Defendant-appellant Anne E. Rooney appeals from a money judgment entered in favor of plaintiff-appellee Charles B. Taylor in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Spatt, J.), following a jury trial. Taylor prevailed on his claim, brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, that his one-year suspension from teaching constituted race discrimination violative of his equal protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. At the time of his suspension, Taylor was a tenured teacher at Brentwood South Middle School ("South") in Brentwood, New York, where Rooney served as acting principal. Rooney advances the following contentions on appeal: (1) she was entitled to judgment as a matter of law because her actions were not the proximate cause of any injury sustained by Taylor; (2) she was entitled either to absolute immunity or qualified immunity from liability because she acted pursuant to her official duty to report complaints regarding the use of corporal punishment by teachers at her school; (3) the district court erred in submitting to the jury the issue of whether other school teachers and Taylor were similarly situated, since that issue was clear as a matter of law; (4) the principle of collateral estoppel prevented Taylor from relitigating, subsequent to the decision of the disciplinary hearing panel, the issue of whether he was treated differently from similarly situated Caucasian teachers; (5) the district court erroneously admitted evidence relating to certain allegedly discriminatory statements made by Rooney; (6) the court improperly instructed the jury, both in its charge as well as in its special interrogatories, that intent to inhibit Taylor's right of free speech could serve as the basis for his § 1983 claim when his First Amendment claim had already been dismissed; and (7) the court abused its discretion in calculating the attorney's fees award in this case.
For the reasons that follow, we reverse the judgment of the district court and remand with instructions to enter judgment for Rooney.
Miner, Roger J., "Taylor v. Brentwood Union Free School Dist., 143 F. 3d 679 - Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit 1998" (1998). Circuit Court Opinions. 224.