United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR
CHARLES S. HAIGHT, JR. SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
February 13, 2019, this Court issued a ruling (the
"Omnibus Ruling") on motions to dismiss by
Defendants the City of Hartford, Kelly Kirkley-Bey,
Councilwoman RJO Winch, and Council President Thomas J.
Clarke II. Blue v. City of Hartford, No.
3:18-cv-00974, 2019 WL 612217 (D. Conn. Feb. 13, 2019).
Plaintiff alleged in his Complaint that Defendants had
engaged in Title VII violations, harassed and retaliated
against him, and intentionally and negligently inflicted
emotional distress upon him. Doc. 1 ("Compl.")
¶¶ 157-162, 163-171, 178-183, 184-188. He also
asserted a negligence claim against only the City of
Hartford. Id. ¶¶ 172-177. The Title VII
claims are the only federal claims in the Complaint, and this
Ruling will refer to them interchangeably.
Omnibus Ruling resulted in the dismissal with prejudice of
Plaintiff's federal claims as to all Defendants, and
dismissal of Plaintiff's state law claims without
prejudice to filing in a state court of competent
jurisdiction. Blue, 2019 WL 612217, at *9. Plaintiff
has now filed a motion for reconsideration. Doc. 39
("Reconsideration Mtn"). The Court assumes
familiarity with the underlying facts and procedural history
and will only relate those facts necessary to address the
arguments raised in Plaintiff's motion for
reconsideration of the Omnibus Ruling.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
motions for reconsideration, this District's Local Rules
Such motions will generally be denied unless the movant can
point to controlling decisions or data that the court
overlooked in the initial decision or order. In circumstances
where such motions are appropriate, they shall be filed and
served within seven (7) days of the filing of the decision or
order from which such relief is sought, and shall be
accompanied by a memorandum setting forth concisely the
controlling decisions or data the movant believes the Court
D. Conn. L. Civ. R. 7(c). The Second Circuit has explained
that "[t]he major grounds justifying reconsideration are
'an intervening change of controlling law, the
availability of new evidence, or the need to correct a clear
error or prevent manifest injustice.'" Virgin
Atl. Airways, Ltd. v. Nat'l Mediation Bd.,
956 F.2d 1245, 1255 (2d Cir. 1992) (citations omitted). This
standard is "strict," and reconsideration should be
granted only if "the moving party can point to
controlling decisions or data that the court
overlooked-matters, in other words, that might reasonably be
expected to alter the conclusion reached by the court."
Shrader v. CSX Transp., Inc., 70 F.3d 255, 257 (2d
Cir. 1995). If "the moving party [is] seek[ing] solely
to relitigate an issue already decided," the court
should deny the motion for reconsideration and adhere to its
prior decision. Id.
presents four reasons for reconsideration. First, he is
entitled to an opportunity to amend or replead.
Reconsideration Mtn, at 3. Second, the Complaint had
sufficiently met the Title VII pleading standard, contrary to
the Court's Omnibus Ruling. Id. at 6. Third,
there is newly available evidence attained from depositions
to support his federal claims. Id. at 11. Fourth,
reconsideration is needed to correct a clear error in the
scheduling order. Although the second and fourth arguments
are without merit, the Court finds the first and third
arguments sufficiently persuasive to require modification of
its prior Ruling, solely with respect to the dismissal of
Plaintiff's Title VII claims against the City of
avers he satisfied the pleading standards to at least be
afforded an opportunity to amend or replead his federal
claims against employer City of Hartford."
Reconsideration Mtn, at 6. Specifically, he argues that he
had met the Title VII pleading standard by alleging in his
Complaint that "he was discriminated against on the
basis of his race-African American, and sex-male, with
respect to his terms, conditions and privileges of employment
in that he was repeatedly harassed and sexually harassed by
Defendant Kirkley-Bey without consequence." Id.
appears to be an attempt to re-litigate the Court's
conclusion that Plaintiff did not meet the pleading standard
for a Title VII status-based discrimination claim.
Blue, 2019 WL 612217, at *6. While "[i]t is
well-settled that a motion for reconsideration is not a
vehicle for relitigating old issues, presenting the case
under new theories, securing a rehearing on the merits, or
otherwise taking a 'second bite at the apple, '"
Cope v. Wal-Mart Stores E., LP, No. 3:15-CV-01523
(CSH), 2017 WL 4542045, at *1 (D. Conn. Oct. 11, 2017)
(citations and internal quotation marks omitted), the Court
finds it necessary to clarify the Omnibus Ruling's
determination that Plaintiff had not pleaded a Title VII
attempts to re-argue the matter when insisting that he had
pleaded his membership in a protected class and adverse
employment action. Reconsideration Mtn, at 8-10. The Omnibus
Ruling never established that his errors with respect to
these elements were fatal. Even though it doubted that Plaintiff
could demonstrate adverse employment action with respect to
his status-based discrimination claim, the Court gave
Plaintiff the benefit of that doubt in order to more closely
examine the more serious deficiencies contained therein.
Blue, 2019 WL 612217, at *6. It also acknowledged
that Plaintiff did sufficiently allege adverse employment
action within his Title VII retaliation claims. Id.
at *7. As for class membership, the Court acknowledged
Plaintiff had either African American or Latin American
heritage-which are both Title VII protected classes-despite
the Complaint's lack of clarity regarding which of these
protected classes to which Plaintiff was claiming
membership. Id. at *6. The Court discussed
the confusion surrounding Plaintiff's background because
Plaintiff had pointed to instances that were allegedly
indicative of racial discrimination but knowing
Plaintiff's claimed racial membership was important to
evaluating those examples. Id. The Court nonetheless
agreed with Plaintiff that a slur directed at him could show
a discriminatory motive before it turned to the decisive
reason for why his Title VII claims failed. Id.
chief issue is that Plaintiff has not alleged that these
adverse employment actions, or any actions for that matter,
were done because Plaintiff is a member of a
protected class." Id. (emphasis added).
Plaintiff's motion briefly mentions this, citing
Gregory v. Daly, 243 F.3d 687, 689 (2d Cir. 2011),
for the proposition that all that is needed is an allegation
that permits "the inference that plaintiff was subjected
to a hostile work environment" due to his membership in
a protected class. Reconsideration Mtn, at 7. Plaintiff thus
recognizes the problem, but he fails to point to anything in
the Complaint that would permit the Court to infer a
connection between Plaintiff's identity as an ...