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Supreme Court of New York, Kings County
October 16, 2008, Decided
[*179] [**522] Michael A. Ambrosio, J.
In this action, plaintiff Felix Rivera asserts causes of action for retaliatory and discriminatory discharge under the New York State Human Rights Law Executive Law § 296 et seq.) (NYSHRL) and the New York City Human Rights Law (Administrative Code of City of NY § 8-101 et seq.) (NYCHRL) against defendant Lutheran Medical Center (LMC) and Myles Davis, a vice-president of LMC. Plaintiff alleges he was terminated by LMC in February 2003 because of his "association" with Laura Byrnes, his sister-in-law, who sued LMC in 1999 claiming violation of her civil rights while an inpatient at LMC in July 1996. Byrnes settled her lawsuit with LMC in December 2001. Plaintiff claims retaliatory discharge based upon his involvement in the Byrnes lawsuit. Defendants now move pursuant to CPLR 3211 (a) (7) to dismiss plaintiff's retaliatory discharge claims under both the NYSHRL and the [****2] NYCHRL.
[*180] Plaintiff was an employee who worked at LMC as a housekeeper from approximately January 1993 to January [***2] 28, 2003 when he was suspended then subsequently terminated on February 3, 2003. Byrnes, plaintiff's deaf sister-in-law, was admitted to LMC on July 13, 1996 following an attempted suicide. According to Byrnes' complaint, LMC failed to provide her with a sign language interpreter in order to properly evaluate and treat her during her five-day inpatient stay at LMC. Plaintiff's wife, Irene Rivera, repeatedly told LMC to provide her sister with an interpreter but LMC never did. Plaintiff's wife confronted Davis about this issue at an LMC administrator's meeting but was told by Davis to "shut up and sit down" (complaint PP 19-20). Byrnes brought a civil rights lawsuit against LMC in 1999 which was settled for $ 200,000 in December 2001.
On January 28, 2003, plaintiff showed Evelyn Gracias, a worker at LMC, a sexually suggestive cartoon (complaint P 70). According to plaintiff, Gracias had previously brought erotic chocolates into the workplace and sold them at LMC. She also previously showed plaintiff similarly sexually suggestive materials and made sexually suggestive comments (complaint P 71). Plaintiff was terminated by LMC for "sexual harassment" because of his conduct with [***3] Gracias. Plaintiff claims no other LMC employee had been immediately terminated for claims of sexual harassment for similar incidents and that LMC failed to abide by its "progressive discipline" policy in meting out an appropriate sanction for what plaintiff claims was a minor transgression (complaint PP 79-92). According to plaintiff, other employees committed much more severe acts without being terminated (complaint P 104).
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22 Misc. 3d 178 *; 866 N.Y.S.2d 520 **; 2008 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 6060 ***; 2008 NY Slip Op 28406 ****; 240 N.Y.L.J. 83
[****1] Felix Rivera, Plaintiff, v Lutheran Medical Center et al., Defendants.
Subsequent History: Affirmed by, in part Rivera v Lutheran Med. Ctr., 73 AD3d 891, 899 NYS2d 859, 2010 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 4127 (N.Y. App. Div. 2d Dep't, May 11, 2010)
witnesses, employees, interviews, discovery, terminated, solicited, plaintiff's claim, documents, disqualified, lawsuit, asserts, nonparty witness, cause of action, former employee, retaliatory, sexually
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