CHRO: Angelo Cordone v. City of Bridgeport, Board of Ed. - Ruling on Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint

Angelo Cordone v. City of Bridgeport, Board of Ed. - Ruling on Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint
Angelo Cordone v. City of Bridgeport, Board of Ed. - Ruling on Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint

CHRO No. 0420409

Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, ex rel.
Angelo Cordone, Complainant

v.

City of Bridgeport, Board of Education, Respondent

September 21, 2004

RULING ON MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND COMPLAINT

On or about April 2, 2003, the complainant filed this complaint with the commission, alleging that the respondent (his employer) discriminated against him because of his age and in retaliation for an earlier complaint. On June 9, 2004, following investigation and a finding of reasonable cause, the commission investigator certified this case to public hearing.

On September 1, 2004, the commission filed a motion for leave to amend the complaint. The proposed amendment states as follows:

20. That the Complainant adopts each and every allegation contained
in the original complaint unless specifically altered by express
provision to the contrary;

21. That Respondent has discriminated against me because of my
disability;

22. That Respondent has discriminated against me because of my
perceived disability; and

23. That the Respondent's actions violate the Americans with Disabilities
Act, 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.

The respondent did not file any response to the motion, but its failure to do so does not mandate that the presiding referee grant the motion automatically. Rather, I remain guided by 46a-54-80a(e) of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies, which allows the presiding officer to "permit reasonable amendment of any complaint and shall allow the parties . . . sufficient time to prepare their case in light of the amendment."

Although, in the interests of justice, courts (and this tribunal) tend to be liberal in allowing amendments; see, e.g., Tedesco v. Julius G. Pagano, Inc., 182 Conn. 339, 341 (1980); in this instance I believe the proposed additions--predicated solely upon an alleged disability or perceived disability--must be disallowed. In its legal argument, the commission states that the additions "help to clarify the factual allegations contained in Complainant's original complaint . . .. These amendments simply conform the legal grounds for the complaint with the factual allegations contained therein." Upon review of the documents before me, I must disagree with these bald assertions.

Nothing in the original complaint--or, for that matter, the proposed amendment-- even hints at the existence of any impairment or disability, or any perception thereof on the part of the respondent. The complaint, in a simple and straightforward manner, identifies the complainant and his age, describes two employment decisions made by the respondent, and proffers a series of facts and statistics purporting to show that both the complainant and other employees over forty years old were victimized. The complaint concludes with the assertion that both employment decisions were based on the complainant's age and that the second action was also in retaliation for his opposition to the first action.

In short, contrary to the commission's proffered justification, the amendment utterly fails to clarify or provide a legal basis for any of the factual allegations in the complaint. Cf. Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities ex rel. DeRosa v. Rosen, CHRO No.9830057 (ruling on motion to amend complaint, July 22, 1999, Referee Giliberto) (amendment to complaint allowed where the added legal basis for the action clearly comported with the facts already alleged in the original complaint). Under the circumstances, I find the proposed amendment to be unreasonable and, accordingly, I hereby deny the commission's motion for leave to amend the complaint.



_________________________
David S. Knishkowy
Human Rights Referee



c: All parties of record





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