D'Amico v. Children and Families

3:16-cv-00655-JAM

2018 | Cited 0 times | D. Connecticut | February 9, 2018

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT

, Plaintiff, v. DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES, Defendant.

No. 3:16-cv-00655 (JAM)

RULING RE ADMISSIBILITY OF POST-TRANSFER EVIDENCE against her employer, the defendant Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF), for unlawful retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In essence, the complaint alleges that in April 2014 plaintiff was transferred from one position at DCF to a much less desirable position in retaliation for her prior complaints about workplace discrimination.

The case is now on the eve of trial, and the parties disagree about whether plaintiff may introduce at trial certain evidence involving her interactions with and treatment by DCF post-transfer adverse actions that were taken against plaintiff may constitute independent

action which was the transfer itself. Nevertheless, as to the scope of admissible evidence at trial,

I conclude that the post-transfer evidence at issue is admissible to the extent that it may be transferred plaintiff for unlawful retaliatory reasons, and to whether plaintiff sustained damages

from the allegedly unlawful transfer.

BACKGROUND Plaintiff filed this action on April 27, 2016, alleging that her transfer in April 2014 from a position at central office in Hartford to a position at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School in Middletown was made in retaliation against her for filing several lawsuits and administrative complaints regarding workplace discrimination. Doc. #1. At a motion hearing on July 17, 2017, I judgment, Doc. #30. Jury selection was held on February 1, 2018, with trial to commence on February 12, 2018. Doc. #51.

Defendant has objected to the admission of ce See Doc. #43 at 7 8. These exhibits depict email exchanges between plaintiff and her supervisor at CJTS, William Rosenbeck, between October 12, 2016, and March 29, 2017. Doc. #52-4. In these emails, plaintiff repeatedly requests additional responsibilities commensurate with her training and her classification, but appears to have been unsuccessful in this quest. See ibid. All of these indeed were subsequent to the filing of this complaint on April 27, 2016.

DISCUSSION 02.

Fed. R. Evid. 401. United States v.

Monsalvatge, 850 F.3d 483, 494 (2d Cir. 2017). probative value is substantially outweighed by a danger of . . . unfair prejudice, confusing the

issues, misleading the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting cumulative

Defendant argues that the email exhibits at issue are not relevant, because they relate to

Plaintiff argues in response that such post-transfer evidence is relevant, because the April 2014 transfer is not the only adverse action at issue in this case that her complaint encompasses not just her transfer in 2014 but also her later mistreatment at CJTS all the way to the present day.

I do not completely agree with either party. First, her retaliation claim is premised on any and all adverse acts against plaintiff that occurred after transfer. The complaint in this case quite specifically alleges that the transfer itself was the adverse action upon which her retaliation claim rests, as distinct from any mistreatment that occurred after the transfer. [i.e.

(¶¶ 16 17). The complaint does not allege any other acts as adverse actions. It is far too late in the day for plaintiff to amend her complaint to allege as additional adverse actions any and all acts of mistreatment that occurred after her transfer.

Yes, it is true that the complaint further to this has deprives her of the opportunity to work in the area wherein she is an acknowledged authority and

expert and requires her to perform relatively insignificant duties for which she is not particularly Id. at 5-6 (¶¶ 15 16). But these allegations do no more than describe the consequences of the singular adverse action the transfer itself that the complaint alleges. The

Court will therefore retaliation claim is the transfer of plaintiff from Hartford to Middletown to a new position with

new responsibilities.

That brings me to where I disagree with defendant and its claim that the post-transfer that she was proverbially put out to pasture by being transferred to CJTS. She says that she was given no meaningful work to do and that this was done deliberately to retaliate for her earlier discrimination complaints. If the jury agrees that plaintiff was indeed sidetracked by her transfer, the jury might well infer Thus, the post-transfer evidence goes to two separate action, and second, that the transfer had a retaliatory purpose.

It is also undoubtedly relevant to the question of damages. Should plaintiff prevail as to liability, the jury will have to consider how much to award her as compensation for emotional distress and any other damages she might have suffered as a result of the transfer, and this will

Exhibits 31, 32, 34, 35, 36, and 37 is overruled. *

* post-transfer evidence at issue would cause unfair prejudice or any other malady under Rule 403.

CONCLUSION 32, and 34 37 is OVERRULED.

It is so ordered. Dated at New Haven this 9th day of February 2018. /s/ Jeffrey Alker Meyer Jeffrey Alker Meyer United States District Judge

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT

, Plaintiff, v. DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES, Defendant.

No. 3:16-cv-00655 (JAM)

RULING RE ADMISSIBILITY OF POST-TRANSFER EVIDENCE against her employer, the defendant Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF), for unlawful retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In essence, the complaint alleges that in April 2014 plaintiff was transferred from one position at DCF to a much less desirable position in retaliation for her prior complaints about workplace discrimination.

The case is now on the eve of trial, and the parties disagree about whether plaintiff may introduce at trial certain evidence involving her interactions with and treatment by DCF post-transfer adverse actions that were taken against plaintiff may constitute independent

action which was the transfer itself. Nevertheless, as to the scope of admissible evidence at trial,

I conclude that the post-transfer evidence at issue is admissible to the extent that it may be transferred plaintiff for unlawful retaliatory reasons, and to whether plaintiff sustained damages

from the allegedly unlawful transfer.

BACKGROUND Plaintiff filed this action on April 27, 2016, alleging that her transfer in April 2014 from a position at central office in Hartford to a position at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School in Middletown was made in retaliation against her for filing several lawsuits and administrative complaints regarding workplace discrimination. Doc. #1. At a motion hearing on July 17, 2017, I judgment, Doc. #30. Jury selection was held on February 1, 2018, with trial to commence on February 12, 2018. Doc. #51.

Defendant has objected to the admission of ce See Doc. #43 at 7 8. These exhibits depict email exchanges between plaintiff and her supervisor at CJTS, William Rosenbeck, between October 12, 2016, and March 29, 2017. Doc. #52-4. In these emails, plaintiff repeatedly requests additional responsibilities commensurate with her training and her classification, but appears to have been unsuccessful in this quest. See ibid. All of these indeed were subsequent to the filing of this complaint on April 27, 2016.

DISCUSSION 02.

Fed. R. Evid. 401. United States v.

Monsalvatge, 850 F.3d 483, 494 (2d Cir. 2017). probative value is substantially outweighed by a danger of . . . unfair prejudice, confusing the

issues, misleading the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting cumulative

Defendant argues that the email exhibits at issue are not relevant, because they relate to

Plaintiff argues in response that such post-transfer evidence is relevant, because the April 2014 transfer is not the only adverse action at issue in this case that her complaint encompasses not just her transfer in 2014 but also her later mistreatment at CJTS all the way to the present day.

I do not completely agree with either party. First, her retaliation claim is premised on any and all adverse acts against plaintiff that occurred after transfer. The complaint in this case quite specifically alleges that the transfer itself was the adverse action upon which her retaliation claim rests, as distinct from any mistreatment that occurred after the transfer. [i.e.

(¶¶ 16 17). The complaint does not allege any other acts as adverse actions. It is far too late in the day for plaintiff to amend her complaint to allege as additional adverse actions any and all acts of mistreatment that occurred after her transfer.

Yes, it is true that the complaint further to this has deprives her of the opportunity to work in the area wherein she is an acknowledged authority and

expert and requires her to perform relatively insignificant duties for which she is not particularly Id. at 5-6 (¶¶ 15 16). But these allegations do no more than describe the consequences of the singular adverse action the transfer itself that the complaint alleges. The

Court will therefore retaliation claim is the transfer of plaintiff from Hartford to Middletown to a new position with

new responsibilities.

That brings me to where I disagree with defendant and its claim that the post-transfer that she was proverbially put out to pasture by being transferred to CJTS. She says that she was given no meaningful work to do and that this was done deliberately to retaliate for her earlier discrimination complaints. If the jury agrees that plaintiff was indeed sidetracked by her transfer, the jury might well infer Thus, the post-transfer evidence goes to two separate action, and second, that the transfer had a retaliatory purpose.

It is also undoubtedly relevant to the question of damages. Should plaintiff prevail as to liability, the jury will have to consider how much to award her as compensation for emotional distress and any other damages she might have suffered as a result of the transfer, and this will

Exhibits 31, 32, 34, 35, 36, and 37 is overruled. *

* post-transfer evidence at issue would cause unfair prejudice or any other malady under Rule 403.

CONCLUSION 32, and 34 37 is OVERRULED.

It is so ordered. Dated at New Haven this 9th day of February 2018. /s/ Jeffrey Alker Meyer Jeffrey Alker Meyer United States District Judge

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