Cheryl Borowski v. Kean University

PRECEDENTIAL UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT ____________ No. 21-1575 ______ CHERYL BOROWSKI, Esq., Appellant v. KEAN UNIVERSITY; DAWOOD FARAHI; CHARLES WILLIAMS; STEVEN KUBOW; KENNETH GREEN, Esq.; FARAQUE CHOWDHURY; CHRISTOPHER MYERS ____________ On Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (D.C. No. 2-20-cv-05172) District Judge: Honorable William J. Martini ____________ Argued: March 22, 2022 Before: BIBAS, MATEY, and PHIPPS, Circuit Judges. (Filed: May 25, 2023) ____________ Kevin Haverty [ARGUED] WILLIAMS CEDAR 8 Kings Highway West Suite B Haddonfield, NJ 08033 Counsel for Cheryl Borowski Rimma Razhba [ARGUED] OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL OF NEW JERSEY Division of Law 25 Market Street Hughes Justice Complex Trenton, NJ 08625 Counsel for Kean University, Dawood Farahi, Charles Williams, Steven Kubow, Kenneth Green, Faraque Chowdhury, and Christopher Myers Pamela N. Ullman OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL OF NEW JERSEY Division of Law 25 Market Street Hughes Justice Complex Trenton, NJ 08625 Counsel for Christopher Myers 2 _______________________ OPINION OF THE COURT _______________________ PHIPPS, Circuit Judge. After a public university in New Jersey terminated an adjunct professor’s employment, she filed an administrative appeal with the New Jersey Civil Service Commission. The Commission dismissed that challenge on jurisdictional grounds. Instead of appealing that ruling in the state-court system as she could have, the former adjunct professor commenced this suit in federal court for violations of her federal and state civil rights. The District Court relied on Younger abstention to dismiss the adjunct professor’s federal case with prejudice. But Younger abstention prevents federal- court interference with only certain types of state proceedings, such as quasi-criminal civil enforcement actions, and an appeal to the New Jersey Civil Service Commission is neither quasi- criminal nor within another category of Younger-eligible proceedings. Another prerequisite for Younger abstention is that the state proceeding must be ongoing, and when the adjunct professor filed this case, the Commission’s dismissal of the proceeding was already final, the time to appeal having expired. Thus, on de novo review, two independent reasons prevent the dismissal of the adjunct professor’s complaint on Younger grounds: an appeal to the Commission is not a quasi- criminal civil enforcement proceeding, and when this suit was filed, the adjunct professor’s appeal to the Commission was not ongoing. Accordingly, we will vacate the District Court’s order of dismissal and remand this case for further proceedings. 3 I. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS & PROCEDURAL HISTORY Kean University’s Procedures for Resolving Discrimination Complaints Kean University, part of New Jersey’s state system of higher education, has procedures in place to implement New Jersey’s Policy Prohibiting Discrimination in the Workplace. Under those procedures, once Kean receives a complaint of discrimination or harassment, its Affirmative Action Office must use its discretion to conduct “a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation into the alleged harassment or discrimination.” New Jersey State Model Procedures for Internal Complaints Alleging Discrimination in the Workplace ¶ 9 (JA54). The Affirmative Action Office may also impose interim corrective measures, and after the investigation is complete, that office prepares a report, …

Original document
Source: All recent Immigration Decisions In All the U.S. Courts of Appeals