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.

Almonte v. City of Long Beach

March 31, 2009

MARIA ALMONTE, MARY CAMMARATO, BARBARA DAVIS, GREGORY SCOTT, AND PETER SNOW, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
THE CITY OF LONG BEACH, MONA GOODMAN, JAMES P. HENNESSEY AND THOMAS SOFIELD, JR., INDIVIDUALLY AND AS MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF LONG BEACH, AND GLEN SPIRITIS, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS MANAGER OF THE CITY OF LONG BEACH, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Seybert, District Judge

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

INTRODUCTION

On January 2, 2008, Maria Almonte ("Almonte"), Mary Cammarato ("Cammarato"), Barbara Davis ("Davis"), Gregory Scott ("Scott"), and Peter Snow ("Snow") (collectively, "Plaintiffs"), filed a Second Amended Complaint against the City of Long Beach ("City"), Mona Goodman ("Goodman"), James P. Hennessey ("Hennessey"), Thomas Sofield, Jr. ("Sofield"), and Glen Spiritis ("Spiritis") (collectively, the "Defendants") alleging violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, 1986, New York Labor Law § 201-d, and the City of Long Beach Charter ("Charter") 2 § 14. Pending before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c) and Rule 56. For the reasons explained herein, Defendants' motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs commenced this action on September 27, 2004, and filed an Amended Complaint on August 5, 2005. Thereafter, Defendants moved to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). Specifically, Defendants argued that the Individual Defendants were entitled to qualified immunity and legislative immunity for their actions in passing Resolution 121/04, the resolution which eliminated Plaintiffs' jobs. Defendants also argued that Plaintiff Cammarato's termination based on her political affiliation was permissible because Cammarato was a policy-maker.

On March 28, 2006, the Court issued an Order granting Defendants' motion in part and denying it in part. The Court held that the Individual Defendants were absolutely immune for voting for the budgetary resolutions that abolished Plaintiffs' positions, but were not protected for private meetings held prior to the passage of the Resolution. Additionally, the Court found that it did not have enough evidence before it to decide whether Cammarato was a policy-maker.

Defendants filed an Interlocutory Appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. On February 14, 2007, the Second Circuit reversed the March 2006 Order in part. The Second Circuit held that "legislative immunity cloaks not only the vote on the budgetary resolutions, but also any discussions the Council members may have held, and any agreements they may have made, regarding the new budget in the months preceding the actual vote. That the discussions and agreements occurred in secret does not strip these activities of their legislative function." Almonte v. City of Long Beach, 478 F.3d 100, 107 (2d Cir. 2007). The Second Circuit remanded to this Court to determine, "based on the operative complaint or upon further amendment, whether any of the Plaintiffs have alleged or could allege" that the Defendants fired or administratively conspired to fire the Plaintiffs prior to the date on which their position was abolished pursuant to the legislation. Id. at 104.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The Court takes these facts from the Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint, and presumes such facts to be true in resolving Defendants' motion pursuant to Rule 12(c). Only those facts relevant to the pending issues are discussed herein.

Plaintiffs, residents of Nassau County, were all employees of the City and actively involved with the Democratic Party. Defendants Goodman, Hennessey and Sofield are Republican Council Members of the City ("Council Members"), and Defendant Spiritis was the City Manager at the time of the alleged acts. Plaintiffs allege that they were political targets of the Defendants and were terminated from their positions with the City as a result of their political affiliation.

The City employed Almonte as a full-time Bus Driver in 1986; thereafter, Almonte worked with the City in various capacities until June 30, 2004. The City terminated Almonte's employment on May 25, 2004, and informed Almonte that her last day of employment would be June 30, 2004. (Comp. Ex. B.) In February of 1985, the City hired Cammarato as a part-time clerical worker. Cammarato held the position of Tax Assessor from June of 1998 until July 25, 2004. On June 25, 2004, the City informed Cammarato via letter that her last day of employment would be July 25, 2004. (Comp. Ex. H.)

Davis began her employment with the City in 1982, and ultimately held the position of Administrative Aid. On June 16, 2004, the City terminated Davis's employment. Snow began his employment with the City in 1995. On or about October 25, 2003, Snow passed the Civil Service Examination for the position of Municipal Building Superintendent. On June 1, 2004, Defendants advised Snow that "pursuant to Civil Service Law, Section 63, . . . [Snow's] employment with the City will end effective July 2, 2004." (Comp. Ex. T.) Thereafter, on June 9, 2004, the City posted a vacancy for Municipal Building Superintendent, Snow's previous position. (Comp. Ex. U.)

Plaintiffs commenced this action seeking redress for the substantial and irreparable injury they sustained as a result of Defendants terminating their positions with the City based on their political affiliation.

Undisputed Material Facts Pursuant to the Parties' 56.1 Statements

The City Manager is the chief administrative officer of the City. (Defs.' Stmt. ¶ 1.) Article 2, Section 11 of the City Code states, the "appointive officers of the City of Long Beach shall be . . . a tax assessor." (Rosenberg Decl., Ex. L). The Board of Assessors, of which the Tax Assessor is a member, hears grievances by taxpayers to challenge an assessment. (Defs.' Stmt. ¶ 28.) Cammarato held various certificates and had completed several courses related to her position as Tax Assessor, and was a fourteen-year member of the New York State Assessor's Association, nine year New York State certified assessor, nine year New ...


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.