest], your failure to cooperate fully and
truthfully in the investigation your off-duty conduct on
April 7, 2013, the ...