The opinion of the court was delivered by: Korman, District Judge.
Plaintiff, Estelle Manzi, worked in the district office of
State Senator Robert DiCarlo from November 1993 until February
1995, when she was dismissed at the age of 61. She claims that
she was harassed and fired because of her age and because she
suffered from arthritis. Manzi was originally hired as a
case-specialist by New York State Senator Christopher Mega in
November 1992. (Manzi Dep. at 7). She obtained this patronage
position through the help of defendant, Robert DiCarlo. (Manzi
Dep. at 23 ("Q. How did you obtain a position in Senator Mega's
office? A. . . . Robert DiCarlo was nice enough to get me the
position.")). At the time, Manzi was 59 years old. (Sloan Aff. ¶
17 & Exhibit E). Her employment was renewed under Senator Mega's
"appointing authority" from January 1, 1993 through December 31,
1994. (Id.). In the summer of 1993, however, Senator Mega
resigned to become a judge of the New York State Court of Claims.
(DiCarlo Aff. ¶ 5). In 1993, DiCarlo was elected to fill Senator
DiCarlo "inherited" Senator Mega's staff. (DiCarlo Aff. ¶ 7;
Sloan Aff. ¶ 18). Defendant Clorinda Annarummo became DiCarlo's
Chief of Staff. In this role, Annarummo had hiring and firing
authority and participated in DiCarlo's hiring and firing
decisions. (Manzi Dep. at 28-29, 118-19, 218-19; DiCarlo Dep. at
30-36). Together with Annarummo, Charisse Renzi, who is not a
party to this case, supervised Manzi's work. In December 1993,
Manzi became Scheduling Coordinator. (Manzi Dep. at 60-61,
65-66). Her work performance was satisfactory. (Id. at 43). In
January 1994, Senator DiCarlo was given a staffing allocation and
recommended employment of the majority of Senator Mega's staff,
including Manzi, from January 27, 1994 to December 31, 1994.
Manzi was promoted and given a salary increase under Senator
DiCarlo's appointing authority. (DiCarlo Aff. ¶ 9, Sloan Aff. ¶
I. Manzi's Alleged Disability
In August of 1992, Manzi had been diagnosed with arthritis at
the joints of both thumbs. (Defendants' Exhibit P (Manzi's
medical records)). She did not see her doctor again until early
1994, when she filed a Worker's Compensation Claim, complaining
of pain in both thumbs, allegedly aggravated by typing.
(Defendants' Exhibits P & O (Manzi's Worker's Compensation)). At
that time, upon the advice of her doctor, Manzi began wearing a
soft cast on her hand to alleviate the pain from her arthritis.
(Manzi Aff. ¶ 4). She was supposed to wear the cast as much as
possible, but she had to remove it to type. (Id.). Manzi did
not see her doctor again until February 27, 1995, five days after
her termination, and approximately the same time that she
consulted her attorney regarding this lawsuit. (Defendants'
Exhibit P; Manzi Dep. at 69).
Despite her arthritis, Manzi was able to perform all of her
tasks including typing. (Manzi Dep. at 112). As she alleged in
her affidavit filed here, "[w]hile working for State Senator
DiCarlo, I was able to perform all of my essential duties,"
except for an unusual filing project necessitated by the
relocation of the Senator's district office. (Annarummo Aff. ¶¶
11-12; Manzi Dep. at 112, 200-04). The project involved lifting
and filing 15,000 to 16,000 files that were "tightly packed" in a
cabinet. (Manzi Dep. at 66). The filing project caused Manzi
considerable pain because she had "great difficulty grasping and
pulling things and the files were tightly wedged." (Manzi Aff. ¶
5; see also Manzi Dep. at 66-67 ("I could not physically do it.
I have a problem lifting things. I can't carry things.")). This
project, which occurred at the end of 1994, was the first time
she had communicated any limitation in her manual dexterity or
her ability to work. As she testified at her deposition:
Q. You never discussed with Clorinda Annarummo what
jobs you could perform in the office and what jobs
you could not perform in the office because of your
disability; is that correct?
A. That's correct, because basically I could perform.
I could type. I didn't have any problem with
anything, except I can't lift things.
(Manzi Dep. at 112). Nor did she provide medical documentation
regarding her disability to any of the defendants. (Manzi Dep. at
When DiCarlo first saw Mrs. Manzi wearing her cast, he
allegedly referred to her as a "cripple." (Manzi Dep. at 35-41,
61-62; Davis Dep. at 86 ("wow, now I have cripples here as
well"); Renzi Dep. I at 100 ("We have all invalids here.")). From
time to time, DiCarlo made other comments about various employees
"getting on in years" and "being too old for the job," being
"over the hill,"and being "old fogeys." He also spoke of the need
for "young guns" and "young blood," commented about seniors
"thinking we owe them a living" and "having more money than we
do," and stated that he did not feel sorry for them. (Manzi Dep.
at 35, 38-41, 101-03, 113-18, 209-11, 263; Davis Dep. at 19-20,
79-90 ("young blood"; "they think the world owes them a living";
"seniors have more money than us, don't feel sorry for them");
Renzi Dep. I at 99-103 ("young blood"; "invalid" comment); Renzi
Dep. II at 127-29 ("young blood" comment heard "once or twice")).
At one point DiCarlo allegedly told Manzi, "I want to fire Faye
[Davis] because she is getting on. She doesn't have patience."
(Manzi Dep. at 101).
Defendant Annarummo also made derogatory comments about the
older employees in the office. She complained about Lucille
Griffin walking too slowly and looking old. Griffin was fired
shortly thereafter. Annarummo also described Austen Canade as
"over the hill," and Eugene Russo as "stale" and "old." (Manzi
Dep. at 233-35; Davis Dep. at 21). (Canade and Russo were still
employed at the office in 1996. (Defendants' Mem., Addendum 2)).
In addition, she made remarks about needing young people with
more energy. (Manzi Dep. at 115-18, 233-35;
Davis Dep. at 20-22; Renzi Dep. II. at 63-65).
Manzi claims that, beginning in 1994, she was subjected to
continual harassment and disparate treatment by DiCarlo and
Annarummo beyond the alleged age related comments. First, she was
denied training as Scheduling Coordinator. (Manzi Dep. at 52-54,
185; Renzi Dep. I at 13-15; but see Annarummo Aff. ¶¶ 8-10
(Manzi was given the same one-day computer training as everyone
Second, her request for a quiet location to work was denied,
and she was assigned additional receptionist and phone answering
duties, which diverted her from her scheduling responsibilities.
Apparently, every prior staff member that served as Scheduling
Coordinator since 1986 had sat where Manzi sat and handled
additional responsibilities. (Annarummo Aff. ¶ 6). Manzi alleges,
however, that Anke Long, her predecessor as Scheduling
Coordinator, had been assigned a quiet desk in the back so she
could concentrate on her scheduling duties. (Manzi Dep. at
174-76; Plaintiff's Exhibit 1, ¶ 3). Annarummo attributes Long's
"brief period of time" at that desk to staffing changes.
(Annarummo Aff. ¶ 6).
In November 1994, Manzi was removed as scheduling coordinator
(but retained her title and salary, Annarummo Aff. ¶ 7) and was
replaced by Andrea Sabatella, who was approximately 24 years old.
Sabatella was assigned a quiet desk in the back of the office,
and was given training by Annarummo. Manzi became a
case-specialist again. (Manzi Dep. at 93, 176; Plaintiff's
Exhibit 1, ¶ 4). Also in or about November 1994, Manzi was asked
to clean the office cellar, which was full of mice and roaches.
She refused because it was not in her job description and it
involved lifting heavy cartons "which is not a job for a woman to
do." (Manzi Dep. at 109-10).
Shortly thereafter, Annarummo assigned Manzi a filing project
which involved lifting and sorting approximately fifteen to
sixteen thousand files (the "filing project"). (Manzi Dep. at
108-12). This project caused Manzi considerable pain. (Manzi Dep.
at 66-67). Because of her arthritis, she had difficulty grasping
and pulling the files, which were wedged tightly in the drawers.
(Manzi Aff. ¶ 5). Annarummo was made aware of Manzi's arthritis,
the aggravation of that condition by the filing project, and
Manzi's complaints of pain when she performed the project. (Manzi
Dep. at 66-69, 200-204; Davis Dep. at 86; Renzi Dep. at 100;
Annarummo Dep. at 179-80; Plaintiff's Exhibit 5). Although Manzi
never spoke directly with Annarummo, she spoke with Renzi, who
informed Annarummo of Manzi's pain. Annarummo allegedly responded
that Manzi had no choice and had to work on the filing project.
(Manzi Dep. at 107-09; Renzi Dep. II at 97-100; Renzi Dep. I at
21-33). She did, however, say that Renzi could ask some of the
part-time male staff members to help lift the files. (Annarummo
Aff. ¶ 12).
In November 1994, Senator DiCarlo was re-elected to the Senate
for the 1995-96 term. (DiCarlo Aff. ¶ 5). In December 1994,
DiCarlo recommended continued employment for Manzi for the
January 1, to February 22, 1995 period. (Defendants' Exhibit E;
Sloan Aff. at ¶ 19). In January 1995, however, Senator Joseph L.
Bruno, the new Majority Leader and Temporary President of the
Senate, sought to reduce the Senate's expenditures by 10% ($7
million). (Defendant's Exhibit N, Sloan Aff. ¶ 25; DiCarlo Aff.
¶¶ 15, 25). Among the cuts implemented were reductions in
staffing allocations. (Sloan Aff. ¶ 29). In January 1995, Senator
DiCarlo's staffing allocation was reduced by $82,800 from the
previous year. (Sloan Aff. ¶ 30; DiCarlo Aff. ¶ 17).
In January 1995, Annarummo told Renzi that Manzi would be
leaving and would be replaced by "two young people." (Renzi Dep.
I at 39-41; Renzi Dep. II at 22-24).
That same month, Annarummo stated at a staff meeting that DiCarlo
would be finding Manzi another job, and that Manzi would be
leaving the office. (Plaintiff's Exhibit 1, ¶ 5). In early
February 1995, DiCarlo told Manzi that, because of budgetary
reasons, she could either take a cut in salary if she wished to
remain on staff, or she could go to another agency. Manzi told
DiCarlo and Annarummo that she wanted to stay and would take a
pay cut. (Manzi Dep. at 85-86; Plaintiff's Exhibit 1, ¶ 5).
Disregarding Manzi's decision, Annarummo shouted at her that she
was terminated. (Manzi Dep. at 86; Davis Dep. at 61-63). Manzi's
employment ended on February 22, 1995.
Only three members of Senator DiCarlo's staff were not rehired
in February 1995: Ms. Manzi, Charisse Renzi (age 28), and Lorie
Pizzola (age 27). (DiCarlo Aff.; Defendants' Exhibit V). Renzi
claims that she was fired for opposing the discrimination against
Manzi. (Renzi Dep. I at 13). During the rest of 1995, the
employment of three other individuals was not continued: Shane
Brody (age 22), Fortuna Davis (age 65), and Andrea Sabatella (age
25). (Defendants' Exhibit V). Fortuna Davis testified that she
resigned from her position to pursue other interests and to spend
more time with her husband. (Defendants' Exhibits I & T; Davis
Dep. at 68-69). She stated that she was never discriminated
against by anyone while working in Senator DiCarlo's office.
(Defendants' Exhibit I; Davis Dep. at 130-31). Davis also stated,
however, that the "young blood" comments in the office made her
uncomfortable, and that "it was a matter of time before [she]
would be let go anyway." (Davis Dep. at 18).
By the close of 1996 (when DiCarlo was ousted by a Democrat),
there were still more individuals working in Senator DiCarlo's
offices over the age of forty than there were under the age of
forty. (Addendum 2 to Defendant's Mem. In Support of Summary
Judgment). Of these, three were seventy or older, five more were
over sixty, and four more were over fifty. (Id.). While the
reason given for Manzi's termination was a reduction in force
caused by budget cuts, Manzi alleges that, on February 15, 1995,
Anthony Canade, who was then twenty-five years old, was hired as
a case-specialist at a salary of $20,000 per year. (Plaintiff's
Exhibits 2, 3; Manzi Dep. at 99-100, 216-17). Plaintiff alleges
that, notwithstanding her job description as a scheduling
coordinator, she was actually performing the duties of a
case-specialist at $19,500 per year.
Manzi filed an EEOC complaint on March 15, 1995. (Plaintiff's
Exhibit 1). By letter dated April 4, 1995, the EEOC advised Manzi
that her case could not be assigned to an investigator for
approximately ten months. (Moghadassi Declaration ¶ 3). On May 3,
1995, Manzi requested "a right to sue" letter. After the letter
was issued, Manzi filed this action against DiCarlo, Clorinda
Annarummo (DiCarlo's former Chief of Staff), the New York Senate,
and the State of New York. Her current complaint, which is really
an amended version of the complaint filing under a different
docket number, includes claims under the Age Discrimination in
Employment Act of 1967 (29 U.S.C. § 623 et seq.) ("ADEA"), the
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. § 12201 et
seq.) ("ADA"), ...