By: Daily Record Staff//March 31, 2014
By: Daily Record Staff//March 31, 2014//
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Qualified Immunity — Pretext
Royal Crown Day Care LLC v. Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Judges Pooler, Lynch and Droney
Background: The plaintiffs commenced an action alleging that the defendants violated their First Amendment and substantive due process rights by closing down Royal Crown’s day care facility in retaliation for a letter of complaint that the plaintiffs sent to a New York state senator. The defendants appealed from the denial of their motion for summary judgment on the grounds of qualified immunity.
Ruling: The Second Circuit affirmed. The court held that, despite the defendants’ assertion that their motives were immaterial as the facility was shut down for violations of the Health Code, the defendants did have some discretion in deciding whether to shut down the facility. The motivation of the defendants is material as the facility’s closure occurred a few days after receipt of a letter from Sen. Martin J. Golden.
Salvatore John Bate for the plaintiff-appellee; Victoria Scalzo, assistant corporation counsel, for the defendants-appellants