June 2014

In Chinnery v. NYS Office of Children and Family Svcs, decided April 25, 2014, Southern District of New York Magistrate Judge Maas recommended that defendant OCFS be granted summary judgment on plaintiff’s disparate treatment, retaliation, and hostile work environment claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. While the court’s discussion of…

Read More Court Reiterates That “Mere Workplace Bullying” Unrelated to the Plaintiff’s Membership in a Protected Class Does Not Constitute a Hostile Work Environment
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In Brown v. Daikin America, the Second Circuit (in an opinion dated June 27, 2014) held that plaintiff sufficiently alleged that his direct employer and its Japanese parent engaged in national origin and race discrimination under Title VII and NYS Human Rights Law claims. While this decision arises in the context of defendants’ motion to…

Read More White American Plaintiff Successfully Pleads Race and National Origin Discrimination Claims Against His U.S. Employer and its Japanese Parent
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The New York State and City Human Rights Laws are powerful weapons in the civil rights plaintiff’s arsenal. For example, they reach a broader range of people, and offer broader coverage, than their federal counterparts. However, as illusratd by a recent First Department decision, Benham v. eCommission Solutions (decided June 24, 2014), they are limited…

Read More Citing Geographical Limitations of NY State and City Human Rights Laws, First Department Dismisses Plaintiff’s Employment Discrimination Complaint
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In Shields v. First Ave. Bldrs. LLC, the Appellate Division, First Department affirmed the denial of defendants’ motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s’ Labor Law § 241(6) claim. In this construction accident case: Plaintiff James Shields was cleaning a concrete pump, with the engine running, when a swing tube in the pump swivelled, severing his fingers.…

Read More Plaintiff Whose Fingers Were Severed While “Servicing” a Concrete Pump Survives Summary Judgment on Labor Law § 241(6) Claim
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In Petrone v. Hampton Bays Union Free School District (Summary Order dated May 28, 2014), the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff’s disability discrimination claim. This case illustrates that, in order to succeed on a federal disability discrimination claim – whether based on an “adverse action” or “failure to accommodate” theory – an employee must identify an…

Read More Teacher With Mental Illness Loses Disability Discrimination Case, Where Requested Accommodation (Unpaid Leave) Was Not “Reasonable” Absent Assurance of Return
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In Bethea v. City of New York (decided June 12, 2014), the Eastern District of New York held that plaintiff adequately pleaded sexual harassment and hostile work environment claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Plaintiff alleges that she was subjected to repeated sexual harassment by her co-worker, Sergeant Michelle Williams,…

Read More Police Officer Adequately Alleges Sexual Harassment, Hostile Work Environment, and Retaliation Claims
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In Morse v. JetBlue Airways Corp. decided June 9, 2014, the Eastern District of New York held that plaintiff’s receipt of Long Term Disability and Social Security Disability benefits precluded her from receiving back pay and front pay under the Americans With Disabilities Act and the New York State and City Human Rights Laws. (This decision addressed…

Read More Receipt of SSDI Benefits Precludes Disability Discrimination Plaintiff From Seeking Back Pay or Front Pay
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In Jerez v. Tishman Constr. Corp. of N.Y. (decided June 24, 2014), the Appellate Division, First Department held that plaintiff was entitled to summary judgment on his Labor Law § 240(1) claim: Plaintiff, a carpenter, made a prima facie showing of his entitlement to judgment as a matter of law on the issue of defendants’ liability under Labor Law…

Read More Falling Carpenter Entitled to Summary Judgment on Labor Law 240(1) Claim
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In Lane v. Franks, decided June 19, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court (per Justice Sotomayor) squarely held that the First Amendment protects a public employee who provides truthful sworn testimony, compelled by subpoena, outside the scope of his ordinary job responsibilities.  In upholding petitioner Lane’s retaliatory termination claim, the Court applied its precedents, including Pickering v. Bd.…

Read More SCOTUS Holds That Public Employee’s Sworn Testimony Was Protected by First Amendment
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In Del Gallo v. City of New York (decided June 17, 2014), a tragic personal injury case arising from death and injuries sustained from a falling Central Park tree branch (complaint here), the court ruled on plaintiffs’ motion for a protective order (under CPLR 3103) regarding certain discovery requests made by defendants. While the court discussed various items sought…

Read More Court Orders Limited Access to Plaintiff’s LinkedIn Account in Personal Injury Case
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