United States District Court, D. Connecticut
EDDIE C. MULLEN, Plaintiff,
WATERBURY BOARD OF EDUCATION, RON FROST; Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION GRANTING DEFENDANTS'
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [DKT. 36]
VANESSA L. BRYANT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Eddie Mullen (“Plaintiff” or
“Mullen”) brings this employment discrimination
action against the Waterbury Board of Education and Ron Frost
(collectively, “Defendants”) under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, alleging discrimination based on race and color.
Before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment wherein Defendants argue poor performance and
misconduct as reasons for deciding not to rehire Plaintiff as
a substitute teacher. [Dkt. 36]. Upon the Court's
issuance of the Order to Show Cause, [Dkt. 37], Plaintiff has
submitted a Response but did not include a D. Conn. Civ. L.
R. 56(a)(2) Statement. See [Dkt. 38]. The Court
thereafter held a telephonic conference where it instructed
Defendants to submit additional evidence and Plaintiff to
submit a Rule 56(a)(2) Statement. See [Dkt. 42 (Order on Tel.
Conf.)]. Subsequently Defendants complied but Plaintiff did
not. For the foregoing reasons, the Court GRANTS
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.
foregoing facts are taken from Defendants' D. Conn. Civ.
L. R. 56(a)(1) Statement and other evidence submitted on the
record. Because Plaintiff has not submitted a D. Conn. Civ.
L. R. 56(a)(2) Statement, the facts supported by admissible
evidence are deemed admitted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e).
is an African American male who was previously employed as a
substitute teacher by the City of Waterbury in 1989. [Dkt.
36-2 (D. Conn. Civ. L. R. 56(a)(1) Stmt) ¶ 2]. He filed
with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and
Opportunities (“CHRO”) and Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) an employment
discrimination claim against the City of Waterbury and Board
of Education in 1993. [Dkt. 20 (Second Am. Compl. and Exs.)
at 20 of PDF (indicating case number 9330379)]. He worked
again for the City of Waterbury as a substitute teacher from
1995 through 2001. [Dkt. 36-2 ¶ 2]. During this time in
1997, Plaintiff withdrew his employment discrimination claim
with the EEOC. [Dkt. 20 at 21 of PDF (accepting his
withdrawal of Charge No. 16A931268 on March 24, 1997)].
then worked as a Substitute Teacher in the Stratford school
system from April 2003 until March 2005. Id. at 17
of PDF. Plaintiff has submitted annual letters from the
Connecticut State Department of Education, Bureau of Human
Resources, indicating that he “can accept this letter
as a reasonable assurance that [his] name will remain on the
list of approved Substitute Instructors for the upcoming
school year” at WF Kaynor RVTS and WF Kaynor
these letters were sent in late May and early June of years
2005 through 2008. Id. at 13-16 of PDF.
applied for a substitute teaching position on November 15,
2011. [Dkt. 36-4 (Mot. Summ. J. Ex. 2, Foster Aff. and Exs.)
at 7 of PDF]. At the time, Defendant Ron Frost was the
Director of Personnel for the Waterbury Board of Education,
which had standard procedures for processing teaching
applications for people who had previously worked as
substitute teachers in the school system. See [Dkt.
44 (Supp. D. Conn. Civ. L. R. 56(a)(1) Stmt) ¶¶
1-3]. Under these procedures, the Director of Personnel was
to contact principals at the applicant's former schools
and, in circumstances in which the applicant was reported to
have poor performance or unbecoming conduct, it was standard
procedure not to rehire the individual. See Id.
¶¶ 3-4. Defendant Frost followed these procedures
for Plaintiff's application and contacted Matt Larkin and
Mike LaRusso,  two principals who formerly worked at a
Waterbury public school called the North End Middle School.
See Id. ¶¶ 5-6. Mr. Larkin reported
Plaintiff came to work intoxicated, and Mr. LaRusso reported
Plaintiff was found sleeping in a classroom and a stairwell.
Id. ¶ 7. Defendant Frost elected not to rehire
Plaintiff based on these reports. Id. ¶ 8.
April 2, 2012, Plaintiff filed an employment discrimination
action against “City of Waterbury and Board of
Education” (“CHRO Respondents”) before the
CHRO. [Dkt. 36-4 at 5 of PDF (indicating CHRO Case No.
1230352 and EEOC/HUD Case No. 16A201200960)]. He alleged
discrimination based on race, color, and his previous
opposition, filing, testimony or assistance. Id.
12, 2012, CHRO Respondents submitted a Response to a Request
for Additional Information, stating in relevant part that
there existed no written policy, but the procedure for hiring
a substitute teacher included the following: “Applicant
fills out application and submits to a criminal background
check, drug screening and verification of qualifications. The
application is vetted for any problems or concerns. If
acceptable, the applicant's name is placed on a
substitute teacher list.” [Dkt. 36-4 at 13 of PDF].
CHRO Respondents also indicated that Plaintiff deemed not
eligible “based on his poor performance issues and
unbecoming conduct during his previous employment” and
that “[h]is application was vetted when he previously
applied in 2009. There was no reason to vet it again.”
Id. at 15 of PDF.
submitted a letter in reply on June 30, 2012. Id. at
19 of PDF. He challenged the Waterbury Board of
Education's application procedure, stating, “I was
turned away before I was able to submit these documents,
” i.e. the criminal background check, drug screening,
and verification of qualification. Id. He argued
that he submitted these documents in October 2009, wherein
the drug test came back negative. He also argued,
The Board of Education Response was base[d] on poor
performance issues and unbecoming conduct during previous
employment. I can assu[r]e you that there is no perfect human
being on earth. I have been a professional through out [sic]
my carrel [sic] before and after any incident of Feb 5, 2002.
If [sic] the arrogance of a man I once idolize[d], mottle
larking, and another man whom I never met before Feb 26,
Id. He also stated, “In this Feb 26, 2002
meeting between my self [sic] and the higher ups, I believe
collaboration took place between union president and the
administration. I was not represented at any time even though
I mentioned a medical problem I was having prior to the
meeting.” Id. at 20 of PDF.
CHRO initiated a Draft Finding of No Reasonable Cause on May
15, 2014. Id. at 25 of PDF. Thereafter, the
CHRO issued its Final Determination on June 13, 2014,
dismissing the case on the merits for No Reasonable Cause.
Id. at 37 of PDF. The determination informed
Plaintiff that he could request reconsideration by the CHRO
or appeal the disposition to the Superior Court of the State
of Connecticut. Id. at 38 of PDF. Plaintiff
thereafter received a Notice of Right to Sue letter from the
EEOC on November 26, 2014. [Dkt. 1 (Compl. and Exs.) at 7 of
PDF]. Plaintiff filed this case in January 2015. He denies
being intoxicated at work and claims instead he had a seizure
and was for diabetes and high blood. [Dkt. 20 at 4 of PDF].