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MARK v. MOUNT SINAI HOSP.
February 18, 2000
VIVIAN M. MARK, REBECCA A. MEYER, & CARMEN MAZA, PLAINTIFFS,
THE MOUNT SINAI HOSPITAL, DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Motley, District Judge.
OPINION GRANTING SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Following oral argument on December 14, 1999 this court granted
defendant's motion for summary judgment, thereby dismissing
plaintiffs' case in its entirety. The following outlines the
court's reasoning in granting summary judgment.
This case involves claims of breach of contract as well as
employment discrimination based on gender, age and national
origin. The case involves the consolidated claims of three
plaintiffs, Vivian M. Mark, Rebecca A. Meyer and Carmen Maza. The
three plaintiffs are female psychologists who were employed by
the Communication Disorders Center ("CDC"), a treatment facility
owned by the defendant, the Mount Sinai Hospital. The CDC is a
treatment center for adults and children with speech and language
disorders and learning disabilities. The plaintiffs all
voluntarily resigned from their employment at the CDC. In this
lawsuit plaintiffs claim that their resignations were
constructive discharges. During the relevant time period Arnold
I. Shapiro, a speech therapist, served as director of the CDC.
Meyer worked at the CDC from May of 1991 until she resigned in
August of 1996. During her employment Meyer served as a clinical
psychologist except for the period of July 1995 through May 1996
when she held the position of acting psychology coordinator. Mark
worked as a psychologist at the CDC from April of 1992 until
October of 1996. Maza worked as a psychologist at the CDC from
1990 to 1998.
STANDARD FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
This circuit recognizes the value of summary judgment to
expeditiously dispose of meritless litigation. See Quinn v.
Syracuse Model Neighborhood Corp., 613 F.2d 438, 445 (2d Cir.
1980). The mechanism of summary judgment promotes judicial
economy by preventing further litigation on an issue with an
unalterably predetermined outcome. The standard for summary
judgment ensures that issues are efficiently resolved without
compromising the rights of the non-moving party.
Summary judgment may be granted only if the moving
party can show that there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and that the moving party is
entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. The court
must draw all reasonable inferences and resolve all
ambiguities in favor of the non-moving party.
Ametex Fabrics, Inc. v. Just In Materials, Inc., 140 F.3d 101,
107 (2d Cir. 1998) (internal citations omitted). Thus, the mere
existence of a factual dispute between parties does not preclude
summary judgment when the dispute is not genuine or when the
disputed facts are immaterial. A disputed fact is immaterial when
the outcome of the case remains the same regardless of the
disputed issue. Factual questions which prove immaterial fail to
preclude summary judgment. See Knight v. U.S. Fire Insurance
Co., 804 F.2d 9, 11 (2d Cir. 1986) (noting that the existence of
unresolved immaterial issues does not suffice to defeat a motion
for summary judgment).
A party may not rely on "mere speculation or conjecture as to
the true nature of the facts to overcome a motion for summary
judgment". Knight v. U.S. Fire Insurance Co., 804 F.2d 9, 11
(2d Cir. 1986).
Nor are judges any longer required to submit a
question to a jury merely because some evidence has
been introduced by the party having the burden of
proof, unless the evidence be of such a character
that it would warrant the jury in finding a verdict
in favor of that party. Formerly it was held that if
there was what is called a scintilla of evidence in
support of a case the judge was bound to leave it to
the jury, but recent decisions of high authority have
established a more reasonable rule, that in every
case, before the evidence is left to the jury, there
is a preliminary question for the judge, not whether
there is literally no evidence, but whether there is
any upon which a jury could properly proceed to find
a verdict for the party producing it, upon whom the
onus of proof is imposed.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251, 106 S.Ct.
2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986) (internal citations omitted).
The possibility that a material issue of fact may
exist does not suffice to defeat the motion; upon
being confronted with a motion for summary judgment
the party opposing it must set forth arguments or
facts to indicate that a genuine issue — not merely
one that is colorable — of material fact is present.