118 F.Supp.2d 274 (D.Conn. 2000), Civ. A. 3 98 V 398, Serafin v. Connecticut Dept. of Mental Health and Addiction Services

Docket NºCiv. A. 3 98 V 398
Citation118 F.Supp.2d 274
Party NameSerafin v. Connecticut Dept. of Mental Health and Addiction Services
Case DateSeptember 29, 2000
CourtUnited States District Courts, 2nd Circuit, District of Connecticut

Page 274

118 F.Supp.2d 274 (D.Conn. 2000)

Genevieve SERAFIN, Plaintiff,

v.

State of CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION SERVICES, Defendant.

No. Civ.A. 3:98 CV 398 C.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut.

Sept. 29, 2000

Igor I. Sikorsky, Jr., Law Offices of Igor I. Sikorsky, Jr., Wethersfield, Connecticut, for plaintiff.

Thomas J. Ring, Attorney General's Office, Health & Human Services, Hartford, CT, William M. Brown, Jr., Attorney General's Office, Health & Human Services, Hartford, CT, for defendant.

RULING ON MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION

DRONEY, District Judge.

Pending before the Court, on reconsideration, is the defendant's motion to dismiss [Document # 6]. For the following reasons, the motion to dismiss is DENIED.

I. Procedural Background

The plaintiff brought this action against her former employer, the State of Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Cedercrest Regional Hospital, 1 alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12112 et seq., and the Family and

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Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq., as well as other claims. The defendant moved to dismiss. The Court granted in part and denied in part the motion to dismiss, holding in part that the plaintiff's FMLA claim against the state was not barred by the Eleventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The parties have filed a joint motion for reconsideration of the Court's ruling on the motion to dismiss based on the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision Kimel v. Florida Board of Regents, 528 U.S. 62, 120 S.Ct. 631, 145 L.Ed.2d 522 (2000). The Court granted reconsideration in light of Kimel and issued an order to show cause as to whether the plaintiff's ADA and FMLA claims should be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, 2 on the ground that they are barred by the Eleventh Amendment. The parties filed supplemental briefs and the Court held a hearing to address the motion to dismiss on reconsideration.

II. Discussion

As an initial matter, the parties agree that, based on recent decisions by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the plaintiff's ADA claim is not barred by the Eleventh Amendment. See Kilcullen v. New York State Dep't of Labor, 205 F.3d 77 (2d Cir.2000); Muller v. Costello, 187 F.3d 298 (2d Cir.1999). Accordingly, on reconsideration, the motion to dismiss is DENIED as to the plaintiff's ADA claim.

The defendant contends that the plaintiff's FMLA claim is barred by the Eleventh Amendment under Kimel. The Supreme Court held in Kimel that, in enacting the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq., Congress did not validly abrogate the states' sovereign immunity. See Kimel, 120 S.Ct. at 650. In reaching this conclusion, the Court reasoned that the ADEA did not satisfy the two-part test for abrogation of the states' sovereign immunity under Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44, 55, 116 S.Ct. 1114, 134 L.Ed.2d 252 (1996), which requires that Congress unequivocally intend to abrogate the states' sovereign immunity and that it act pursuant to a valid grant of constitutional authority. See Kimel, 120 S.Ct. at 640.

The defendant in this case argues that Congress did not validly abrogate the states' sovereign immunity because it did not clearly enact the FMLA pursuant to its enforcement powers under § 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment, and, even if it did, Congress exceeded those powers. The Court previously rejected this argument in denying the motion to dismiss the plaintiff's FMLA claim, and, on reconsideration, the Court affirms its previous ruling. The Court concludes that Congress unequivocally intended to abrogate the states' sovereign immunity by enacting the FMLA pursuant to its enforcement powers under § 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment, see Hale v. Mann, 219 F.3d 61, 67 (2d Cir.2000), and that Congress did not exceed its constitutional authority in doing so. Consequently, with respect to the specific FMLA provision at issue in this case, the FMLA is a valid abrogation of the states' sovereign immunity. See Kimel, 120 S.Ct. at 640, 644-45; Seminole Tribe, 517 U.S. at 55, 116 S.Ct. 1114.

In its initial ruling denying the motion to dismiss the...

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