The opinion of the court was delivered by: BARBARA JONES, District Judge
Plaintiff Dr. Clara Garrett ("Garrett") brings this action
against Defendants James Mazza ("Mazza"), Patricia Romandetto
("Romandetto"), Rudolph Crew, and the New York City Board of
Education ("the Board"), arising out of her removal in July 1997
from her position as principal of a Manhattan public middle
school and her subsequent reassignments to different positions in
the school system.
Garrett timely filed a complaint contesting her removal from
office with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. That
agency issued a "Notice of Right to Sue" in September 1997, and
in December of that year Garrett filed a complaint properly invoking the jurisdiction of this Court pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1) and 28 U.S.C. § 1343(4). That original complaint
named Community School Board #3 as a defendant, but did not name
the New York City Board of Education.
Garrett alleged violations of: Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.; 42 U.S.C. § 1983;
42 U.S.C. § 1985(3); 18 U.S.C. § 241; New York Executive Law 296;
and New York City Administrative Code 9-107.
In an Order dated February 13, 2001, this Court granted summary
judgment for various defendants on a number of Plaintiff's
original claims. The Court denied summary judgment as to
Garrett's Title VII discrimination and retaliation claims as to
Community School Board #3, and also denied the motion as to the
state law discrimination and retaliation claims as to all
defendants. A trial on those claims is now pending.
On or about June 28, 2004, Plaintiff filed a Third Amended
Complaint, substituting the New York City Board of Education for
Community School Board #3 and adding two further claims: that by
refusing to appropriately assign her, Romandetto violated
42 U.S.C. § 1983 by restricting Plaintiff's right of access to the
courts as protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution;
and that she was constructively discharged, also in violation of
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Before the Court now is a second motion by Defendants for
summary judgment on Garrett's claim of constructive discharge.
For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion for summary
judgment is GRANTED.
Garrett was employed by the Board as a principal in Community
School District #3 (the "District") from 1979 until July 1997,
when then-Deputy Superintendent Mazza removed her from that
position. Garrett, who is black, alleges that this removal was,
in part, in retaliation for her public criticism of the
District's "Choice" plan, and that this and other of the
Defendants' subsequent employment actions were in part racially
In August 1997 Romandetto, who had by then replaced Mazza as
District Superintendent, assigned Garrett to the position of
Comprehensive Health Coordinator. In that position she worked at
the District office, under the Director of Pupil Personnel
Services. Her work area was among the secretaries at the District
office, at a computer table that had belonged to one of the
secretaries, and she was not given a telephone. Plaintiff's
Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment ("Pl. Memo") at 3. In January 1998 Garrett was moved to another office,*fn2
where "[s]he did the job of a `clerical aide,' collecting
immunization forms from principals and school health surveys,"
In or about September 1998 Plaintiff was brought up on
disciplinary charges, all of which were eventually dismissed.
Sometime thereafter, Romandetto assigned Garrett to P.S. 144,
where she was told by the principal that her office would be a
windowless, unheated supply closet, without a telephone. Id. at
5. When she was removed from that space because of the concerns
of the custodial staff over the lack of heat, Garrett was posted
to the Board's central headquarters on Livingston Street in
Brooklyn. There she was given "a chair next to the coat rack" in
a shared office, where she sat "for months and read the New York
Times" before she was eventually given what were essentially
editorial duties reviewing the grammar of decisions of hearing
officers before they were presented to the Chancellor for his
signature. Id. at 6 (quoting from the transcript of the first
day of Garrett's deposition ("Garrett Dep. I"), at 73).
In October or November 1999, Romandetto met with Garrett and
offered her five different placement options within District #3,
all of which would have allowed her to retain her principal's
salary but none of which she found acceptable because none were principalships. Plaintiff's Response to
Defendants' Local Rule 56.1 Statement ("Pl. Resp.") at ¶
In November 1999, Garrett was assigned as principal of the
middle school students at Wadleigh Secondary School ("Wadleigh").
She protested this assignment in writing, Pl. Memo at 8 (citing
Exhibit 5 to the Affirmation of Michael Sussman ("Sussman
Aff'n"), Letter from Garrett to Romandetto dated November 9,
1999). Garrett alleges that she was made to feel unwelcome by the
existing administration at Wadleigh, because she had been foisted
upon the school as part of what she saw as an inappropriate plan
to divide what had been one school into two sub-units within the
same building. Pl. Memo at 9-10. Garrett believes that the school
and the community blamed her for the disruption caused by this
plan, which she neither instituted nor even supported. Id.
In March 2000 the community held a public meeting objecting to
her placement at Wadleigh. Romandetto then removed Garrett from
Wadleigh and assigned her to the position of Director of Pupil
Personnel Services, at the same salary, benefits and work
schedule of a tenured principal. As one of her duties in this
position, Garrett responded to parents' complaints. Garrett claims that she was given only the complaints of black and Latino
parents, and ...