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LOGAN v. ST. LUKE'S-ROOSEVELT HOSP. CTR.

May 20, 1986

ELLA LOGAN, Plaintiff,
v.
ST. LUKE'S-ROOSEVELT HOSPITAL CENTER and DR. RITA FRANZESE, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SWEET

SWEET, D.J.

Plaintiff Ella Logan, who is proceeding pro se, has filed this civil rights action pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq1 ("Title VII"), the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, *fn2" ("section 1981"), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 621 *fn3" et seq ("ADEA"), the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq ("ERISA"), and several common-law contract claims, contending that the termination of her employment was motivated by race and age discrimination. Logan is black and was born on August l, 1935. Defendants St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center (the "Hospital" and Dr. Rita Franzese ("Franzese" have moved for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56, Fed.R.Civ.P. contending that no material issue of fact is disputed, and that defendants are entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law. For the reasons set forth below, the Hospital's motion is granted, as Logan has failed to show that her termination had a discriminatory purpose or basis.

 Prior Proceedings

 Logan filed this action on April 16, 1984 and filed her amended complaint on May 3, 1984, alleging the above-enumerated statutory civil rights and ERISA violations and claims against the Hospital based on New York State breach of contract law and estoppel principles. At the close of discovery, this court issued an order permitting the defendants to move for summary judgment by January 26, 1986. The motion was taken on submission of the parties on March 14, 1986. On January 14, 1986, Logan's counsel moved to be relieved from the case, stating that Logan could not prove the allegations in the amended complaint and that she had refused a "reasonable" settlement offer against the advice of counsel.

 Facts

 Logan's employment history with St. Luke's emerges from the voluminous deposition testimony and exhibits which the Hospital has submitted in connection with its summary judgment motion. On June 28, 1965, Logan was hired as a "Charge Dietician" or "Head Dietician" at St. Luke's Hospital, prior to its merger with Roosevelt Hospital in 1979. In her deposition, Logan stated that she applied for employment at St. Luke's to enhance her career by working at a private hospital with an outstanding reputation. She applied for no other positions at that time and prior to accepting this position and saw no personnel manuals produced by the Hospital before accepting the job.

 The Food Service Department, whose name was changed in 1985 to the Department of Food and Nutrition Services, consisted of a Director of Food Services and an Assistant Director of Food Services who supervised two kitchens, the "Main Kitchen" and the "Women's Kitchen," each with a Food Production Manager. At the same managerial level was a Chief Theraputic Dietician, a Cafeteria Manager, and a Storeroom Supervisor who also reported to the Assistant Director and Director of Food Services. Between 1965 and 1982, Logan's title changed from Charge or Head Dietician in 1965, to Administrative Dietician in 1967, to Food Production Manager of the Women's Kitchen in 1973.

 In her capacity as Food Production Manager, Logan reported to Mr. Robert Nelson ("Nelson", the former Director of Food Service. While Logan received some positive reports on her job performance from Nelson and others during this time (Exhibit 2, plaintiff's opposition), Nelson criticized and warned Logan about her poor job performance and commented about her "problem in maintaining a good working relationship with departmental office" and her need for improvement in personnel relationships." The Hospital has also documented several instances when Logan was cited for failure to perform certain duties. Logan responded to these criticisms in a memorandum of July 27, 1975 expressing her disagreement with Nelson's evaluation. Although the Hospital has produced surveys from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals "JCAH" and the New York State Department of Health ("DOH" and internal hospital audits which show that the Women's Kitchen was cited for several New York State Health Code and JCAH violations while under Logan's management, the Hospital has not produced evidence of the records of other departments during this period.

 In 1975, Logan filed race and sex discrimination charges against Nelson and the Hospital with the New York State Division of Human Rights ("SDHR" and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), claiming that her failure to be awarded position of Assistant Director of Food Services was discriminatory. When both agencies found no probable cause to believe that Logan's discrimination claims were valid, Logan filed a complaint in this court pursuant to Title Vll and section 1981 which culminated in a bench trial where the Honorable Lloyd F. MacMahon concluded that neither the Hospital nor Nelson had discriminated against Logan. Logan v. St. Luke's Hospital Center, 428 F. Supp. 127 (S.D.N.Y. 1977).

 On December 20, 1981, Logan was asked to assume the position of Acting Food Production Manager in the Main Kitchen, a post which increased her salary by $2,000.00 annually. On February 15, 1982, Franzese, a white woman born on February 11, 1947, replaced Nelson as Director of Food Services. When Franzese assumed the directorship of food services, Logan had received only $1,000 of the $2,000 which she had been promised in exchange for taking the job as Acting Food Production Manager. After investigating Logan's entitlement to the additional money, the $1,000 was paid to Logan and was made retroactive to December 20, 1981.

 At the outset of Franzese's tenure, she sent a series of memoranda to Logan concerning missed deadlines, failure to complete certain duties, and certain unsanitary conditions in the Main Kitchen under her supervision. Pursuant to the Hospital Personnel Department's evaluation procedures, which provide that employees assuming a new position should be evaluated approximately three months after assuming the new position, Franzese gave Logan a performance appraisal on June 29, 1982. While Logan contends that the initiation of this performance evaluation was itself discriminatory, a similar evaluation of two other managerial employees, Brigid Connelly, (white), Acting Food Producing Manager in the Women's Kitchen and Bruce Heath (white), Assistant Director of Food Services, was undertaken approximately four months after their assumption of new posts. Franzese concluded that Logan's performance was "marginal" and that she needed to improve her time management, her communication with employees and her delelation of responsibility. Franzese instructed Logan to concentrate on eliminating all health code violations, and annexed a list of twenty-five incomplete assignments to this evaluation. Logan responded to this negative evaluation in a memorandum which detailed Logan's view that Franzese's supervision was uncooperative and that Franzese was undermining her authority.

 Pursuant to the Hospital's personnel policies, Logan was permitted to read but not receive a copy of such performance evaluations. Performance evaluations are not subject to the Hospital's grievance procedures, however, Franzese discussed her evaluation with Logan on July 29, 1982 and again on August 2, 1982 with Elaine Yastrab, Assistant Vice President for Support Services. Logan contends in her opposition papers that this refusal to give her a copy of the performance evaluation was a new policy aimed at preventing her from preparing a rebuttal to the evaluation, however, she offers no evidence to substantiate her belief that she was the "target" of such a policy or that it was applied in a discriminatory manner. Neither Brigid Connolly nor Bruce Heath received a copy of his performance evaluations during this period.

 The Hospital has also documented Main Kitchen employees and union representative complaints about Logan's treatment of Main Kitchen employees. Of the fifteen employees whose participation in these grievance sessions was recorded, eleven are black and four are Hispanic. The complaints concerned, inter alia, Logan's lack of respect for her subordinates, her harassing tone of voice, improperly ordered food and attendant delays in patient service and inefficiencies in the running of the kitchen. Logan claims that Franzese solicited these complaints from employees, but has no substantiation for this belief.

 On July 28, 1982, Franzese and Logan conducted a "quality assurance audit" of the Main Kitchen pursuant to the Hospital's internal audit system designed to monitor compliance with JCAH and Health Code standards. Franzese gave Logan a 40% sanitation score, remarking that "the poor sanitary conditions have not significantly improved, . . ." and "our patient's [sic] health is seriously jeopardized." Logan disputes Franzese's method of computing that score and charges that Franzese deflated her performance to discredit her.

 On August 6, 1982, Franzese informed Logan that in light of her failure to respond to Franzese's improvement suggestions in the June 29, 1982 evaluation, and in view of her poor quality assurance audit performance, Logan was required to correct all deficiencies uncovered in the audit by October l, 1982 (one month prior to the JCAH survey), or assume the job of Dietician for the Outpatient Clinic or Procurement Manager of Purchasing, Stores, and Issuing. Logan chose the position Of Procurement manager, which she assumed on September 14, 1982, a post which included managing the food storeroom and ordering food supplies for the two hospital kitchens. Franzese and several storeroom employees had similar complaints about Logan's management of the storeroom. Franzese has documented reminders which she sent to Logan concerning overdue assignments, her failure to follow competitive bidding procedures and her general failure to efficiently schedule delivery of food to the two kitchens.

 Franzese's most strident criticism of Logan "concerned two incidents, one in which Logan failed to complete a "Disaster Plan" prior to the JCAH survey in November, 1982, and one in which Logan was reprimanded with an insubordination warning by Franzese for failing to report to work at 6:00 a.m. during the vacation of Mr. Lessie Cephus, the Storeroom Supervisor who usually opened the area in the morning. Logan's opposition papers take issue with each of these criticisms, as she contends that she was entitled to delegate another employee to arrive at 6:00 a.m., that Franzese's failure to cooperate with her requirements made it impossible to complete the Disaster Plan, and that her inventory management and bid solicitations were correct under the prevailing procedures.

 On January 10, 1983, Franzese again evaluated Logan's performance and decided to terminate Logan's employment on April 8, 1983, giving Logan three months to find another job. Franzese also offered Logan the option of resigning rather than being fired, but Logan declined. During the three months between her notice and termination, Logan was assigned to special projects in the Food Service Department which Franzese also claims were performed unsatisfactorily. Logan filed extensive comments in response to Franzese's final negative evaluation and termination decision, annexed as Exhibit l to Logan's opposition papers. Although this thirty-five page document, plus attachments, challenged Franzese's memoranda as inaccurate, contradictory, and exaggerated distortions of facts, the entire document makes no mention of any discrimination based on race or age. Logan concluded that Franzese's termination was based on false charges, and that she was being used as a scapegoat" for the problems existing in the Food Service Department.

 After her termination, Logan filed a grievance with the Personnel Department challenging the grounds for her termination. Ms. Janice McKelvey ("McKelvey"), Assistant Vice President for Human Resources, reviewed Logan's explanation for her negative performance reports and her complaints about Franzese's management. A hearing was held in McKelvey's office on April 18, 1983, where Logan was given the opportunity to submit additional evidence in support of her claim. ...


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