Bond v. City of Middletown

Decision Date23 August 2005
Docket NumberNo. 3:98CV1602(DJS).,3:98CV1602(DJS).
Citation389 F.Supp.2d 319
CourtU.S. District Court — District of Connecticut
PartiesMoses J. BOND, et al., Plaintiffs, v. CITY OF MIDDLETOWN, Defendant.

Charles G. Parks, Jr., Jerrold W. Miles, Parks & Associates, Stamford, CT, for Plaintiffs.

Brian P. Leaming, U.S. Attorney's Office, Michael J. Rose, Howd & Ludorf, Hartford, CT, James M. Sconzo, Jorden Burt LLP, Simsbury, CT, Trina A. Solecki-Aucaigne, City Attorneys Office, Middletown, CT, for Defendant.


SQUATRITO, District Judge.

On August 10, 1998, eight plaintiffs commenced this action, alleging that defendant City of Middletown ("the City") and several of the City's employees had violated provisions of the U.S. Constitution as well as certain federal and state laws. The plaintiffs, after filing two previous versions of their complaint, advanced the following thirteen claims in their Second Amended Complaint: (1) racial discrimination, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981; (2) racial and age discrimination and retaliation, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.; (3) violations of the plaintiffs' First Amendment rights, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (4) violations of the plaintiffs' Equal Protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (5) violations of the plaintiffs' substantive due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (6) violations of the plaintiffs' procedural due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (7) conspiracy to interfere with the plaintiffs' civil rights, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985; (8) neglect to prevent a conspiracy to interfere with the plaintiffs' civil rights, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1986; (9) lack of fair dealing in good faith with the plaintiffs by breaching a collective bargaining agreement; (10) breaching the duty of fair dealing pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement, in violation of Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act ("LMRA"), 29 U.S.C. § 185(a); (11) negligent infliction of emotional distress; (12) intentional infliction of emotional distress; and (13) age discrimination, in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. After various motions, severance of certain claims, and a jury trial, the only remaining plaintiff is Battista Dino Cendali ("Cendali"), and the only remaining defendant is the City. Now pending is the City's motion for summary judgment (dkt.# 163) pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons stated herein, the City's motion (dkt.# 163) is GRANTED.


Cendali is a former employee of the City, which is a municipal corporation in the State of Connecticut. The City hired Cendali on August 14, 1989, and at all relevant times, Cendali worked as a Utility Worker for the City's Department of Water and Sewer ("DWS"). As a Utility Worker for the City, Cendali was a member of Local 466 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees ("AFSCME"), AFL-CIO, which, pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreement ("CBA") between the City and Local 466, represents all the laborer-grade and utility-grade workers in the DWS.

Cendali, who is Caucasian, claims that during the course of his employment, he observed what he determined to be discriminatory and differential treatment of African-American and Hispanic-American DWS employees. In particular, Cendali asserts that Guy Russo ("Russo"), who became the Director of the DWS in December of 1995, discriminated against minority workers. Thus, on December 6, 1995, Cendali, along with three other City employees, wrote a letter to then-mayor Maria Madsen Holzberg ("Holzberg"), requesting a meeting for the purpose of relating their grievances to Holzberg. Holzberg, however, declined to meet with the signatories of this letter. On December 12, 1996, Cendali provided an affidavit in support of a complaint that Curtis Cockfield ("Cockfield"), an African-American co-worker of Cendali, had filed with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities ("CHRO") against Russo and other City officials. In his affidavit, Cendali stated that he had observed what he perceived to be discriminatory conduct in the DWS.

Cendali contends that, in retaliation for filing his affidavit in Cockfield's CHRO proceeding, he experienced discriminatory and harassing treatment from DWS employees. Particularly, Cendali asserts that he has received a number of unjustified and factually inaccurate negative criticisms of his work performance. In one instance, Cendali claims that his supervisors disciplined him for using the telephone to consult on his wife's health. In another instance, Cendali was suspended for allegedly uttering threatening words to a co-worker, even though, Cendali claims, his supervisors had not yet investigated the incident, and he and the co-worker had reconciled. In addition, Cendali claims that his supervisors have required him, on a number of occasions, to work outdoors in "extremely inclement weather." Also, Cendali claims that his supervisors had consistently denied him the opportunity to work overtime. Cendali specifically points to one instance in December of 1997, where he was denied the opportunity for overtime snow clearance work. Additionally, Cendali claims that he has experienced discriminatory treatment because of his age. Cendali notes that on April 6, 1998, he was injured on the job, hurting his left leg. Cendali's supervisor, Donald Fisco ("Fisco"), apparently related in the accident report Cendali's statement that Cendali was "getting old," but Cendali claims that he never commented about his age to Fisco. Moreover, Cendali also maintains that Fisco, in the accident report, speculated that Cendali had probably "over exerted himself." Cendali asserts that he tried to meet with and discuss his complaints with Holzberg, but that she refused to meet with him.

Cendali filed a joint Charge of Discrimination, which the CHRO received on May 8, 1998, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") received on June 26, 1998. Cendali received a release of jurisdiction and right-to-sue letter on September 22, 1998. On August 10, 1998, however, before he received his right-to-sue letter, Cendali, along with City employees Cockfield, Moses Bond ("Bond"), Tanya Oliver-Perry ("Oliver-Perry"), Joel Brown ("Brown"), Richard Dimmock ("Dimmock"), Gary Corriveau ("Corriveau"), and Ralph Scharborough ("Scarborough") filed this action ("the 1998 action") against the City and nine of the City's employees in their official capacities. At the court's direction, the plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint, dated November 10, 1998. In response to the Amended Complaint, the defendants filed eight separate motions to dismiss, separately addressing the claims raised by each plaintiff. After these motions were filed, the claims of plaintiffs Corriveau and Scharborough were dismissed by stipulation.

On August 23, 1999, the plaintiffs filed the Second Amended Complaint, in which the plaintiffs advanced thirteen separate causes of action. On December 29, 1999, the defendants moved for summary judgment as to all the claims in the Second Amended Complaint, and the plaintiffs filed an opposition thereto on February 3, 2000. On September 29, 2000, the court ruled on the summary judgment motion, granting it for the individual defendants and denying it, without prejudice, for the City. The result of the court's ruling was that only the City remained as a defendant.

Cendali's claims in the 1998 action were, pursuant to a motion by the City, severed from the claims of the remaining plaintiffs because Cendali commenced a second lawsuit ("the 2001 action") against the City and Fisco.1 In the 2001 action, Cendali filed a three-count Amended Complaint, alleging: (1) retaliation for filing his affidavit with Cockfield's CHRO complaint, and for filing the 1998 action, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981; (2) age discrimination, in violation of the ADEA; and (3) retaliation for engaging in speech protected by the First Amendment, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Cendali, in the 2001 action, claimed that the defendants' discriminatory and retaliatory conduct ultimately led to his termination on May 31, 2000. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, dated December 9, 2002, and on July 31, 2003, the court granted the motion on all counts of Cendali's Amended Complaint. Cendali did not appeal the court's judgment in the 2001 action.

Beginning on October 15, 2002, the claims brought by Bond, Brown, Dimmock, and Cockfield in the 1998 action were tried to a jury. On October 25, 2002, the jury rendered its verdict in favor of the City as to all the plaintiffs' claims, and on November 4, 2002, judgment entered in favor of the City against these four plaintiffs. By a stipulation filed on April 11, 2003, Oliver-Perry's claims were dismissed. Judgment has been entered against Cendali in his 2001 action, judgment has entered in favor of the City against Bond, Brown, Cockfield, and Dimmock, and all that remains pending with respect to this dispute are Cendali's claims in the 1998 action. On August 29, 2003, the court conducted a telephonic status conference with the parties to discuss how to proceed with Cendali's claims in the 1998 action. At the City's request, the court permitted the City to file a second motion for summary judgment as to Cendali's remaining claims, which it did on September 19, 2003.


A motion for summary judgment may be granted "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the moving ...

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