United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Talwani, United States District Judge.
Ronald Spaddy and Shernette Montgomery, Court Officers
employed by Defendant Massachusetts Appeals Court
(“Appeals Court”), allege unlawful discrimination
in hiring practices for the Chief Court Officer position at
the Appeals Court. Second Am. Compl. 1 [#39]. Defendant Chief
Justice of the Massachusetts Trial Court (“Trial
Court”) Paula M. Carey (“Chief Justice
Carey”) has filed a Motion for Judgment on the
Pleadings [#64]. For the reasons that follow, that
motion is ALLOWED.
Facts Alleged in the Complaint
1994 and 1999 respectively, Montgomery and Spaddy have been
Court Officers employed by the Appeals Court. Second Am.
Compl. ¶ 9 [#39]. Spaddy is “a Black and or
African American, ” and Montgomery is “racially
identifiable as a Black or African American.”
Id. ¶¶ 1-2. Prior to working at the
Appeals Court, both Plaintiffs earned bachelor's degrees,
id. ¶¶ 19, 22, and since their employment
began, their overall performance has been rated
“excellent, ” id. ¶ 13.
have completed the Trial Court's Security Department
Promotional Exam for the positions of Assistant Chief Court
Officer and Chief Court Officer. Id. ¶ 14. In
2004, Plaintiff Spaddy unsuccessfully applied for the Chief
Court Officer position at the Supreme Judicial Court.
Id. ¶ 21.
2012, Plaintiffs learned via a court-wide email from
then-Chief Justice of the Appeals Court Phillip Rapoza that
Leo Ajemian, an Assistant Chief Court Officer, would replace
Nancy Sinagra as Chief Court Officer of the Appeals Court
when she retired at the end of the month. Id. ¶
32. The job opening for Chief Court Officer was never posted
publicly and no one other than Ajemian was considered for the
position. Id. ¶ 33. Although Ajemian, who is
white, had worked for the Appeals Court longer than either
Plaintiff, he did not have a bachelor's degree.
Id. ¶ 9. At the time, holding a bachelor's
degree was one of the “essential” requirements
for the position of Chief Court Officer, but that
prerequisite was stricken in June 2012. Id. ¶
33. Neither Plaintiff was allowed to apply for, or was
considered for, the position of Chief Court Officer.
Trial Court provides administrative services to the three
Massachusetts judicial departments, including the Appeals
Court. Id. ¶ 45. Further, the Trial Court is
“required to maintain applicant flow data to review
hiring decisions in order to verify compliance with diversity
initiatives before an applicant is hired into a
position.” Id. In 2001, the Chief Justice for
Administration and Management of the Trial Court
(“CJAM”) issued a Personnel Policies and
Procedures Manual (“Personnel Manual”), setting
forth the Trial Court's policies regarding merit-based
hiring. Id. ¶¶ 42-44. Additionally, as a
result of the December 16, 2011, report authored by the
Supreme Judicial Court's Task Force on Hiring and
Promotion, an interdepartmental Personnel Policy Committee
was established to integrate the recommendations from that
report into Trial Court policies. Id. ¶¶
as Court Officers of the Appeals Court, are required to obey
the directions of the Director of Security for the Trial
Court. Id. ¶¶ 46, 49. Court Officers of
the Appeals Court are in a single bargaining unit, together
with Trial Court employees, for collective bargaining
purposes, and their terms and conditions of employment are
controlled by the same collective bargaining agreements.
Id. ¶ 47. The Trial Court negotiates these
collective bargaining agreements on behalf of both itself and
the Appeals Court. Id. The Trial Court also
administers these union contracts, including hearing
grievances of Court Officers of the Appeals Court.
Id. ¶ 49.
Justice Carey is the “policy and judicial head of the
Trial Court.” Id. ¶ 6. She “shares
responsibility for establishing uniform guidelines and
policies to further minority employment within the judicial
system.” Id. Plaintiffs allege that they
desire to include Chief Justice Carey in this action so that
the court will be able to grant complete prospective relief.
12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings “implicates
the pleadings as a whole.” Aponte-Torres v. Univ.
of P.R., 445 F.3d 50, 54-55 (1st Cir. 2006). Such
motions are “ordinarily accorded much the same
treatment” as motions to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6).
Id. at 54. To prevail on a motion for judgment on
the pleadings, the moving party must show that the
“uncontested and properly considered facts conclusively
establish the movant's entitlement to a favorable
judgment.” Id. Facts contained in the
pleadings are considered in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party, and all reasonable inferences are drawn in
its favor. Id.
Justice Carey is named only in Count 1 of the Second
Amended Complaint [#39], which seeks prospective
injunctive relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations
of Plaintiffs' rights protected under 42 U.S.C. §
1981. “Section 1983 ‘is not itself a
source of substantive rights, ' but merely provides
‘a method for vindicating federal rights elsewhere
conferred.'” Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S.
266, 271 (1994) (quoting Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S.
137, 144 n.3 (1979)). To prevail under Section 1983, a
plaintiff must show that (1) the challenged conduct was
carried out under color of state law, and (2) the challenged
conduct deprived plaintiff of rights secured by the
Constitution or by federal law. Collins v. Nuzzo,
244 F.3d 246, 250 (1st Cir. 2001). The dispute here centers
on whether the Second Amended Complaint alleges any
actionable conduct by Chief Justice Carey.
prevail on a Section 1981 claim, a plaintiff must demonstrate
that “(1) she is a member of a racial minority; (2) the
defendant discriminated against her on the basis of her race;
and (3) the discrimination implicated one or more of the
activities listed in the statute, including the right to make
and enforce contracts.” Hammond v. Kmart
Corp., 733 F.3d 360, 362 (1st Cir. 2013). Discriminatory
conduct post-dating the formation of Plaintiffs'
employment relationship, which impedes the ...