Allen v. Schiff

U.S. DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Civil Rights

New York Law Journal

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District Judge Vincent Briccetti

Allen, a black woman, was a corrections officer employed by a county sheriff department. Her 42 USC §1983 lawsuit against the county and its sheriff—individually and officially—centered on a workplace drug test that determined she had used marijuana. Partly granting defendant Sheriff Schiff summary judgment, the court dismissed Allen's claims against him in his individual capacity and the bulk of her claims against him officially. Addressing an issue of first impression concerning Allen's Fourth Amendment challenge to the constitutionality of the drug test, the court determined that "direct observation of the collection of a urine sample may be appropriate if the government articulates a concern about the test's efficacy that justifies the additional encroachment upon privacy." None of the three circumstances set out by BNSF Railway v. United States DOT were present to warrant direct observation of Allen when she provided her sample. Further, Schiff neither articulated the government's interest in the drug test or in the efficacy of testing procedures, nor did he provide a basis for suspecting that Allen's sample had been corrupted.

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