Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Mosby v. Board of Education of City of Norwalke

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

September 30, 2017

ALVIN MOSBY, Plaintiff,
v.
BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY OF NORWALK, Defendant

          RULING GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          Jeffrey Alker Meyer United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Alvin Mosby worked for many years as a school custodian for defendant Board of Education of the City of Norwalk. He claims that defendant discriminated against him on the basis of his race and has retaliated against him for complaining about discrimination. His principal claim is that a change to the collective bargaining agreement relating to retirement benefits has resulted in a disparate impact on African American employees. I will grant defendant's motion for summary judgment, because I conclude that there is no genuine issue of fact to support any of plaintiff's claims of discrimination or retaliation.

         Background

         Plaintiff has been employed as a custodian for the Norwalk school system since 1987. Doc. #41 at 3. He is also a member of AFSCME Local 1042, a collective bargaining unit for custodial, maintenance, and security staff employed by the Norwalk Board of Education.[1]

         For the entirety of plaintiff's employment with defendant, the Norwalk Municipal Employees Pension Plan has provided that the “normal” retirement date for employees would be that employee's sixty-second birthday. See Doc. #33-4 at 26; Doc. #41-9 at 18. Employees with at least 10 to 15 years of service time could alternately choose to retire at any point after the age of 55, but those electing such an “early retirement” would receive reduced benefits. See Doc. #33-4 at 27; Doc. #41-9 at 18.

         Since at least 1997, the provision of health insurance benefits to retired Board of Education custodial, maintenance, and security employees has been governed by a series of collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) between defendant and Local 1042. At different points in time, these CBAs have adopted three different provisions concerning retirement health benefits that are relevant to this case.

         The first provision, which was adopted as part of the 1997 CBA and which I will refer to as the 1997 provision, stated that “the Board of Education agrees to maintain upon retirement the existing medical insurance program for the benefit of the employees and their immediate families at no cost to the employees. Employees over sixty-five (65) years of age and protected by Medicare shall be covered in accordance with the terms of the present existing medical insurance plan.” Doc. #41-3 at 3. Notably this provision made no distinction between employees who elected an “early” retirement and those who waited until their “normal” retirement date.

         The second provision at issue, which I will call the 2003 provision, stated that “employees who retire on or after July 1, 2003 under the terms of the Norwalk Pension Plan and their eligible dependents as of the date of retirement shall continue to be covered until Medicare eligible by the medical insurance plan the Board provides to active employees.” Doc. #33-4 at 9. This new contract required that “in order to continue [this] coverage . . . retirees who retire on or after July 1, 2003 and/or their spouses shall pay the same percentage of premium cost that is paid by active employees, as such percentage is amended from time to time.” Ibid.

         The 2003 CBA also provided that while “no premium cost share for a Medicare Supplement Plan shall apply to retirees hired before July 1, 2003, ” those “who were hired by the Board on or after July 1, 2003 and/or their spouses may continue coverage in the Board's Medicare Supplement Plan at their own cost.” Id. at 10. This provision, in other words, created two classes of retirees: those hired before 2003, who would not have to pay for their Medicare Supplement Plans, and those hired after 2003, who would. Like the 1997 provision, however, it did not distinguish between “early” and “normal” retirees.[2]

         The final provision, which I will call the 2013 provision, was adopted by the 2013 CBA, to take effect on June 30, 2016. See Doc. #33-3 at 8 (§ 8.03 “Health Insurance Upon Retirement”). It replaced the two-tiered structure of the 2003 provision with a uniform system for all current employees. For the first time, however, it distinguished between employees who would retire at the first possible opportunity and those who would wait longer. Under the 2013 provision, defendant agreed “to pay the full yearly health insurance premium for the employee who retires . . . at age fifty-nine (59) until they reach age sixty-five (65) or are covered under Medicare or Medicaid, ” and with a 50% premium payment for the employee's spouse. Doc. #33-3 at 8. “Any employee who retired at age fifty-five (55), ” however, could only choose to “continue the health insurance at the group rate if he/she pays the full yearly premium and can elect to insure his/her spouse and eligible dependents at the group rate if he/she pays the full yearly premium.” Ibid. In short, the 2013 provision favored “normal” age retirees over “early” retirees in terms of the health insurance premiums that they would have to pay.

         Plaintiff filed this pro se lawsuit alleging that he is a black male and that the 2013 provision discriminated against him on the basis of his race in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964. Doc. #1 at 5.[3] According to plaintiff, the 2013 provision burdened him, because it now made it more costly for him if he chose to take early retirement. Because of its prospective effective date in 2016, the 2013 provision “grandfathered the employees who previous[ly] retired and they were white.” Ibid. Plaintiff alleges that “white employees who were previously hired and retired prior [to] and after 2003 were not required to pay health and other insurance premiums upon retirement at 55 and not 59.” Ibid.

         Plaintiff additionally alleges that defendant retaliated against him for his prior discrimination complaints. According to plaintiff, defendant retaliated against him by revealing confidential information about his salary and home address to a local blogger and that this humiliated him and intruded upon his privacy. Ibid.

         Defendant initially moved to dismiss the complaint. I granted the motion to dismiss insofar as plaintiff sought to proceed on a theory of disparate treatment under Title VII, because the complaint was devoid of any factual allegations that would support a claim that the amendment to the 2013 CBA was a product of intentional discrimination against plaintiff on the basis of his race. Doc. #25. By contrast, I declined to dismiss plaintiff's claim insofar as he sought to proceed on a theory of disparate impact under Title VII and also for retaliation. Ibid.[4]Defendant has now moved for summary judgment.

         Discussion

         The principles governing the Court's review of a motion for summary judgment are well established. Summary judgment may be granted only if “the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). My role at the summary judgment stage is to decide if there are enough facts in dispute to warrant a trial. Of course, I must view the facts in the light most favorable to the party who opposes the motion for summary judgment and then to decide if those facts would be enough-if eventually proved at trial-to allow a jury to decide the case in favor of the opposing party. If the facts do not rise to the level that would allow a reasonable jury to rule in the opposing party's favor, then there is no point in allowing the lawsuit to proceed, and the motion for summary judgment will be granted. See generally Tolan v. Cotton, 134 S.Ct. 1861, 1866 (2014) (per curiam); Pollard v. New York Methodist Hosp., 861 F.3d 374, 378 (2d Cir. 2017).[5]

         Because plaintiff is a pro se litigant, his complaint and other filings “must be construed liberally and interpreted to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest.” Sykes v. Bank of Am., 723 F.3d 399, 403 (2d Cir. 2013); Burgos v. Hopkins, 14 F.3d 787, 790 (2d Cir. 1994). Plaintiff was otherwise advised of his obligations with respect to opposing defendant's motion for ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.