Public Accommodation Discrimination Claims Dismissed in Case Against Macy’s Arising From Alleged Sale of “Used” Rolex

The facts of Quan v. Macy’s, No. 159450/2019, 2021 WL 4080215 (N.Y. Sup Ct, New York County Sep. 08, 2021) are fairly straightforward: Plaintiff alleges that he paid defendant over $20,000 for a Rolex watch, and thereafter learned that the watch was “used” and had non-Rolex parts.

Plaintiff sued. The court held that he sufficiently alleged claims for fraud, breach of contract, conversion and unjust enrichment.

However, the court dismissed plaintiff’s claims for public accommodation discrimination, based on national origin, in violation of the New York State Human Rights Law (N.Y. Executive Law § 296(2)(a)) and the New York City Human Rights Law (N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8-107(4)).

In his complaint, plaintiff alleged:

Upon information and belief, Defendant’s employees believed that they could represent to the Plaintiff that they were selling him a new, authentic Rolex watch with authentic Rolex parts, when in fact they were selling him an old, used watch with inauthentic parts for the price of a new authentic watch because Plaintiff would return to China and even if their deceit was discovered, Plaintiff would have no recourse.

The City Law provides, in pertinent part,

It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for any person who is the employee of any place or provider of public accommodation, because of any person’s actual or perceived national origin directly or indirectly to refuse, withhold from or deny to such person the full and equal enjoyment, on equal terms and conditions, of any of the accommodations, advantages, services, facilities or privileges of the place or provider of public accommodation. [Cleaned up.]

Applying the law, the court held that “as alleged, neither claim is actionable” since “[t]he complaint does not allege that defendant’s employee took advantage of plaintiff because of his perceived national origin, but because he was perceived to be from someplace far away and would not discover the alleged deceit until he was far away.”

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