United States District Court, W.D. New York
Christina A. Agola, Ryan Charles Woodworth, Christina Agola PLLC, Brighton, NY, for Plaintiff.
Michael P. McClaren, Ryan G. Smith, Susan B. Parzymieso, Webster Szanyi, LLP, Buffalo, NY, for Defendant.
DECISION AND ORDER
DAVID G. LARIMER, District Judge.
Plaintiff, Karen Spencer (" plaintiff" or " Spencer" ), was formerly employed by the Holley Central School District (" District" or " defendant" ) as a school bus driver. On December 5, 2005, Spencer was involved in an accident while she was driving a school bus loaded with students on their way home from school. Spencer rear-ended another school bus which had stopped to discharge passengers. The School District pursued disciplinary actions and eventually Spencer was granted a hearing pursuant to § 75 of the New York Civil Service Law. An independent hearing officer was selected who took testimony and later authored a report finding Spencer to have been at fault for the accident, and recommended that Spencer be terminated from employment.
The report was presented to the Board, which adopted the hearing officer's findings and voted to terminate Spencer's employment with the District. Spencer failed to appeal from either the hearing officer's determination or the Board's decision adopting the report and recommendations.
Thereafter, Spencer commenced this action against the Holley Central School District, her former supervisor Jeff Helsdon, and District Superintendent Robert C. D'Angelo. Plaintiff asserted several different causes of action.
The defendants duly moved to dismiss the complaint and by decision and order (Dkt. # 12) filed August 31, 2010, 734 F.Supp.2d 316 (W.D.N.Y.2010), this Court
granted the motion in part and dismissed plaintiff's second, third and fourth causes of action along with her demand for punitive damages. The only claim remaining was Spencer's first cause of action alleging a violation of equal protection. Familiarity with that decision is assumed.
The parties engaged in a period of discovery and, thereafter, defendants filed the pending motions including a motion for summary judgment (Dkt. # 34) and a motion for sanctions (Dkt. # 33) against Spencer and her counsel pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1927. Both sides have submitted legal memoranda and affidavits relative to both motions.
Upon review, defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted and the complaint dismissed. As a matter of discretion, I decline to impose sanctions and deny defendants' motion for sanctions (Dkt. # 33).
First of all, this Court was troubled as to whether Spencer had even properly pleaded the Equal Protection claim. In the Court's decision (Dkt. # 12) granting the defendant's motion to dismiss, in part, the Court noted that the claim, though poorly drafted, confusingly pleaded, and borderline insufficient, nonetheless, met— albeit barely— the pleading standard. Now, of course, the parties are well beyond the pleading stage and Spencer must do more than rely on pleadings.
The matter is before the Court on summary judgment, and thus the issue is whether there are any genuine issues of material fact. If not, the Court may rule as a matter of law on the motion. The Court must determine if there is sufficient evidence such that a jury could reasonably find for the plaintiff. Plaintiff must rely on more than pleadings or ...