CIVIL RIGHTS-TITLE VII-RELIGION-REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION

January 27th, 2023 by Rieders Travis in Civil Rights

Groff v. DeJoy, 35 F.4th 162, 164; 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 14195 (3d Cir. May 25, 2022) (Shwartz, C.J.)  Plaintiff Gerald Groff is a Sunday Sabbath observer whose religious beliefs dictate that Sunday is meant for worship and rest. As a result, Groff informed his employer, the United States Postal Service ("USPS"), that he was unable to work on Sundays. USPS offered to find employees to swap shifts with him, but on more than twenty Sundays, no co-worker would swap, and Groff did not work. Groff was disciplined and ultimately left USPS. Groff sued USPS for violating Title VII by failing to reasonably accommodate his religion. Because the shift swaps USPS offered to Groff did not eliminate the conflict between his religious practice and his work obligations, USPS did not provide Groff a reasonable accommodation. The accommodation Groff sought (exemption from Sunday work), however, would cause an undue hardship on USPS, and so we will affirm the District Court's order granting summary judgment in USPS's favor. We must first determine what constitutes a "reasonable accommodation." The plain language of the statute directs employers to "reasonably accommodate" religious practices, so "Title VII requires otherwise-neutral policies…

COLLATERAL ESTOPPEL-INDEMNIFICATION-CIVIL RIGHTS-POLICE MISCONDUCT

December 1st, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Civil Rights

McGuire v. City of Pittsburgh, 2022 Pa. LEXIS 1684 (S. Ct. November 23, 2022) (Wecht, J.)  This case involves a dispute about whether the City of Pittsburgh has a statutory duty to indemnify one of its police officers for a judgment entered against him in a federal civil rights lawsuit. We reject the argument that a federal jury's finding that a police officer acted "under color of state law" for purposes of Section 19831 necessarily constitutes a "judicial determination" that he also acted within the "scope of his office or duties" for purposes of the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act. Thus, we affirm. In late 2012, 16-year-old Shane McGuire and a group of his friends smashed pumpkins and stacked bricks on the doorstep of a home in McGuire's neighborhood. The teens were still on the property when the homeowner—City of Pittsburgh Police Officer Colby Neidig—arrived home with his wife and children. McGuire watched the family's reaction to the vandalism and then banged on the front door and ran away, accidently tripping over his own brick boobytrap in the process. Neidig heard the commotion, saw McGuire running, and gave chase. After a half-mile pursuit, Neidig caught…

CIVIL RIGHTS-TITLE VII-AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT-FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE ACT

September 26th, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Civil Rights

Canada v. Samuel Grossi & Sons, Inc., 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 25846 (3rd Cir. September 15, 2022) (McKee, C.J.)  Joseph Canada appeals the District Court's dismissal of his retaliation claims against Samuel Grossi and Sons, Inc. ("Grossi"), his former employer. The claims were brought under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), and the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"). Although Grossi argued that it fired Canada for misconduct that was discovered during a search of his cellphone, Canada claims Grossi's true motive for firing him was retaliation for actions that were protected under the aforementioned statutes. For the reasons that follow, we will reverse the District Court's grant of summary judgment to Grossi on Canada's retaliation claims arising from his final termination and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. For Canada to survive summary judgment at the third McDonnell Douglas step, he must show that the evidence would allow a jury to reasonably "(1) disbelieve [Grossi's] articulated legitimate reasons; or (2) believe that an invidious discriminatory reason was more likely than not a motivating or determinative cause of [Grossi's] action." The evidence here could allow a reasonable…

FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT-PROTECTED ACTIVITY-ABOUT TO TESTIFY-SUBPOENA

September 26th, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Civil Rights

Uronis v. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 25727 (3rd Cir. September 14, 2022) (Restrepo, C.J.)  Appellant Matthew Uronis asserts that his job application was denied because his prospective employer anticipated that he would soon be filing a consent to join a then-pending putative collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA").  The FLSA prohibits discrimination against an employee because the employee has engaged in protected activity. 29 U.S.C. § 215(a)(3). Protected activity includes having "testified" or being "about to testify" in any FLSA-related proceeding. Id.  In this case we address whether 29 U.S.C. § 215(a)(3), also known as Section 15(a)(3), applies where an employer anticipates an employee will soon file a consent to join an FLSA collective action—but no such "testimony" has yet occurred or been scheduled or subpoenaed. The District Court concluded that being "about to testify" under Section 15(a)(3) requires being "scheduled" or subpoenaed to do so. On that basis, because Uronis did not plead that he was scheduled to testify, the District Court granted Appellees' motion to dismiss Uronis' complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). It did not explicitly interpret the meaning of "testify" under Section 15(a)(3). But, by…

CIVIL RIGHTS-ABORTION

July 5th, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Civil Rights

Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Org., 2022 U.S. LEXIS 3057 (S. Ct. June 24, 2022) (Alito, J.)  this Court decided Roe v. Wade, 410 U. S. 113, 93 S. Ct. 705, 35 L. Ed. 2d 147. Even though the Constitution makes no mention of abortion, the Court held that it confers a broad right to obtain one. It did not claim that American law or the common law had ever recognized such a right, and its survey of history ranged from the constitutionally irrelevant (e.g., its discussion of abortion in antiquity) to the plainly incorrect (e.g., its assertion that abortion was probably never a crime under the common law). After cataloging a wealth of other information having no bearing on the meaning of the Constitution, the opinion concluded with a numbered set of rules much like those that might be found in a statute enacted by a legislature.  Under this scheme, each trimester of pregnancy was regulated differently, but the most critical line was drawn at roughly the end of the second trimester, which, at the time, corresponded to the point at which a fetus was thought to achieve “viability,” i.e., the ability to…

CIVIL RIGHTS-MIRANDA

June 28th, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Civil Rights

Vega v. Tekoh, 2022 U.S. LEXIS 3053 (S. Ct. June 23, 2022) (Alito, J.)  This case presents the question whether a plaintiff may sue a police officer under Rev. Stat. §1979, 42 U. S. C. §1983, based on the allegedly improper admission of an “un-Mirandized” statement in a criminal prosecution. The case arose out of the interrogation of respondent, Terence Tekoh, by petitioner, Los Angeles County Sheriff ’s Deputy Carlos Vega. Deputy Vega questioned Tekoh at his place of employment and did not give him a Miranda warning. Tekoh was prosecuted, and his confession was admitted into evidence, but the jury returned a verdict of not guilty. Tekoh then sued Vega under §1983, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the use of Tekoh’s un-Mirandized statement provided a valid basis for a §1983 claim against Vega. We now reject this extension of our Miranda case law. If a Miranda violation were tantamount to a violation of the Fifth Amendment, our answer would of course be different.  The Fifth Amendment, made applicable to the States by the Fourteenth Amendment, Malloy v. Hogan, 378 U. S. 1, 6, 84 S. Ct. 1489, 12 L. Ed. 2d 653 (1964), provides that “[n]o person . . . shall be…

CIVIL RIGHTS-BIVENS ACTION-BORDER PATROL AGENTS

June 15th, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Civil Rights, Uncategorized

CIVIL RIGHTS-BIVENS ACTION-BORDER PATROL AGENTS  Egbert v. Boule, 2022 U.S. LEXIS 2829 (June 8, 2022) (Thomas, J.)  In Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U. S. 388, 91 S. Ct. 1999, 29 L. Ed. 2d 619 (1971), this Court authorized a damages action against federal officials for alleged violations of the Fourth Amendment. Over the past 42 years, however, we have declined 11 times to imply a similar cause of action for other alleged constitutional violations. See Chappell v. Wallace, 462 U. S. 296, 103 S. Ct. 2362, 76 L. Ed. 2d 586 (1983); Bush v. Lucas, 462 U. S. 367, 103 S. Ct. 2404, 76 L. Ed. 2d 648 (1983); United States v. Stanley, 483 U. S. 669, 107 S. Ct. 3054, 97 L. Ed. 2d 550 (1987); Schweiker v. Chilicky, 487 U. S. 412, 108 S. Ct. 2460, 101 L. Ed. 2d 370 (1988); FDIC v. Meyer, 510 U. S. 471, 114 S. Ct. 996, 127 L. Ed. 2d 308 (1994); Correctional Services Corp. v. Malesko, 534 U. S. 61, 122 S. Ct. 515, 151 L. Ed. 2d 456 (2001); Wilkie v. Robbins, 551 U. S.…

CIVIL RIGHTS-STATE ACTION

May 23rd, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Civil Rights

Matrix Distrib. v. N.A. of Boards of Pharm., 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 13517 (3rd Cir. May 19, 2022) (Ambro, C.J.)  Wholesale pharmaceutical distributors PriMed Pharmaceuticals, LLC and Oak Drugs, Inc. have sued two private entities, OptumRx and National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, under § 1983 for alleged violations of constitutional and federal law. Though they undoubtably have alleged real harm caused by OptumRx and NABP's conduct, their claims are missing an essential element: a state actor. Because they have failed to allege sufficiently that NABP or OptumRx were acting for a particular state, any wrong the plaintiffs suffered does not amount to a constitutional violation, nor can they sue under § 1983. The District Court was thus correct to dismiss those claims.  Here, to state a § 1983 claim, PriMed and Oak Drugs must allege sufficient facts to show that NABP is a state actor. Because NABP (like the NCAA in Tarkanian) is a nationwide membership organization—including not only the boards of pharmacy in each of the 50 states, but also the boards from the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories, and the provinces of Canada—any plaintiff would face…

CIVIL RIGHTS-IMPLIED RIGHT OF ACTION-EMOTIONAL DISTRESS DAMAGES

May 12th, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Civil Rights

Cummings v. Keller, 2022 U.S. LEXIS 2230 (S. Ct. April 28, 2022) (Roberts, C.J.)  Congress has broad power under the Spending Clause of the Constitution to set the terms on which it disburses federal funds. “[L]egislation enacted pursuant to the spending power is much in the nature of a contract: in return for federal funds, the [recipients] agree to comply with federally imposed conditions.” Pennhurst State School and Hospital v. Halderman, 451 U. S. 1, 17, 101 S. Ct. 1531, 67 L. Ed. 2d 694 (1981). Exercising this authority, Congress has passed a number of statutes prohibiting recipients of federal financial assistance from discriminating based on certain protected characteristics. We have held that these statutes may be enforced through implied rights of action, and that private plaintiffs may secure injunctive or monetary relief in such suits. See Barnes v. Gorman, 536 U. S. 181, 185, 187, 122 S. Ct. 2097, 153 L. Ed. 2d 230 (2002). Punitive damages, on the other hand, are not available. Id., at 189, 122 S. Ct. 2097, 153 L. Ed. 2d 230. The question presented in this case is whether another special form of damages—damages…

CIVIL RIGHTS-TITLE IX-SEXUAL MISBEHAVIOR BY A TEACHER

May 2nd, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Civil Rights

Jane Doe a Fictitious Name v. Loyalsock Township Sch. Dist., 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68665 (M.D. Pa. April 13, 2022) (Brann, J.)  From September 2013 through the summer of 2014, Jane Doe was sexually assaulted by her middle school basketball coach. She was not the first student this coach groomed and then victimized, and, in 2016, police arrested the coach for sexually abusing Jane Doe and the prior victim. The coach pleaded guilty to felony institutional sexual assault and misdemeanor corruption of minors. Jane Doe now seeks damages from her school district (i.e., the coach's employer), alleging a violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 as well as claims sounding in negligence and intentional infliction of emotion distress. The school district moves to dismiss these claims, focusing on the foreseeability of the coach's abusive conduct. But because Jane Doe adequately pleads that the school district had actual knowledge of the risks the abusive coach posed to female students, most of Jane Doe's claims will be permitted to proceed. Construed in a light most favorable to Jane Doe, the principal's intimation that he took steps to shield Jane…