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Second Circuit – Jury verdict: Bennett v. County of Rockland

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Jury verdict

Sufficiency of evidence – Adverse employment action

Bennett v. County of Rockland


Judges Jacobs, Nathan, and Gonzalez

Background: The plaintiffs-appellees are probation department employees and their union. They brought a First Amendment retaliation claim against the defendants alleging that the defendants retaliated against them for writing a letter to the Rockland County Legislature by holding department-wide emergency meetings and issuing a memorandum of warning. The defendants appealed from an order for judgment as a matter of law after a jury trial. The district court found, inter alia, that the defendants had engaged in an adverse employment action and that a reasonable jury was required to find that the defendants had engaged in the same.

Ruling: The Second Circuit reversed. The Second Circuit held that court it was in error to conclude that the defendants engaged in an adverse because there was sufficient evidence presented at trial to make the jury’s original verdict reasonable as not all reprimands are, as a matter of law, an adverse employment action.

Nathaniel K. Charney, of Charny & Wheeler, for the plaintiffs-appellees; Matthew G. Parisi, of Bleakley Platt & Schmidt, for the defendants-appellants.

Oral argument audio