The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wexler, District Judge.
This is a civil rights case brought by plaintiff Raymond
Sutton, Jr. ("Plaintiff" or "Sutton, Jr."), an employee of the
Village of Valley Stream (the "Village") against the Village, its
mayor, the Village attorney and a Village employee.
Also pending before this court is a factually related lawsuit
commenced by the father of the Plaintiff herein. In that lawsuit,
filed under docket number 98-5360, Plaintiff's father, Raymond
Sutton, Sr. ("Sutton, Sr.") claims that adverse employment action
was taken against him because of the exercise of his First
Amendment rights — his expression of support for a particular
Like the Sutton, Sr. lawsuit, this lawsuit alleges adverse
employment action taken in retaliation for the exercise of First
Amendment rights. This lawsuit differs from the Sutton, Sr.
lawsuit in one important respect. Sutton, Jr. does not allege
that he was retaliated against for his support of a slate of
candidates. Instead, Sutton, Jr. argues that he suffered adverse
employment action because his father voiced his political
beliefs. Thus, Sutton, Jr. alleges a violation of his
constitutional right to associate with his father, Sutton, Sr.
Additionally, Sutton, Jr. alleges a violation of his right to
substantive due process.
Presently before the court is defendants' motion to dismiss,
pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted
in part and denied in part.
As noted, Plaintiff is Raymond J. Sutton, Jr. Named as
defendants are the Village along with the individual who was the
Mayor of the Village at all relevant times, James Darcy
("Darcy"), Village Attorney Patrick McKenna ("McKenna") and
Supervisor of the Village Department of Public Works, Nicholas
Camarano ("Camarano"). The individual defendants are named in
their official as well as their individual capacities.
II. The Facts Alleged By Plaintiff
The facts alleged in support of Plaintiffs' claims, as set
forth in the complaint and accepted as true for the purpose of
this motion, are as follows.
Plaintiff alleges that his father, Sutton, Sr., was known to be
an active supporter of Mayor Donley who, in 1995, lost the
Village mayoral election to defendant James Darcy. In or about
December of 1996, after the election of defendant Darcy,
Plaintiff began to work under defendant Camarano who is alleged
to have begun harassing both Sutton Jr. and his father. This
"campaign of harassment" is alleged to have intensified after
Sutton, Sr. filed his lawsuit in this court. The acts of
harassment of which Sutton, Jr. complains include, inter alia:
• ordering that Plaintiff's assignment be changed to
the Village Sanitation Department (against
Plaintiff's physician recommendation that he remain
in the Highway Department);
• suspending Plaintiff's driving privileges because
Plaintiff was allegedly involved in several motor
• accusing Plaintiff of removing a bag of cement from
the Village without authorization (which accusation
resulted in a suspension and reduction in wage
• disciplining Plaintiff more harshly than other
employees who engaged in ...