Michael McKenna, et al v. City of Philadelphia, No. 09-3567 (3d Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
A Caucasian former police officer claimed that disciplinary action against him and his 1999 termination violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000e, because it was retaliation for his opposition to the city's racially discriminatory treatment of minority officers. The district court ruled in favor of plaintiff. The Third Circuit affirmed, using the analysis from the 2011 Supreme Court decision, Staub v. Proctor Hospital. Once plaintiff established a prima facie case that his termination was motivated by his supervisor's retaliatory animus, it was the city's burden to come forward with evidence that it terminated plaintiff for reasons unrelated to the supervisor's original biased action in preferring charges against plaintiff. The jury was properly instructed that it was plaintiff's burden to demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that he was terminated after engaging in protected activity and that there was a causal connection between the termination and the protected activity.