The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sweet, District Judge.
Defendants Montefiore Medical Center ("Montefiore") and Dr.
Michael Scimeca ("Scimeca") have moved for summary judgment
pursuant to Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
For the reasons set forth below the motion is granted with
respect to the federal cause of action, and jurisdiction of the
four pendent state claims is declined.
Montefiore is a voluntary, not for profit, acute care
hospital with a contract with the New York City (the "City")
Department of Health and Department of Corrections ("DOC") to
provide medical and mental health care services to prisoners on
Scimeca was hired as the Director of Mental Health at
Montefiore-Rikers Island and became Porras' immediate
supervisor on February 16, 1988. Scimeca is responsible for the
delivery of mental health services at Rikers and supervises the
performance of approximately eight Unit Chiefs, each one of
whom oversees the delivery of services to inmates in a
particular building. Scimeca reports directly to Charles
Braslow, M.D. ("Braslow"), the Program Director at Montefiore.
Plaintiff Petra Porras ("Porras") is a 47-year old woman who
commenced employment with Montefiore on or about April 22, 1985
where she was Unit Chief for Mental Health Services in building
C-76 ("C-76"), the Correctional Institution For Men ("CIFM") on
Rikers Island until her separation from employment on May 25,
1988. As Unit Chief for C-76 she was responsible for the
delivery of mental health services for approximately 2,500
On or about July 12, 1988 Porras filed a charge with the
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") in which she
stated that she had been the subject of retaliation for
refusing to side with the Montefiore administration on issues
surrounding riots at Rikers Island, and further that beginning
in 1987 she was intimidated and harassed. She also alleged sex
and age discrimination. After an investigation, the EEOC issued
a finding of no probable cause, and on June 19, 1989 Porras
received her right to sue letter. On May 16, 1989 Porras filed
summonses with both the Clerk of the Court for Queens and the
Bronx, the respective counties of both Montefiore and the
Rikers Island Clinic. Porras filed her complaint in this court
on June 14, 1989 alleging five causes of action: sex
discrimination under the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964; a
parallel state discriminatory cause of action under the New
York State Executive Law; assault for the May 19, 1988 meeting
with Scimeca; a violation of the personnel policies as to
separation for cause; and a similarly pled cause of action
under the employee manual for violation of the grievance
procedures and other terms and conditions of employment.
Montefiore's motion for summary judgment on all counts was
heard on March 23, 1990 and considered fully submitted as of
Porras' Employment History
The Manual was updated, modified and revised continually. The
Forward to the Manual states that it is intended as a guide and
is not meant to provide the final answer for every problem that
may arise. Further, the Forward provides that the Manual should
never be used as a substitute for good judgment. Porras'
employment application does not contain any language which
expressly limits the condition under which her employment may
be terminated. Porras contends that the employee manual
contained commitments to her that she would be fired only for
just cause and that there would be progressive discipline and
a fair and equitable grievance procedure.
As a Unit Chief, Porras worked directly under Dr. Michael
Gordon ("Gordon"), a board certified psychiatrist, who was then
head of the clinic. Richard Schmit, a psychiatric social worker
in another building, was included among the other Unit Chiefs
who worked with Porras.
Porras' hiring coincided with the first year of operation of
the Montefiore program at Rikers. The clinic was reviewed as
part of the conditions for Montefiore's 21 million dollar
contract with the City to supply health care services. The
review of the program, including Porras' house and her
programs, "was nothing short of glowing." The entire program
was found to be excellent, and it was held up as a national
example of a mental health clinic in a prison setting.
Gordon's review of Porras after her first year indicated that
Porras' performance was outstanding. Porras received an all-A
rating. In his comments under summary performance Gordon
stated: "Ms. Porras has done an extraordinary job in requiring
for and setting up a mental health program for a difficult
population in a problematic multi-faceted setting. Her
dedication and her resourcefulness are a model for all staff."
Porras received a ten percent pay increase.
In or about October 1986, Porras became aware of allegations
of correctional personnel brutality at Rikers Island. Many of
these allegations came from the patients she served, and many
allegations came as an outgrowth of the rioting that occurred
on the Island in 1987. Porras spoke with Gordon and Dr. Grace
("Grace") a psychiatrist working in her unit in the fall of
1986 and indicated her sympathy and support for having the
issue of brutality on the Island addressed. In October of 1986
Gordon contacted the United States Attorney's Office in the
Southern District of New York to discuss the allegations of
severe brutality. Schmit, also disturbed by the brutality,
contacted the investigator of Rikers Island and then spoke with
an AUSA. Porras allegedly at all times indicated her sympathy
and willingness to testify.
In October of 1986 the Montefiore administration discovered
Gordon and Schmit's testimony and reporting of brutality.
Gordon was contacted and told not to assist in the
investigation and that he had violated the rules and had
jeopardized Montefiore's contract with the City. Siegal, his
deputy, allegedly told him he could not be trusted. According
to Porras, similar messages allegedly were conveyed to Porras
According to Porras, Porras, like Gordon, was isolated and
became the victim of a barrage of harassment by Siegal and
Diana Torres, the Director of Human Resources. Porras spoke to
Braslow about Siegal's threats and Braslow indicated he would
investigate the situation but nothing allegedly changed. Porras
began to get memos concerning problems with DOC although her
relationship with the DOC was previously excellent. Gordon,
isolated and cognizant that his job was in jeopardy, resigned.
Schmit was also allegedly threatened, harassed and told by
Siegal that he was not going to be trusted. Schmit was also
told by Siegal that Porras was not to be trusted that she was
disloyal and that she, Siegal, was going to get Porras fired.
In early 1987 Porras alleges that she began to experience
intense harassment by Siegal. Allegedly, Siegal would
constantly yell at Porras, refuse to return her telephone calls
and refuse to assist Porras as a Unit Chief. Siegal requested
that Porras side with Montefiore on the issue of the brutality
charges and when Porras refused, Siegal allegedly indicated she