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Alvarez v. City of Middletown

Appellate Court of Connecticut

September 10, 2019

Ulyses ALVAREZ
v.
CITY OF MIDDLETOWN

         Argued April 11, 2019

Page 125

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 126

         Superior Court in the judicial district of Waterbury, where the court, Brazzel-Massaro, J.

         Affirmed.

          James V. Sabatini, Newington, for the appellant (plaintiff).

         Cindy M. Cieslak, with whom were Sarah L. Wilber Hartford, and, on the brief, Michael J. Rose, for the appellee (defendant).

         Lavine, Elgo and Pellegrino, Js.

          OPINION

         ELGO, J.

         [192 Conn.App. 607] In this employment discrimination action, the plaintiff, Ulyses Alvarez, appeals from the summary judgment rendered in favor of the defendant, the city of Middletown. The dispositive issue is whether the court properly determined that no genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the defendant’s nondiscriminatory justification for the plaintiff’s discharge was merely a pretext for unlawful discrimination. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

          In its memorandum of decision, the court set forth the following undisputed facts, as gleaned from the pleadings, affidavits and other proof submitted. "The plaintiff is a Hispanic American citizen of Puerto Rican descent residing in Waterbury, and was employed as a [192 Conn.App. 608] probationary police officer by the defendant. In October of 2013, the plaintiff applied to the defendant for a position as a police officer and went through the hiring process, which included a background check and an interview with the chief of police. The plaintiff alleges that [when] Detective Thomas Ganley was performing [his] background check, [Ganley] remarked that the plaintiff was ‘too clean,’ in reference to the plaintiff being a Puerto Rican from Waterbury. Nevertheless, the plaintiff’s background check cleared and Ganley recommended the plaintiff move forward in the hiring process.... [T]he plaintiff [subsequently] was interviewed by Police Chief William McKenna. During the interview, the plaintiff claims that McKenna asked him if the plaintiff had any ‘side bitches’ or ‘baby mama drama’ he should know about. Even so, shortly thereafter the plaintiff received a conditional offer of employment on November 13, 2013, provided he undergo training at the Police Officer Standards and Training Council (POST).

          "The plaintiff began attending POST on January 6, 2014. While there, the plaintiff was the only Hispanic cadet out of six recruits, and he alleges that he was subjected to racial slurs and derogatory language by some of his fellow trainees.... [T]he plaintiff graduated from POST on June 14, 2014, and he subsequently entered into the [defendant’s] field training program. His supervising officer during this period made note of several performance deficiencies, including a lack of situational awareness, organizational issues, difficulty writing reports and [responding to] various calls, and the plaintiff initially failed his firearms training. His schedule was adjusted in response. On November 12, 2014, the plaintiff was cleared to conduct patrol work on his own.

          "On February 4, 2015, a female resident, Jane Doe, came into the police headquarters and reported that [192 Conn.App. 609] the plaintiff groped her and made her feel his genitals through his pants while he was responding to a reported domestic incident at her home. The plaintiff denied these allegations, but was placed on administrative leave on February 18, 2015, ...


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