In an unfortunate turn of events, A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit filed against the City of New Haven, Connecticut by a black city firefighter who claimed that the scoring for a 2003 promotional exam cost him a chance to become a lieutenant.
Senior Judge Charles S. Haight Jr. of the United States District Court in New Haven issued a brief ruling in the case of Firefighter Michael Briscoe and noted that he would later submit a memo explaining his reasoning.
The lawsuit is among the many legal actions brought by New Haven firefighters who have accused the city of discriminatory hiring and promotion practices.
A previous suit, known as Ricci v. DeStefano — the lead plaintiff was Firefighter Frank Ricci, and New Haven’s longtime mayor is John DeStefano — was appealed to the United States Supreme Court. In that case, a mostly white group of 20 plaintiffs contended that the city had been wrong in refusing to certify the 2003 promotional exam after it became concerned that minorities were underrepresented at the top of the list.
The plaintiffs won a measure of victory in June when that case was sent back to Federal District Court in New Haven to be resolved in their favor.
But before the court had a chance to fully revisit the case, Mr. Briscoe filed his own lawsuit in October 2009, posing a potential delay to the resolution of the Ricci case.
He claimed that he had only belatedly learned that he had been the top scorer on the oral part of the exam among the 77 candidates who took the lieutenant’s test and that he should have been in line for one of the seven or so openings for lieutenant.
But because the city counted the oral part of the exam as 40 percent of the ultimate grade, and the written part as 60 percent, Mr. Briscoe did not make the final cut.
Its unfortunate that in this day an age there is still discrimination against minorities to fulfill job titles they are more than qualified for. I always like to find out the facts before drawing the race card but, come to think of it, how often do you see a black firefighter?