Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

MEADOWS v. STATE UNIV. OF NEW YORK AT OSWEGO

October 4, 1993

JOANN MEADOWS and PATRICIA SMOUSE, Plaintiffs,
v.
STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AT OSWEGO, BRUCE LESTER, MARTA SANTIAGO, STEPHEN WEBER, JANE MILLEY, DEBORAH STANLEY and SANDRA MOORE, individually and in their official capacities, Defendants.


Scullin, Jr.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: FREDERICK J. SCULLIN, JR.

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

 INTRODUCTION

 This matter is presently before the court on a motion by Plaintiffs for a preliminary injunction or, in the alternative, a hearing to determine whether an injunction should issue against Defendants. The court heard oral argument from counsel in Syracuse, New York on June 4, 1993. At that time, the court directed the parties to submit additional briefing on, inter alia, Plaintiffs' claim of irreparable harm. After having reviewed the entire file in this matter, including the additional briefing, the court makes the following findings. *fn1"

 BACKGROUND

 Plaintiffs are employed by State University of New York at Oswego ("SUNY Oswego"), Ms. Meadows as a tenured professor and Ms. Smouse as an untenured lecturer. Ms. Meadows has been employed by Oswego for twenty-two years; Ms. Smouse, for eight years. In the fall of 1991 Dr. Patricia Peterson, the former chair of the Women's Health and Physical Education Department, filed a Title IX complaint with the Office of Civil Rights ("OCR"), claiming "that the female students at SUNY Oswego were not given as good an education in sports as the male students as mandated by Title IX." Plaintiffs' Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion for a Temporary [sic] Injunction ("Plaintiffs' Memo."), Doc. 9, at 2.

 Plaintiffs contend that although they did not file the complaint, "it was widely believed that [Plaintiffs] were moving forces in the institution of said complaint," Plaintiffs' Motion for a Preliminary Injunction ("Plaintiffs' Motion"), Doc. 9, at P 2, *fn2" and that, since the fall of 1991, they "have been subjected to a pattern of harassment which began after they were perceived to have been behind [the Title IX complaint]." Plaintiffs' Memo. at 2.

 Plaintiffs assert that they subsequently filed their own complaints, *fn3" and thereafter the harassment increased. Ms. Smouse maintains that she attempted to file a complaint with the affirmative action office at SUNY Oswego in July 1992 (through defendant Santiago), but that Ms. Santiago refused to take her complaint. Smouse Aff., Doc. 9, Exh. 13 at 5. Ms. Santiago disputes this. See Santiago Aff., Doc. 13, at PP 3-10. *fn4" Ms. Smouse further alleges that later in July 1992 defendant Moore, the newly appointed Women's Health and Physical Education Director, told Ms. Smouse that she "would be fired, or words to that effect, if [she] filed a complaint." Smouse Aff., Doc. 9, Exh. 13 at P 6. Ms. Smouse claims that she then told Ms. Moore that she had already filed a complaint. *fn5" Shortly thereafter, Ms. Smouse received a letter from defendant SUNY Oswego stating that it would not renew her position after August 31, 1993.

 Ms. Smouse subsequently filed a grievance with her union, apparently alleging "that she was non-renewed in retaliation for having filed a discrimination complaint [with defendant Santiago] under the SUNY Procedures." Plaintiffs' Motion, Doc. 9, Exh. "1". In support of this grievance, the union representatives on behalf of Ms. Smouse asserted that the filing of the complaint was "protected activity." *fn6" Id. at [2] (unnumbered). The grievance further alleged that, although in June 1992 the Personnel Committee on Health, Physical Education and Athletics recommended that Ms. Smouse's contract be extended by another three-year term, see Plaintiffs' Memo., Exh. "3", she was notified in August 1992 (after she filed the complaint with the affirmative action office) that SUNY Oswego would not renew her contract after August 31, 1993.

 Defendant Stanley (Executive Assistant to the President of SUNY Oswego), stated, inter alia, in her denial of the grievance that "filing a complaint under the SUNY procedures for review of allegations of discrimination is not within the meaning of 'protected activity' under Section 209 and 209-a 1(a) and (c) [of the Public Employees Fair Employment Act]." Plaintiffs' Motion, Doc. 9, Exh. 1 at [2] (unnumbered). *fn7" Ms. Stanley also found, in denying Ms. Smouse's grievance, that "there were several legitimate business reasons for the non-renewal of Ms. Smouse." Id

 In her supporting affidavit, Ms. Smouse states that "unless a temporary injunction is issued, there will be a chilling effect on other teachers, to speak out and a gravely sad lesson to students about their rights in a democracy." Plaintiffs' Motion Doc. 9, Exh. 13, P 9. *fn8" Ms. Meadows similarly states in her affidavit that "unless an injunction is issued the harassment will not abate and I will continue to be punished for exercising my First Amendment rights to point out the inequities in the education of male and female students." Id., Exh. 14, P 9.

 Although Ms. Meadows has tenure and therefore cannot be non-renewed, she alleges that Defendants have made "it impossible to remain employed," id. at 2, by, inter alia, pressuring her to take on the position of women's head basketball coach, a position that she left a few years ago upon her doctor's advisement due to a medical condition. Id., Exh. "5". *fn9" Ms. Meadows further alleges that Defendants have retaliated against her by taking away her deanship position, denying her access to an athletic building for which she had previously been issued keys, and attempting to "drive a wedge between her and the male coaches." Id. at 3.

 Plaintiffs brought the underlying action pursuant to Title IX, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq.; 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985 (3) and 1986; the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, N.Y. Civ. Serv. Law § 75-b, and N.Y. Exec. Law § 290 et seq. Apparently, Plaintiffs seek injunctive relief pursuant only to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, based on their allegations of deprivation of ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.