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LUCIDO v. CRAVATH

January 13, 1977

John Anthony Lucido, Plaintiff
v.
Cravath, Swaine & Moore, Defendant


Gagliardi, D.J.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: GAGLIARDI

GAGLIARDI, D.J.:

The plaintiff, John Anthony Lucido, is a lawyer who was employed by the defendant law firm, Cravath, Swaine & Moore ("Cravath"), as an associate attorney. Plaintiff alleges that he was unlawfully discriminated against as an employee of the defendant and that his employment was unlawfully terminated because of his national origin or religion or both. His complaint asserts two causes of action. Count I charges the defendant with violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq. ("Title VII" and "the Act"). Count II charges the defendant with breach of an employment contract with the plaintiff. Jurisdiction is asserted under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1343(4) and 1332.

 Cravath moves, pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6), Fed. R. Civ. P., to dismiss Count I of the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Defendant also moves, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), Fed. R. Civ. P., to dismiss Count II of the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. *fn1" For the reasons stated herein, the court denies defendant's motion to dismiss.

 Plaintiff is a New Jersey resident of Italian ancestry and a Catholic. He was employed in the litigation department of the defendant from July 19, 1965 until March 13, 1973. Defendant is a law firm organized as a partnership under New York law, N.Y. Partnership Law §§ 1 et seq. (McKinney's 1948), with its principal place of business in New York City. *fn2"

 Lucido commenced suit in this court on December 19, 1975. Prior to bringing this suit, he filed complaints with the New York City Commission on Human Rights and the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on June 14, 1973. On September 22, 1975, pursuant to plaintiff's request, the EEOC issued a right-to-sue letter, and this suit was timely commenced thereafter. Plaintiff therefore has complied with the exhaustion requirements of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5.

 In considering defendant's motions to dismiss, this court must accept the well-pleaded material allegations of the complaint as true. The court, of course, is not passing upon the merits of whether plaintiff was treated fairly in his employment, nor is it considering the matter of discovery or the nature of the remedy should plaintiff prevail in his suit on the merits.

 Count I of the complaint, the cause of action brought under the Civil Rights Act, should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears to a certainty that the plaintiff would not be entitled to recover under any state of facts which could be proved in support of his claim. Holmes v. New York City Housing Authority, 398 F.2d 262, 265 (2d Cir. 1968); see Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80, 78 S. Ct. 99 (1957); 2A Moore's Federal Practice para. 12.08 at 2271-74 (2d ed. 1975).

 The purpose of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is to eliminate discrimination in employment based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. House Judiciary Comm. Report No. 914, 88th Cong., 1st Sess. 26 (1963), as amended. The courts have accorded a liberal interpretation to Title VII in order to effectuate this Congressional purpose. See Franks v. Bowman Transportation Co., Inc., 424 U.S. 747, 47 L. Ed. 2d 444, 96 S. Ct. 1251 (1976); Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424, 429-30, 28 L. Ed. 2d 158, 91 S. Ct. 849 (1971); Rogers v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 454 F.2d 234, 238 (5th Cir. 1971), cert. denied, 406 U.S. 957, 92 S. Ct. 2058, 32 L. Ed. 2d 343 (1972). Congress clearly included in the objectives of Title VII the elimination of job discrimination in professional fields including law and medicine. *fn3" Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Rinella & Rinella, 401 F. Supp. 175, 179-80 (N.D. Ill. 1975); Kohn v. Royall, Koegel & Wells, 59 F.R.D. 515 (S.D.N.Y. 1973), appeal dismissed, 496 F.2d 1094 (2d Cir. 1974).

 The key provision of Title VII for the consideration of Cravath's motion to dismiss is Section 703(a) of the Act, which provides that:

 
It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer --
 
(1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; or
 
(2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)

 This language indicates a Congressional intent to define discrimination in the broadest possible terms and to include the entire scope of the working environment within the Act's protective ambit. Rogers v. EEOC, supra at 238; see Weise v. Syracuse University, 522 F.2d 397, 409-410 (2d Cir. 1975); Sibley Memorial Hospital v. Wilson, 160 U.S. App. D.C. 14, 488 F.2d 1338, 1341 (1973); Puntolillo v. New Hampshire Racing Commission, 375 F. Supp. 1089, 1091-92 (D.N.H. 1974).

 Under the definitional provisions of Title VII, Cravath concededly qualifies as an "employer" within the meaning of the Act. An employer under Section 701(b) of the Act means "a person engaged in an industry affecting commerce who has fifteen or more employees . . ." *fn4" 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(b). Under Section 701(a) of the Act, "[the] term 'person' includes . .. partnerships . . ." 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(a). Cravath as a partnership with over 400 legal and ...


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