The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hurd, United States Magistrate Judge.
MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER
Plaintiff, Suzanne Waterson ("Waterson" or "plaintiff"), was an
employee of Best Western Inn in the housekeeping department.
Plaintiff alleges that she was subjected to sexual harassment
while employed, and was terminated on March 4, 1991 under false
pretenses and pursuant to a discriminatory purpose. Waterson
filed a complaint with the New York State Division of Human
Rights ("DHR") on March 11, 1991. Waterson then commenced the
instant action on October 4, 1996.
Defendants have made a motion in limine to
1. Bar any testimony or evidence on the issue of
compensatory and/or punitive damages; and
2. Restrict the testimony of Anne Marie Malinowski
("Malinowski"), another former employee at the Best
A. Compensatory and Punitive Damages
Plaintiff is complaining of acts which occurred up to and
including the date of her termination on March 4, 1991. At the
time of these alleged acts, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964 ("Title VII") did not afford a plaintiff the right to a
trial by jury or to seek compensatory or punitive damages.
42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(g) (1988). The Civil Rights Act of 1991, which
became effective on November 21, 1991, amended Title VII to allow
claimants to have a trial by jury as well as to seek compensatory
and punitive damages. 42 U.S.C. § 1981a(a)(1), (c) (1994).
Defendants argue that, since the acts of sexual harassment
alleged by Waterson occurred before the enactment of the Civil
Rights Act of 1991, and the new remedies provided by the statute
are not retroactive, Waterson is not entitled to compensatory or
punitive damages and therefore should not be allowed to present
evidence concerning such damages. Defendants also argue that
plaintiff may have been able to seek compensatory damages
pursuant to her state law claim, but she waived that right by
terminating her complaint with the state DHR.
Plaintiff asserts that the nonretroactivity of the Civil Rights
Act of 1991 only
applies to cases pending on appeal when the statute was enacted,
which is not the case here. Waterson also argues that, upon
motion, she was granted a jury trial, which implies that the new
statute, and the new remedies provided by it, is applicable in
this matter. Therefore, plaintiff contends, she is entitled to
present evidence concerning compensatory and punitive damages.
Finally, Waterson asserts that, contrary to the defendants'
claim, she is entitled to join her state claim in this action.
1. Retroactivity of the Civil Rights Act of 1991
Plaintiff's argument that the Civil Rights Act of 1991 is not
applied retroactively only as to cases which were pending on
appeal at the time the statute was enacted is without merit. It
is well settled that the new remedial provisions of the Civil
Rights Act of 1991 do not apply to conduct occurring before the
enactment of the statute, not merely cases pending on appeal when
the statute was enacted. See Landgraf v. USI Film Prods.,
511 U.S. 244, 114 S.Ct. 1483, 128 L.Ed.2d 229 (1994); Postema v.
National League of Prof'l Baseball Clubs, 998 F.2d 60, 61-62 (2d
Cir. 1993); Wisdom v. Intrepid Sea-Air Space Museum,
993 F.2d 5, 7 (2d Cir. 1993); Fair Employment Council v. BMC Mktg.
Corp., 28 F.3d 1268 (D.C.Cir. 1994); Amin v. Quad/Graphics,
Inc., 929 F. Supp. 73 (N.D.N.Y. 1996); Talada v. International
Serv. Sys., Inc., 899 F. Supp. 936 (N.D.N.Y. 1995). The alleged
conduct of which Waterson is complaining ...