In Naramore v. Mount Sinai Health Sys. Inc., 2022 NY Slip Op 03479 (N.Y. App. Div. 1 Dept. May 31, 2022), a gender discrimination case, the court addressed an issue that frequently arises in litigation, namely, the scope of discovery to which the parties are entitled.
In employment discrimination cases, a plaintiff will often attempt to obtain information regarding the defendant employer’s investigation and litigation of claims of similar types of discrimination.
Here, the court holds that plaintiff is entitled to this information, yet not to the extent requested. In reaching this conclusion, the court applies New York Civil Practice Law and Rules 3101, which lays out the “general rule” regarding the scope of pretrial discovery.
The lower court had granted plaintiff’s motion to compel responses to two requests:
- # 34: “records relating to investigation of gender based discrimination since 2015-2019 at the hospital at issue”
- #35: “records relating to lawsuits [alleging] gender based discrimination since 2015-2019 at the hospital at issue.
The First Department unanimously modified that order “to further limit discovery to production of records relating to investigations and lawsuits involving the IT Department of defendant Mount Sinai, defendants Kraatz and Chatani, and Paul Gerstenberger.”
CPLR 3101 calls for the full disclosure of all evidence material and necessary in the prosecution or defense of an action. Plaintiff alleges gender discrimination, including disparate pay and treatment in violation of the New York City Human Rights Law that resulted in her termination from her position in Mount Sinai’s IT Department. On review of the complaint, plaintiff’s allegations focus on discriminatory behavior of defendants Kraatz and Chatani, as supervisors in the IT Department, and on one occasion, nonparty Gerstenberger, a recruiter. Plaintiff has failed to show that broader discovery of all investigations and litigation concerning gender discrimination throughout the 10 hospitals within Mount Sinai is warranted and therefore the scope of discovery is limited as indicated to those related to the IT Division of Mount Sinai, the individual defendants and Gerstenberg. [Cleaned up.]
It should be noted that the extent to which discovery is compelled (or, in this case, limited) is a highly fact-specific inquiry, and will likely vary from case to case.