United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
W. EGINTON, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
an employment discrimination action. Plaintiff Charlene
McArthur alleges that defendants City of Stamford and Clemon
Williams terminated her employment with the City because of
McArthur's disability, which limited her ability to stand
and bear weight without assistance. Moreover, McArthur
alleges that defendants subsequently “held” her
retirement application indefinitely, preventing her from
receiving a pension. McArthur asserts causes of action based
on violation of her constitutional rights to equal protection
and due process.
and the City have moved to dismiss for failure to state a
claim. For the following reasons, defendants' motion will
be granted. However, McArthur will be permitted to amend her
due process claims, if she can do so in good faith, by April
argue that the Equal Protection Clause is not applicable to
claims of disability discrimination:
Freedom from discrimination on the basis of disability is not
a right secured by the Constitution. Fierro v. N.Y. City
Dep't of Educ., 994 F.Supp.2d 581, 590 (S.D.N.Y.
2014). Thus, a claim of disability discrimination in
employment is not actionable under section 1983. Id.
at 590; see also Chick v. Cty. of Suffolk, 546
Fed.Appx. 58, 60 (2d Cir. 2013) (holding that plaintiff's
equal protection clause claim that he was discriminated
against based on his alleged disability was not cognizable
because disability is not a suspect classification under the
Equal Protection Clause and a class of one does not exist in
the public employment context). A plaintiff's claim that
a defendant violated his Equal Protection rights because the
defendant discriminated against him based on his disability
or perceived disability therefore must be dismissed.
Kaiser v. Highland Cent. Sch. Dist., No.
1:08-CV-0436 (LEK/RFT), 2008 WL 5157450, at *2 (N.D.N.Y. Dec.
8, 2008); see also Chick, 546 Fed.Appx. at 58. The
same rule applies to equal protection clause claims of
employment retaliation based on disability. See
Klaes v. Jamestown Bd. of Pub. Utilities, No.
11-CV-606, 2013 WL 1337188, at *14 (W.D.N.Y. Mar. 29, 2013)
(Allegations related to disability discrimination and
retaliation are not cognizable as an Equal Protection claim.
Thus, these allegations cannot be used to support a Section
1983 claim against Defendants.); Kuder v. City of
Rochester, 992 F.Supp.2d 204, 210 n.4 (W.D.N.Y. 2014)
(in disability context, stating that, equal protection
employment retaliation claims are not actionable under
Koenig v. City of New Haven, 2017 WL 631190, at *12
(D. Conn. Feb. 15, 2017) (internal quotations omitted).
responds, without support, that defendants' actions must
nevertheless be subjected to rational basis review. Plaintiff
cites two cases for this general proposition, neither of
which is persuasive and neither of which involved disability
discrimination in employment. See Pedersen v. Office
of Personnel Management, 881 F.Supp.2d 294 (D.
Conn. 2012) (Homosexual individuals brought action
challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)); Suffolk
Parents of Handicapped Adults v. Wingate, 101 F.3d 818
(2d Cir. 1996) (Guardians of severely handicapped adults
challenged out-of-state placement of such individuals by
state and county officials). Accordingly, plaintiff's
equal protection claims will be dismissed.
argue that McArthur has failed to allege that she was
eligible to receive any pension benefits, and that
absent pleading entitlement to a property right, her due
process claims should be dismissed. Moreover, defendants
contend that their decision to “hold”
plaintiff's retirement application does not amount to a
deprivation absent some requirement to take some action.
responds that her complaint contains factual claims
sufficient to permit a jury to find that defendants denied
her entitlement to her pension. Nevertheless, as of now, she
merely asserts that she applied for retirement based on her
disability, but the application was “held, ” and
she received no pension. The court finds that McArthur should
amend her complaint to explicitly allege entitlement to
receive pension benefits, if she can do so in good faith.
foregoing reasons, defendants' motion to dismiss is
GRANTED. However, plaintiff shall have until April 24, 2019,
to add due process allegations regarding her entitlement to a