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Leventhal v. Knapek

266 F.3d 64 (2001)

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Leventhal v. Knapek

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

266 F.3d 64 (2001)

Facts

The New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) (defendant) received a tip from the New York State Office of the Inspector General (the inspector general) that one of DOT’s employees was abusing his position. One of the allegations was that the employee was generally inattentive to his DOT duties. The tip did not mention an employee by name, but the DOT deduced that the employee was Gary Leventhal (plaintiff). Leventhal had a personal tax practice unrelated to DOT business. The DOT permitted this practice as long as it did not interfere with Leventhal’s job at DOT. Without Leventhal’s consent, DOT entered Leventhal’s private DOT office, turned on his DOT computer, and searched the computer. No one else at DOT had regular access to the computer. The search revealed that Leventhal had installed a personal tax-preparation program on the DOT computer. The DOT initiated disciplinary action against Leventhal, resulting in a 30-day unpaid suspension. Leventhal sued the DOT in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York. The district court granted the DOT’s motion for summary judgment. Leventhal appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Sotomayor, J.)

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