Co., 62 N.Y.2d 494, 478 N.Y.S.2d 823, 467 N.E.2d 487 (1984)).
In Plaintiff's prior Article 78 proceeding, Justice Cobb found that Plaintiff's execution of the Stipulation and letter of resignation and Czajka's subsequent delivery of those items to Defendant Deily, did not constitute a valid resignation because Plaintiffs letter was not properly "filed or delivered" as required by New York law. Since this issue was clearly raised in that prior proceeding, and both Deily and the City of Hudson had a full and fair opportunity to litigate this issue in that prior proceeding, this Court is bound by that decision and the Defendants may not relitigate that issue. Therefore, the Court finds that Plaintiff did not voluntarily relinquish her property interest on February 15, 1992, because Czajka's delivery of Plaintiff's letter of resignation on February 14, 1992 was not a valid "filing or delivery" under New York Civil Service law.
However, because Plaintiff also seeks back pay and benefits for the period between Breedlove's March 1993 delivery of her letter of resignation to Defendant Deily and her September 11, 1994 reinstatement, the Court must also determine whether Breedlove's delivery of Plaintiff's letter of resignation in March 1993 constituted a valid resignation under New York Civil Service law.
In granting the City's motion for summary judgment on its third-party claim against Breedlove, the Court found that the escrow agreement created by the Stipulation was both valid and enforceable.
In the Stipulation, Plaintiff expressly agreed to execute an irrevocable letter of resignation, which Breedlove was to hold in escrow until February 15, 1992, at which time he was to file the letter with the Commissioner of the City of Hudson Police Department. Pursuant to that agreement, Plaintiff relinquished control of the letter of resignation to Breedlove, the "escrow agent."
While Czajka's delivery of Plaintiff's letter of resignation was invalid under New York law because he was not authorized to deliver the letter, Breedlove's delivery of Plaintiff's letter of resignation was valid because he was expressly authorized to deliver the letter by virtue of the escrow agreement. Because the letter of resignation was properly "delivered" at that time, Plaintiff's resignation became effective and her property interest in continued employment as a police officer ceased to exist.
III. Adequacy of State Post-Deprivation Remedy
Finally, the Defendants argue that Plaintiff's due process rights were not violated at all because the Article 78 proceeding instituted by Plaintiff afforded her a constitutionally adequate post-deprivation remedy. Defendants argue that Deily's acceptance of the improperly tendered letter of resignation on February 14, 1992 was the type of random, unauthorized conduct of a government employee that renders normally mandatory pre-deprivation procedures impracticable. Dwyer v. Regan, 777 F.2d 825, 832 (2d Cir. 1985) (quoting Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 104 S. Ct. 3194 at 3203, 82 L. Ed. 2d 393 (1984)).
While due process does not always require a hearing prior to the deprivation of a property interest, see Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 540-43, 68 L. Ed. 2d 420, 101 S. Ct. 1908 (1981), the Second Circuit has drawn a sharp distinction between the random and unauthorized acts of "lower-echelon . . . employees" and the acts of "high-ranking . . . officials." Dwyer, 777 F.2d at 832. If the deprivation is accomplished by a "high-ranking official having final authority over the decision-making process," the act of deprivation is "not random or unauthorized within the meaning of Parratt" and its progeny. Id. ; see also RR Village Assoc. v. Denver Sewer Corporation, 826 F.2d 1197, 1204 (2d Cir. 1987); Cifarelli v. Village of Babylon, 894 F. Supp. 614, 620 (S.D.N.Y. 1995). It is well settled that where a high-ranking official accomplishes the deprivation and the deprivation is foreseeable, a pre-deprivation hearing is generally required. Dwyer, 77 F.3d at 833; Cifarelli, 894 F. Supp. at 620.
In this case, Defendant Deily was the Commissioner of Police for the City of Hudson with final authority over the decision to terminate Plaintiff from her position as a police officer. As a result, the Court finds that Deily's acceptance of Plaintiff's letter of resignation in February 1992 was not the type of random or authorized act which would render normally mandatory pre-deprivation procedures impracticable under Paratt. Therefore, the Court finds that this argument lacks merit.
In light of the foregoing, the Court finds that Plaintiff is entitled to summary judgment on her due process claims against the Defendants insofar as she is claiming that her due process rights were violated from the time Defendant Deily improperly accepted her letter of resignation on February 14, 1992, to the day Breedlove delivered Plaintiff's letter of resignation to Defendant Deily in March 1993. Plaintiff is entitled to any remaining back pay or benefits she is due for that period of time, plus any other damages she is able to prove.
However, the Court also finds that Plaintiff voluntarily relinquished her property interest in continued employment as a police officer for the City of Hudson the day Breedlove delivered, and Defendant Deily accepted, Plaintiff's letter of resignation. Thus, Plaintiff is not entitled to any back pay, benefits, or other damages from March 1993 forward. Therefore, after carefully considering the papers submitted, the arguments of counsel, the applicable law, and the entire filed in this matter, it is hereby
ORDERED, that Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on her due process claims is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part to the extent outlined above; and it is further
ORDERED that the Defendants' motion for summary judgment is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part to the extent outlined above.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: February 10, 1997
Syracuse, New York
Frederick J. Scullin, Jr.
United States District Judge