883 F.3d 100 (2nd Cir. 2018), 15-3775, Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc.

Docket Nº:15-3775
Citation:883 F.3d 100
Opinion Judge:Katzmann, Chief Judge:
Party Name:Melissa ZARDA, co-independent executor of the estate of Donald Zarda, and William Allen Moore, Jr., co-independent executor of the estate of Donald Zarda, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. ALTITUDE EXPRESS, INC., doing business as Skydive Long Island, and Ray Maynard, Defendants-Appellees.
Judge Panel:Before: Katzmann, Chief Judge, Jacobs, Cabranes, Pooler, Sack, Raggi, Hall, Livingston, Lynch, Chin, Lohier, Carney, and Droney, Circuit Judges. KATZMANN, C.J., filed the majority opinion in which HALL, CHIN, CARNEY, and DRONEY, JJ., joined in full, JACOBS, J., joined as to Parts I and II.B.3, PO...
Case Date:February 26, 2018
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
SUMMARY

Sexual orientation discrimination constitutes a form of discrimination "because of . . . sex," in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The en banc court held that sexual orientation discrimination was motivated, at least in part, by sex and was thus a subset of sex discrimination. The en banc court overturned Simonton v. Runyon, 232 F.3d 33, 35 (2d Cir. 2000), and Dawson v. Bumble &... (see full summary)

 
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Page 100

883 F.3d 100 (2nd Cir. 2018)

Melissa ZARDA, co-independent executor of the estate of Donald Zarda, and William Allen Moore, Jr., co-independent executor of the estate of Donald Zarda, Plaintiffs-Appellants,

v.

ALTITUDE EXPRESS, INC., doing business as Skydive Long Island, and Ray Maynard, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 15-3775

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

February 26, 2018

Argued: September 26, 2017

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Donald Zarda brought this suit against his former employer alleging, inter alia, sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. In particular, Zarda claimed that he was fired after revealing his sexual orientation to a client. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Bianco, J.) granted summary judgment to the defendants on the ground that Zarda had failed to show that he had been discriminated against on the basis of his sex. After the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") decided Baldwin v. Foxx, EEOC Decision No. 0120133080, 2015 WL 4397641 (July 15, 2015), holding that sex discrimination includes sexual orientation discrimination, Zarda asked the district court to reinstate his Title VII claim. The district court, citing our decision in Simonton v. Runyon, 232 F.3d 33, 35 (2d Cir. 2000), declined to do so. Zarda appealed and a panel of this Court affirmed.

We convened this rehearing en banc to consider whether Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation such that our precedents to the contrary should be overruled. We now hold that sexual orientation discrimination constitutes a form of discrimination "because of . . . sex, " in violation of Title VII, and overturn Simonton and Dawson v. Bumble & Bumble, 398 F.3d 211, 217-23 (2d Cir. 2005), to the extent they held otherwise. We therefore VACATE the district court's judgment on the Title VII claim and REMAND for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. We AFFIRM the judgment of the district court in all other respects.

Gregory Antollino, New York, N.Y. (Stephen Bergstein, Bergstein & Ullrich, LLP, Chester, NY, on the brief ), for Plaintiffs-Appellants.

Saul D. Zabell, Zabell & Associates, P.C., Bohemia, NY, for Defendants-Appellees.

Jeremy Horowitz (James L. Lee, Deputy General Counsel, Jennifer S. Goldstein, Associate General Counsel, and Anne Noel Occhialino, Senior Appellate Attorney, on the brief ), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Washington, DC, for Amicus Curiae Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in support of Plaintiffs-Appellants.

Gregory R. Nevins (Michael D.B. Kavey, Attorney at Law, Brooklyn, NY; Omar Gonzalez-Pagan and Sharon M. McGowan, on the brief ), Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., New York, NY, for Amicus Curiae Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., Atlanta, GA, in support of Plaintiffs-Appellants.

Hashim M. Mooppan (Chad A. Readler and Tom Wheeler, Acting Assistant Attorneys General, Charles W. Scarborough and Stephen R. Marcus, Attorneys, on the brief ), United States Department of Justice, Washington, DC, for Amicus Curiae United States of America, in support of Defendants-Appellees.

Adam K. Mortara, Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP, Chicago, IL, court-appointed Amicus Curiae in support of Defendants-Appellees.

Erin Beth Harrist and Christopher Dunn, New York Civil Liberties Union Foundation, New York, NY; Fatima Goss Graves, National Women’s Law Center, Washington, DC; Ria Tabacco Mar, Leslie Cooper, James D. Esseks, Lenora M. Lapidus, and Gillian L. Thomas, American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, New York, NY, for Amici Curiae American Civil Liberties Union; New York Civil Liberties Union; National Women’s Law Center; 9to5, National Association of Working Women; A Better Balance; California Women’s Law Center; Equal Rights Advocates; Feminist Majority Foundation; Gender Justice; Legal Voice; National Organization for Women (NOW) Foundation; National Partnership for Women & Families; Southwest Women’s Law Center; Women Employed; Women’s Law Center of Maryland, Inc.; and Women’s Law Project, in support of Plaintiffs-Appellants.

Richard E. Casagrande, Robert T. Reilly, Wendy M. Star, and Christopher Lewis, New York State United Teachers, Latham, NY, for Amicus Curiae New York State United Teachers, in support of Plaintiffs-Appellants.

Richard Blum and Heidi Cain, The Legal Aid Society, New York, NY, for Amicus Curiae The Legal Aid Society, in support of Plaintiffs-Appellants.

Alice O’Brien, Eric A. Harrington, and Mary E. Deweese, National Education Association, Washington, DC, for Amicus Curiae The National Education Association, in support of Plaintiffs-Appellants.

Mary Bonauto, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, Boston, MA; Christopher Stoll, National Center for Lesbian Rights, San Francisco, CA; Alan E. Shoenfeld, David M. Lehn, and Christopher D. Dodge, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, New York, NY, Washington, DC, and Boston, MA, for Amici Curiae GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (" GLAD" ) and National Center for Lesbian Rights (" NCLR" ), in support of Plaintiffs-Appellants.

Thomas W. Burt, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA; Sigismund L. Sapinski, Jr., Sun Life Financial (U.S.) Services Company, Inc., Windsor, CT; Todd Anten, Justin T. Reinheimer, and Cory D. Struble, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, New York, NY, for Amici Curiae AdRoll, Inc.; Ben & Jerry’s; Beterment; Boston Community Capital; Brandwatch; CBS Corporation; Citrix Systems, Inc.; City Winery; Davis Steadman Ford & Mace, LLC; DoorDash, Inc.; Dropbox, Inc.; Eastern Bank; Edelman; FiftyThree, Inc.; Freedom for All Americans Education Fund; Google Inc.; Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation; Gusto; Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Inc.; IAC/InterActive Corp; IHS Markit Ltd.; Indiegogo; INUS Group LLC; Johnston, Kinney & Zulaica LLP; Kargo; KEO Marketing Inc.; Kickstarter, PBC; Levi Strauss & Co.; Linden Lab; Lyft, Inc.; Mapbox, Inc.; National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce; OBOX Solutions; On 3 Public Relations; Physician’s Computer Company; Pinterest; Puma Springs Vineyards; Quora Inc.; S&P Global Inc.; Salesforce; Shutterstock, Inc.; Spotify; Thumbtack; TodayTix; Trust Company of Vermont; Vermont Gynecology; Viacom, Inc.; and Wealthfront Inc., in support of Plaintiffs-Appellants.

Peter T. Barbur, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, New York, NY, for Amici Curiae Sen. Jeffrey A. Merkley, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Sen. Cory A. Booker, and Rep. David N. Cicilline, in support of Plaintiffs-Appellants.

Matthew Skinner, LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York (" LeGaL" ), New York, NY, for Amici Curiae LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York (" LeGaL" ), Anti-Defamation League, Asian American Bar Association of New York, Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom, Hispanic National Bar Association, Legal Aid at Work, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, New York County Lawyers’ Association, and Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York, in support of Plaintiffs-Appellants.

Eric T. Schneiderman, Attorney General, Barbara D. Underwood, Solicitor General, Steven C. Wu, Deputy Solicitor General, Andrew W. Amend, Senior Assistant Solicitor General of Counsel, State of New York, New York, NY; George Jepsen, Attorney General, State of Connecticut, Hartford, CT; Thomas J. Donovan, Jr., Attorney General, State of Vermont, Montpelier, VT, for Amici Curiae State of New York, State of Connecticut, and State of Vermont, in support of Plaintiffs-Appellants.

Joseph W. Miller, U.S. Justice Foundation, Ramona, CA; William J. Olson, Herbert W. Titus, Robert J. Olson, and Jeremiah L. Morgan, William J. Olson, P.C., Vienna, VA, for Amici Curiae Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund, Public Advocate of the United States, and United States Justice Foundation, in support of Defendants-Appellees.

Kimberlee Wood Colby, Christian Legal Society, Springfield, VA, for Amici Curiae Christian Legal Society and National Association of Evangelicals, in support of Defendants-Appellees.

Before: Katzmann, Chief Judge, Jacobs, Cabranes, Pooler, Sack, Raggi, Hall, Livingston, Lynch, Chin, Lohier, Carney, and Droney, Circuit Judges.[*]

OPINION

Katzmann, Chief Judge:

KATZMANN, C.J., filed the majority opinion in which HALL, CHIN, CARNEY, and DRONEY, JJ., joined in full, JACOBS, J., joined as to Parts I and II.B.3, POOLER, J., joined as to all but Part II.B.1.b, SACK, J., joined as to Parts I, II.A, II.B.3, and II.C, and LOHIER, J., joined as to Parts I, II.A, and...

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