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DECLARA v. METROPOLITAN TRANSP. AUTHORITY

August 29, 1990

RICHARD DECLARA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY, METRO-NORTH COMMUTER RAILROAD COMPANY, PETER E. STANGL, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER OF METRO-NORTH COMMUTER RAILROAD COMPANY, THOMAS A. CONSTANTINE, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS SUPERINTENDENT OF POLICE, NEW YORK STATE, RAYMOND BURNEY, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF LABOR RELATIONS, METRO-NORTH COMMUTER RAILROAD COMPANY, THE STATE OF NEW YORK, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sweet, District Judge.

OPINION

Defendants Metropolitan Transportation Authority ("MTA"), Metro-North Commuter Railroad Company ("MetroNorth"), Peter Stangl ("Stangl"), Thomas Constantine ("Constantine"), Raymond Burney ("Burney"), and New York State (the "State") move for dismissal of plaintiff Richard DeClara's ("DeClara") complaint, under either Rule 12(b)(1) or 12(b)(6), Fed.R.Civ.P. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted.

Parties

DeClara is a former MetroNorth police officer, employed by MetroNorth from 1967 to 1989.

Defendant MTA is the administrative agency dealing with mass transit within New York City.

Defendant MetroNorth is a commuter railroad that runs between Westchester County and New York City.

Defendant Constantine is sued individually and in his capacity as Superintendent of Police of the State.

Defendant Stangl is sued individually and as General Manager of MetroNorth.

Defendant Burney is sued as the Assistant Director of Labor Relations for Metro-North.

Facts

In March or April 1983, while Metro-North workers were on strike, DeClara and other MetroNorth officers were assigned to patrol the Grand Central Station Terminal ("Grand Central"). DeClara and those officers brought a VHS video camera with them on patrol, where they shot the tape entitled "Buba on Patrol." The tape depicts the officers, including DeClara, in various situations. In particular, the tape shows DeClara patrolling Grand Central completely nude, except for his hat, necktie, gun holster, socks, and shoes. Elsewhere, DeClara is seen interviewing two homeless women,*fn1 and a black man.*fn2

According to DeClara, Captain Dean Evans learned of the tape in 1985. However, the tape went undiscovered by the Metro-North administration until August 2, 1988, when Stangl learned of the tape. Stangl wrote to Constantine to inform him of the tape, and he also enclosed a copy so Constantine could view it before taking action. Stangl referred to the officers' actions as "unprofessional and unacceptable," and stated that their conduct demonstrated "a lack of good moral character and fitness to hold a police commission."


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