Eaddy v. Jemiola
A union that represents police officers may not possess a duty to citizens to negotiate with the city, to include a requirement that police officers receive formal, written performance evaluations that hold them accountable for their conduct. In consolidated complaints, the plaintiffs alleged that they were wrongly stopped on the basis of their race or ethnicity, as a result of "racial profiling," and that Police Officer Jemiola used a police baton to strike Albert Eaddy four times on the back of his head and neck, after Eaddy attempted to escape. The plaintiffs sued Police Officer Jemiola and the union that represented the police. The plaintiffs alleged that because the union did not require formal, written performance evaluations of police officers, when the union negotiated the operative collective bargaining agreement, police allegedly were not discouraged from allegedly submitting fraudulent reports or issuing baseless citations. The union moved to dismiss and argued it did not qualify as a "state actor" and it did not engage in a conspiracy with a "state actor" to violate the plaintiffs' constitutional rights. A private entity can be held legally responsible for a civil-rights violation, pursuant to 42 United States Code §1983, if the entity is a willful participant in a joint activity with the state or its agents. The court found that the plaintiffs' complaint failed to adequately allege that the union, which had an adversarial relationship with the city during collective bargaining negotiations, engaged in a conspiracy with the city. In Kasper v. City of Middletown, a 2005 decision, the District Court wrote, "When a union represents city employees in contract negotiations . . . it is considered to be acting adversely to the city government and not acting under color of state law." The plaintiffs' complaint also failed to allege that the union conspired with the city to engage in conduct that itself violated the plaintiffs' constitutional rights. There were no allegations, for example, that union defendants engaged in racial profiling or assault and battery. The court granted the union's motion to dismiss allegations it violated the plaintiffs' civil rights, in violation of §1983.