The opinion of the court was delivered by: Scullin, Chief Judge.
Plaintiff Willis Knighton asserts the following claims against
the City of Syracuse Fire Department and James L. Cummings, the
former Chief of the Fire Department: (1) violation of Plaintiffs
Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment due process and equal protection
rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983;*fn1 (2) discrimination
and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq; and (3)
state law claims for violation of Article 1, Sections 8 and 11
of the New York State Constitution.*fn2
"[T]o prevail on a due process claim, a plaintiff must
identify a constitutionally protected liberty or property
interest. . . ." Schlesinger v. New York City Transit Auth.,
No. 00 CIV. 4759, 2001 WL 62868, *6 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 24, 2001)
(citation omitted). The plaintiff must then show that he has
been deprived "of that interest without due process of law."
Id. (citation omitted).
Plaintiff has not provided the Court with information
sufficient to find that he maintained a liberty or property
interest in his employment. Even assuming that Plaintiff had
provided such information, the Court finds that Plaintiff is
unable to satisfy the second prong of the analysis by showing
that he was deprived of a liberty or property interest without
due process of law.
Plaintiff contends that Defendants violated his due process
rights when they administered drug tests pursuant to the
Experimental Drug Policy. In particular, Plaintiff points to the
fact that the Policy was not signed by the Local 280 Union or
the City and, thus, contends that he did not have notice of the
applicability of the Policy.*fn4
Although Plaintiff argues that the Experimental Drug Policy
was not in force because it was unsigned, he does not contend
that the 1994-97 Collective Bargaining Agreement ("CBA") was not
in force even though that document is also unsigned. Rather,
Plaintiff relied upon the unsigned CBA when he grieved his
termination through the arbitration clause of that
agreement.*fn5 Moreover, during the arbitration proceeding,
Local 280, which represented Plaintiff, never disputed the
legality of the Experimental Drug Policy or its applicability to
Plaintiff.*fn6 See Pachecho Aff. at Exh. F.
In addition, the 1994-97 CBA specifically addressed drug
testing. It provides, in relevant part, the following:
The parties have in practice an experimental drug
testing agreement, a copy of which is attached as an
Exhibit. The parties agree that this experimental
drug testing agreement will continue and be in full
force and effect through December 31, 1997.
See Pl's Response to Statement of Material Facts at Exh. B.
The Court further finds that even if Plaintiff was correct in
claiming that the Experimental Drug Policy was not in force and
that he had a right to notice of potential drug testing,
Plaintiff still had adequate notice of the potential for
testing. It is important to note that during his deposition,
William Hicks, one of Plaintiffs co-workers and the former
President of FOCUS, testified that "[b]efore we had our
experimental policy there was a no tolerance position that the
City had for substance abuse and [the] City dealt with it
internally." See Hicks Tr. at 30. Hicks further testified that
pursuant to this "no tolerance position," firefighters "would
not be shown any leniency as far as drugs were concerned." See
id. at 31. Moreover, during oral argument, Plaintiffs counsel
represented that Plaintiff had actual knowledge of the Policy.
It is also clear that Plaintiffs termination process occurred
in accordance with the applicable CBA, the Experimental Drug
Policy and the Settlement Agreement.*fn7 Accordingly, the
Court grants Defendants' motion for ...