Court Dismisses Abner Louima Officer’s Conviction Discrimination Complaint Against ConEd

In Schwarz v. Consolidated Edison, Inc., 2015 NY Slip Op 25258 (Sup. Ct. NY Cty. Aug. 3, 2015), the court dismissed the discrimination complaint brought by Charles Schwartz against Con Edison under CPLR 3211(a)(7) for failure to state a claim.

Mr. Schwartz – one of the police officers involved with the Abner Louima case (and who was convicted of perjury in connection with the case) – alleged that ConEd terminated him in violation of New York State Human Rights Law (Executive Law § 296(15)) and New York City Human Rights Law (Administrative Code § 8-107(10)(a)) prohibiting discrimination based on a prior conviction.

The court explained:

As acknowledged by plaintiff, the legislature sought to address the stigmatizing effect criminal convictions have on ex-convicts. Under the facts as alleged however, the stigma attached to plaintiff does not arise from any “conviction.” No facts are alleged that ConEd terminated him because of his perjury conviction or because of ConEd’s knowledge or discovery that plaintiff was once found guilty of assault or conspiracy related to the assault of Louima. A liberal reading of the complaint and amended complaint indicates that ConEd’s termination was based on plaintiff’s reputational effect on the workplace and on potential customers due to his association with the brutal treatment of Louima while in police custody, regardless of any “conviction.” In other words, the perjury conviction in and of itself was not the basis of his termination. And there are no facts indicating that the vacated convictions, even if considered a conviction (again, which this Court does not so consider), was discovered and served as a basis for plaintiff’s termination.

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