Monell v. DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES OF CITY OF NY, No. 71 Civ. 3324.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
Citation357 F. Supp. 1051
Docket NumberNo. 71 Civ. 3324.
PartiesJane MONELL et al., Plaintiffs, v. DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES OF the CITY OF NEW YORK et al., Defendants.
Decision Date12 April 1972

357 F. Supp. 1051

Jane MONELL et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES OF the CITY OF NEW YORK et al., Defendants.

No. 71 Civ. 3324.

United States District Court, S. D. New York.

April 12, 1972.


357 F. Supp. 1052

Nancy Stearns, Center for Constitutional Rights, New York City, Oscar G. Chase, Brooklyn, N. Y., for plaintiffs.

J. Lee Rankin, Corp. Counsel, City of New York, by Victor P. Muskin, Asst. Corp. Counsel, New York City, for defendants.

Memorandum Opinion and Order on Motion to Dismiss and for Summary Judgment

MOTLEY, District Judge:

This is an action by female employees of the New York City Board of Education and the New York City Department of Social Services on behalf of themselves and other female employees in city agencies similarly situated. Plaintiffs challenge, on federal constitutional grounds, rules and regulations of the defendant city agencies which plaintiffs claim arbitrarily compel pregnant women employees to take unpaid leaves of absence when they desire to and are capable of continuing to work beyond the mandatory leave period.

The complaint alleges that in the case of pregnant female employees agency policy permits such employees to work through the seventh month of pregnancy with the approval of the agency physician. However, under city-wide leave regulations pregnant female employees are permitted to work only until the completion of the fifth month of pregnancy, unless they receive agency medical approval and approval of the head of the agency involved (Complaint, para. 22, 26.) The only exception to the aforesaid policy obtains when the eighth month of pregnancy occurs during the last month of the school term (Complaint, para. 28.) This, of course, applies only to women in the school system.

The primary constitutional claim is that the policy making unpaid leave mandatory at the end of the seventh month of pregnancy is arbitrary and without medical foundation and therefore violates plaintiffs' rights to liberty and property and equal protection guaranteed them by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

Defendants have moved to dismiss this action on the ground that 1) the court lacks jurisdiction of the subject matter; or 2) the complaint fails to

357 F. Supp. 1053
state a complaint on which relief can be granted. The motion is denied

Jurisdiction in this court is predicated solely on 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 1343(3), the civil rights statutes.

In moving to dismiss the action on jurisdictional grounds defendants relied upon the decision of the Second Circuit in Eisen v. Eastman, 421 F.2d 560 (2d Cir. 1969) and its progeny. Tichon v. Harder, 438 F.2d 1396 (2d Cir. 1971); Canty v. Board of Education, 448 F.2d 428 (2d Cir. 1971). Defendants' claim is that the gravamen of the complaint—that plaintiffs have been deprived of the income they would have earned had they not been required to take maternity leave—is nothing more than a claim of injury to personal liberty which is dependent for its existence upon the infringement of a property right and, therefore, not a claim cognizable under the civil rights jurisdiction of this court. 28 U.S.C. § 1343(3).

In Eisen v. Eastman, the Second Circuit had held that jurisdiction under the Civil Rights Acts, Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Title 28 U.S.C. § 1343(3), could not be predicated on a claim of infringement of property rights. However, the Supreme Court in Lynch v. Household Finance Corp., 405 U.S. 538, 92 S.Ct. 1115, 31 L.Ed.2d 424 (1972) ruled that it "has never adopted the distinction between personal liberties and proprietory rights as a guide to the contours of § 1343(3) jurisdiction" and expressly rejected the distinction. The complaint, therefore, cannot be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

Plaintiffs' equal protection claim is that the requirement that a woman employee take a leave of...

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6 practice notes
  • Monell v. Department of Social Services of City of New York, No. 407
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • 8 Marzo 1976
    ...42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. Judge Constance Baker Motley had previously determined that the action could be maintained as a class action. 357 F.Supp. 1051 The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief and damages for "the deprivation of their right to be employed, including but not ......
  • Smith v. Troyan, Nos. 73-2226
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • 3 Julio 1975
    ...Stern v. Massachusetts Indemnity Life Ins. Co., 365 F.Supp. 433, 439-42 (E.D.Pa.1973), see also Monell v. Department of Social Services, 357 F.Supp. 1051 (S.D.N.Y.1972), other courts have refused to deem such classifications "suspect," thereby applying a greater or lesser demanding "rationa......
  • Cleveland Board of Education v. Fleur Cohen v. Chesterfield County School Board 8212 777 72 8212 1129, Nos. 72
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 21 Enero 1974
    ...438 (ND Cal.); Seaman v. Spring Lake Park Independent School District, 363 F.Supp. 944 (Minn.); Monell v. Department of Social Services, 357 F.Supp. 1051 (SDNY). Cf. Struck v. Secretary of Defense, 460 F.2d 1372 (CA9), vacated and remanded to consider the issue of mootness 409 U.S. 1071, 93......
  • Monell v. DEPARTMENT OF SOC. SERVS. OF CITY OF NY, No. 71 Civ. 3324.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • 30 Abril 1975
    ...the Equal Employment Opportunity Act). Judge Motley has previously determined that the suit may be maintained as a class action. D. C., 357 F.Supp. 1051 Defendants have moved to dismiss the action or, in the alternative, for an order granting summary judgment. They also seek to vacate the o......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • Monell v. Department of Social Services of City of New York, No. 407
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • 8 Marzo 1976
    ...42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. Judge Constance Baker Motley had previously determined that the action could be maintained as a class action. 357 F.Supp. 1051 The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief and damages for "the deprivation of their right to be employed, including but not ......
  • Smith v. Troyan, Nos. 73-2226
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • 3 Julio 1975
    ...Stern v. Massachusetts Indemnity Life Ins. Co., 365 F.Supp. 433, 439-42 (E.D.Pa.1973), see also Monell v. Department of Social Services, 357 F.Supp. 1051 (S.D.N.Y.1972), other courts have refused to deem such classifications "suspect," thereby applying a greater or lesser demanding "rationa......
  • Cleveland Board of Education v. Fleur Cohen v. Chesterfield County School Board 8212 777 72 8212 1129, Nos. 72
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 21 Enero 1974
    ...438 (ND Cal.); Seaman v. Spring Lake Park Independent School District, 363 F.Supp. 944 (Minn.); Monell v. Department of Social Services, 357 F.Supp. 1051 (SDNY). Cf. Struck v. Secretary of Defense, 460 F.2d 1372 (CA9), vacated and remanded to consider the issue of mootness 409 U.S. 1071, 93......
  • Monell v. DEPARTMENT OF SOC. SERVS. OF CITY OF NY, No. 71 Civ. 3324.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • 30 Abril 1975
    ...the Equal Employment Opportunity Act). Judge Motley has previously determined that the suit may be maintained as a class action. D. C., 357 F.Supp. 1051 Defendants have moved to dismiss the action or, in the alternative, for an order granting summary judgment. They also seek to vacate the o......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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