The case is Costabile v. New York Health and Hospitals Corp., issued on February 25. This is a disability discrimination case brought under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits this kind of discrimination by entities that receive federal money. (It was the precursor to the broader Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which covers more entities). I wrote about the main holding in this case at this link. But at the end of the ruling, the Second Circuit also addressed plaintiff's argument that he may enforce the Rehabilitation Act through Section 1983. The Court of Appeals says he cannot do so.
Section 1983 cannot be used to enforce other federal statutes if the other federal statutes have a comprehensive enforcement scheme. The Second Circuit has never taken up this issue with the Rehabilitation Act before, but it resolves it now, adopting the reasoning from other circuits that hold that "§ 1983 cannot be used to alter the categories of persons potentially liable in private actions under the Rehabilitation Act or the ADA." The Second Circuit (Lohier, Sack and Cabranes) is particularly enamored with A.W. v. Jersey City Public Schools, 486 F.3d 791 (3d Cir. 2007) (en banc), which held that "§ 1983 may not be used to enforce the rights provided in the Rehabilitation Act." The Second Circuit concludes:
We conclude that the comprehensive remedial scheme of the Rehabilitation Act suggests that Congress did not intend that § 1983 be an available remedy. Because nothing has been directed to our attention to challenge the “ordinary inference that the remedy provided in the statute is exclusive,” we hold that the rights established in the Rehabilitation Act may not be enforced through § 1983.