The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert P. Patterson, Jr., District Judge.
Plaintiff, a black woman, brings this action alleging
discrimination on the basis of race in violation of Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and
alleging various state law violations including breach of
contract, tortious inference with contract, negligent
infliction of emotional distress and defamation. Defendant has
moved to dismiss the complaint in its entirety or for summary
judgment on all counts pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. Plaintiff
cross-moved for an order compelling discovery pursuant to Rule
37*fn1 or, in the alternative, for a continuance of
defendant's motion under Rule 56(f). For the reasons set forth
below, defendant's motion is granted in part, denied in part
and continued in part. Plaintiff is granted a 60-day
continuance in order to conduct limited discovery relating to
her Title VII claim.
It is undisputed that Lucy Carter ("Carter"), a 55-year old
black woman, was first hired by AT & T Communications ("AT &
T") in May 1957 and from 1972 to 1984 held the position of
Group Manager in an AT & T Traffic Service Position System
("TSPS") office in New York City. See Def. Rule 3(g) Stmt. ¶
1-2; Pl. Rule 3(g) Stmt. at 4. It is similarly undisputed that
plaintiff was never formally terminated by AT & T; rather, on
June 7, 1987 plaintiff accepted a new position at New York
Telephone. Id. Although the facts and events beginning in 1984
and culminating in plaintiff's transfer in 1987 are in dispute,
the parties' respective contentions can be easily summarized.
AT & T engages in an annual management appraisal process
through which managers are given annual performance ratings.
Moccia Aff. filed July 20, 1990 ¶ 6. The Office Manager
typically completes the appraisal and recommends a performance
rating which is subject to approval by the District Manager for
that office. Id. For
the year ending on November 30, 1984, Delores Thompson
("Thompson"), plaintiff's Office Manager, recommended a rating
of "G" or "Good" for plaintiff's work. Id. ¶ 7. The District
Manager, Thomas Mullen ("Mullen"), changed plaintiff's rating
from the "G" Thompson had recommended to a "G-", a rating which
is deemed less than satisfactory by AT & T. Id. ¶¶ 7-8 & Exh.
A. Under company policy, a G- rating requires that the employee
be placed on a six-month performance development plan with a
new performance evaluation to be performed after six months.
Plaintiff was placed on such a six-month plan, although the
exact beginning date of that period is unclear from the
In January 1985, Richard Moccia ("Moccia") replaced Delores
Thompson as Office Manager of the TSPS office where plaintiff
worked. Moccia Aff. ¶ 4. In June 1985, near the end of the
six-month performance development period, Moccia conducted a
review of plaintiff's records including the Operator
Observation Records she regularly prepared. Id. ¶ 10. He
alleges that he detected at least 30 incorrect false entries
for the preceding six months by comparing plaintiff's operator
observances with payroll time reports for operators in the
group she managed. Id. ¶ 11. Several of the discrepancies
involved instances where Moccia concluded that Carter had
entered operator observations at a time when either Carter or
the operator was not at work. Id. ¶ 13 & Exh. B. Moccia
interviewed several operators who confirmed to him that no
observations had been made on the dates recorded by plaintiff.
Id. ¶ 12.
Moccia claims that he and Acting District Manager David
McGuffey ("McGuffey") confronted Carter with the discrepancies,
informed her that her actions were in violation of AT & T's
Code of Conduct requiring accurate recordkeeping and gave her
the opportunity to explain which they state she was unable to
do. Id. ¶¶ 15, 17 & Exh. C.
On June 18, 1985, plaintiff was demoted to the position of
Operator, a non-management position at the level where
plaintiff had last performed satisfactorily. Id. ¶¶ 16, 18.
Plaintiff's position as Group Manager was thereafter filled by
a black female. Id. ¶ 20. In June 1985, seven of the nine Group
Managers in the office in which plaintiff worked were black.
Id. ¶ 19. AT & T alleges that plaintiff was an at-will employee
and that under the employee policies in force in 1984-85, cause
was not required to demote supervisory employees. Gonzales Aff.
In opposition to defendant's motion, plaintiff alleges that
in December 1984 Thompson informed her that her performance
appraisal rating for the year would be a G and that Division
Manager Charles Herman thereafter assured plaintiff that the G
rating would not be changed. Carter Aff. ¶¶ 6, 11. Plaintiff
denies that any discrepancies ever existed with respect to her
work. Id. ¶ 13. Plaintiff claims that she was never told that a
further six-month performance appraisal would be performed
after she received the G- rating. Id. ¶ 18. Plaintiff asserts
that unlike white employees, she was not given adequate time to
disprove the discrepancies Moccia had detected, that her
personal log book was "confiscated" while she was on vacation
in June 1985 making it impossible for her to respond to the
accusations and that Moccia refused her request to stay at her
desk after her scheduled work hours in order to review her
records. Id. ¶¶ 14-16, 19. Finally, plaintiff names three AT
& T supervisors who she states told her that no demotion would
occur without just cause. Id. ¶ 26.
On March 9, 1988 DHR held a fact-finding conference in which
Thompson, Moccia, Mullen, McGuffy, Michael R. Dacey, an
attorney for AT & T, and plaintiff participated. Id., Exh. C.
On September 29, 1988 DHR issued a finding of no probable
cause. Id., Exh. E. On September 30, 1988, after reviewing
DHR's findings, EEOC found that plaintiff's demotion "was
unrelated to unlawful discrimination based on age, race and
color" and dismissed her EEOC complaint. Id., Exh. F at 2. On
June 2, 1989 EEOC issued plaintiff a Right-to-Sue letter. Id.,
Exh. G. Plaintiff filed her complaint in this action on
September 5, 1989. AT & T filed its answer on December 15,
The original discovery cutoff date was May 11, 1990. On May
2, 1990 plaintiff in writing requested an extension. On May 8,
1990 the Court granted plaintiff a two-month extension for
discovery, from May 11, 1990 to July 11, 1990, with the
pretrial order due July 24, 1990 and final pretrial conference
to be held July 30, 1990.
Plaintiff conducted limited discovery. Plaintiff's First Set
of Interrogatories and First Request for Production of
Documents was dated July 2, 1990. Carter Aff., Exh. A.*fn3
By letter dated July 10, 1990, plaintiff requested another
extension of discovery. On July 11, 1990 the Court denied
plaintiff's request. On August 3, 1990 after the close of
discovery, AT & T served its responses to plaintiff's July 2
interrogatories and document requests. Carter Aff., Exh. 3.
Defendant objected to Interrogatory Nos. 1, 3-6, 9 and 11 which
requested inter alia the identity of persons involved in giving
plaintiff a G- rating, all guidelines regarding employee
appraisals both within AT & T and in the industry in general,
documents and facts pertaining to administrative or other
hearings regarding the ...