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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

In Malik v. American International Group, Inc., the Supreme Court, Queens County denied defendants’ summary judgment motions regarding a number of plaintiff’s claims, including sexual harassment (quid pro quo and hostile work environment), race discrimination, and disability discrimination under the New York State Human Rights Law. Time Bar and Continuing Violation Doctrine Defendants argued that plaintiff’s claims…

Read More Issues of Fact Preclude Summary Judgment for Defendant on Sex, Race, and Disability Discrimination Claims

The New York State Division of Human Rights recently awarded substantial damages to a corrections officer who alleged that she suffered a hostile work environment and that her supervisor turned a blind eye to what was going on. The recommended findings of fact, opinion and decision, and order in Lora Abbott Seabury v. Rensselaer County et…

Read More Supervisor’s Inaction Leads to Substantial Award for Victim of Sexual Harassment

Last week in Kelly v. Howard I. Shapiro & Associates Consulting Engineers, P.C. the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff’s retaliation claims.  The facts, however, are not quite typical: [Plaintiff] quit her job as a human resources manager at her family business after complaining about an affair that one of her brothers, a vice president…

Read More Second Circuit Rejects “Sexual Favoritism” Claim And Clarifies The “Objectively Reasonable Belief” Element Of Retaliation