Port Auth. Police Asian Jade Soc'y v. The Port Auth. of NY & NJ, No. 10-1904 (2d Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs, 11 Asian-Americans currently or formerly Port Authority police officers, sued under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000e, alleging that they were passed over for promotions because of race. The plaintiffs asserted: individual disparate treatment, pattern-or-practice disparate treatment, and disparate impact. A jury found liability for discrimination against seven plaintiffs and awarded back pay and compensatory damages. The district court also granted prevailing plaintiffs retroactive promotions, seniority benefits, and salary and pension adjustments corresponding with hypothetical promotion dates. The Second Circuit affirmed in part. With regard to individual disparate treatment allegations, the district court properly admitted background evidence predating onset of the limitations period; there was sufficient evidence to conclude that the Port Authority discriminated within the limitations period. The district court erred in: submitting the pattern-or-practice disparate treatment theory to the jury in a private, nonclass action and concluding that the “continuing violation” doctrine applied to the disparate impact theory so that the jury could award back pay and compensatory damages for harms predating the statute of limitations. The court remanded for reconsideration of damages and equitable relief to the extent that relief was premised on failures to promote outside the limitations period.