May 2013

In Lewis v Health and Hospitals Corp, 11-cv-0099, 2013 WL 2351798 (SDNY May 30, 2013), the court held that pursuing, and losing, discrimination claims at the state administrative level barred a subsequent federal action. There, plaintiff initially filed a verified complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights (SDHR) charging defendants with disability discrimination…

Read More Election of Remedies Results in Dismissal of Federal Complaint

Now this requires chutzpah. A New York appellate court recently struck down plaintiffs’ attempt to sue their former employer for employment discrimination – three years after they received money pursuant to a settlement agreement.  The case is Allen v. The Riese Organization, decided May 16, 2013. Under New York law, there is no independent obligation (i.e., absent a contractual obligation) to…

Read More Court Dismisses Complaint Because Claims Already Released And Settlement Money Paid

In Fattoruso v. Hilton Grand Vacations Co., 12-2405 (2d Cir. May 17, 2013), the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff’s retaliation claim under the New York City Human Rights Law. Plaintiff claimed that Hilton violated the NYCHRL by retaliating against him for “raising the issue of his supervisor’s inappropriate relationship with and preferential treatment of…

Read More Second Circuit Rejects Retaliation Claim Under the New York City Human Rights Law; Complaints Re: “Paramour Preference” Not Protected Activity

The Second Circuit last week issued a summary order granding pro se (i.e., self-represented) plaintiff Diane Robinson an opportunity to amend her complaint alleging employment discrimination and retaliation.  The court’s order in Robinson v. Goulet, 12-3606 (May 17, 2013) is here. Plaintiff alleged that her manager, Peter Goulet, discriminated against her on the basis of her sex…

Read More Second Circuit Gives Pro Se Discrimination Plaintiff Another Chance

Soon-to-be-former attorney Scott Alan Stern was recently disciplined for engaging in shocking conduct, even by attorney standards. Most attorney discipline cases involve misappropriation (i.e., “stealing”) of client funds and engaging in some kind of fraud on the court. This one, however, is a bit different.  The facts, according to the opinion in Matter of Scott…

Read More Attorney Suspended Indefinitely For Threatening Judge

While “running and playing” with other dogs, defendants’ 50-pound Labrador Retriever, Delilah, knocked plaintiff down from behind, causing serious injuries. The Appellate Division, Third Department last week in Bloom v. Van Lenten dismissed plaintiff’s lawsuit. The lower court allowed plaintiff’s strict liability claim to survive, finding questions of fact as to whether Delilah had “vicious propensities of…

Read More Playful Dog Exhibited “Normal Canine Behavior”, Not “Vicious Propensities”

A federal court last week struck down an employment discrimination defendant’s attempt to obtain broad-ranging discovery from plaintiff in her Title VII gender discrimination, hostile work environment, sexual harassment, and retaliation case. The court’s decision in Kennedy v. Contract Pharmaceutical Corp. is here. Social Media Document Requests Social media is everywhere, and much has been written on…

Read More Court Rejects Defendants’ Attempts to Obtain Social Media Discovery From Discrimination Plaintiff

In employment discrimination law, the phrase “hostile work environment” has a very specific meaning that does not encompass all circumstances that the word “hostile” might suggest. Courts repeatedly say, for example, that the employment laws do not provide a “general civility code” for the workplace. In addition, as set forth below, in order to be actionable, the…

Read More What is a “Hostile Work Environment”?

The Second Circuit last week in Troeger v. Ellenville Cent. School District (Summary Order) affirmed a trial court’s dismissal of plaintiff’s disability discrimination lawsuit brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Plaintiff claimed that his employer failed to accommodate his “disability” – here, a back injury. The ADA defines a “disability”, in pertinent part, as “a physical…

Read More Disability Discrimination Claim Dismissed; Restriction on “Lifting” Did Not “Substantially” Limit a “Major” Life Activity