The opinion of the court was delivered by: Marrero, District Judge.
Plaintiff Madeline Brown brings this action against William
Henderson, Postmaster General of the United States Postal Service
the ("Postal Service"), alleging employment discrimination under
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et
seq., and intentional infliction of emotional distress under New
York State common law. The Postal Service now moves under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(b) for summary judgment dismissing the
discrimination claim. For the reasons discussed below, the motion
is granted, and the Court declines to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over the remaining state law claim.
Madeline Brown, a letter carrier stationed at the James A.
Farley Building ("JAF") in Manhattan, has been employed by the
Postal Service for over 29 years. The ordeal that gives rise to
this lawsuit began in January 1996, when a group of four male
co-workers — Thomas Nelson, Angel Melendez, Bruno Moschetta, and
Adel Yacoub — made Brown the target of a daily barrage of
harassing comments suggesting that she and another co-worker,
Thomas "Tiny" Parrett, were having a romantic affair. They would
say things to both Brown and Parret such as "You [Parrett] and
Mady [Brown] are in love — look at that — you are always
talking," "are you going away for the weekend?," "you're always
off the same days — what are you doing together?" Deposition of
Madeline Brown ("Pl.Dep.") at 64-66, 92, 101. Brown testified at
her deposition that because of the proximity of Parrett's mail
route to the harassers', he suffered "the brunt" of harassing
remarks, and, when pressed, she estimated that he had been
subjected to the comments two to three
times more often than she. Id. at 69, 75, 93, 97, 100-01.
Brown endured these taunts until sometime in spring of 1996,
when, according to her deposition testimony, she reported the
harassing conduct to her immediate supervisor, Michael
Goldheimer, who she claims did nothing to stop it. Pl.Dep. at
129-30. Goldheimer denies having ever been told. Deposition of
Michael Goldheimer ("Goldheimer Dep.") at 15. In any event, in
May or June of 1996, Brown confronted the harassers personally,
she "finally  couldn't stand anymore of it," and warned them
that if it continued she would "bring charges against them."
Pl.Dep. at 70. Despite Brown's warning, the harassers continued
making such comments, to Parrett in particular, but substituted
the aliases "Mary Lou" or "Matty Lou" to mask their references to
Brown. Pl.Dep. at 70. The harassers then began loudly singing
along to the Ricky Nelson song "Mary Lou" whenever it played on
the radio. EEO Investigative Affidavit of Madeline Brown ("Pl.
EEO Aff.") at 8.
Brown explained in her EEO affidavits and at her deposition
that the animosity displayed toward her was due in large part to
a longstanding, union related, personal conflict with the group
of harassers, most significantly Nelson, whom she had battled in
a "slanderous" shop steward election and accused of committing
timecard fraud several years earlier. See Pl.Dep. at 6-8. Brown
testified, in fact, that "if it hadn't been for the [union shop
steward] election and all of that unpleasantness and told him
that people were talking about him showing up three or four hours
late this probably would not have happened. And I still believe
that." Pl.Dep. at 64.
Brown also alleges that she was subjected to harassment when
she overheard letter carriers Jacques Uscier and Samuel Fils-Aime
threaten, in vulgar terms, to sodomize one another. Pl.Dep. at
109-110; Pl. EEO Aff. at 8. Brown additionally claims that on
four or five occasions, Nelson called her a "pig," and that for a
period of about two weeks, Uscier not only called her a pig, but
made "oinking" and "suey" sounds as well. Pl.Dep. at 124-25.
According to Brown, the harassers had also "needled" Parrett
about his weight for years. Id. at 97-98.
On May 1, 1997, according to Brown, the sexual harassment
escalated when someone posted "a pornographic picture of a naked,
obese, spread-eagled woman masturbating" to a pole along
Parrett's mail route. Pl. EEO Aff. at 4. Scrawled on the picture
were the words "Tiny's Girl." Brown removed the picture, but less
than an hour later, someone affixed to the same pole a postcard
featuring mating elephants. Id. The postcard was itself taped
to a piece of paper, upon which was written "Tiny and Mary Lou."
Brown removed the postcard as well and reported the incident to
Goldheimer, Lawrence Lynch, tour superintendent, and Carlos
Hernandez, operations manager.
In response, Lynch notified the Postal Service's Inspection
Service and Equal Employment Opportunity Office ("EEO") about the
allegation, offered EEO counseling to Brown, and ordered that
"service talks" be held throughout the section and entire station
about sexual harassment. On May 5, 1997, Goldheimer held the
first of two service talks. According to Brown, "[h]e simply
walked around from route to route showing the carriers a piece of
paper which said `Do not hang any obscene photographs or
literature on Rt. 0154.'" Id. Brown took offense to the manner
in which Goldheimer conducted the service talk, which she
characterized as unsympathetic and disrespectful, and asked him
"how he would feel if those pictures had been taped to his podium
with `Mrs. Goldheimer' written on them?" Goldheimer allegedly
became visibly angry and replied "It says `Tiny's girl.' Is there
something I should know?" Id.
On May 30, 1997, Brown sought EEO counseling because of the
Just a few days later, Brown claims that Fils-Aime insulted and
threatened both her and Parrett, saying "fat people should be put
in gas chambers," "fat people got something genetic, they're
missing most of their brain, they shouldn't be allowed to live,"
and "if they write me up, I'll grieve it with an AK." Id. ¶ 22.
Brown reported the Fils-Aime threats to her supervisors and to
the Postal Service's Inspection Service. The following day,
Fils-Aime shouted at Uscier, in Brown's presence, "shoot 'em up,
shoot Mary Lou!" Brown once again reported the incident to
Goldheimer, who "glared furiously" and shouted "what are you
going to do, run back upstairs to the inspectors?" Brown then
reported the incident to the postal inspectors.
Goldheimer discussed the incident with Postal Inspector Stephen
Attardi, who advised Goldheimer to take whatever disciplinary
action against Fils-Aime he deemed necessary. Goldheimer Dep. at
33. Fils-Aime admitted to both Goldheimer and Lynch that he had
made the statements, but denied that they were threatening. Id.
On June 9, 1997, Goldheimer issued a warning letter to Fils-Aime
charging him with "verbal abuse" and "threatening statements."
Further, as a result of a complaint by Parrett about the same
comments, Fils-Aime's mail route was moved away from both Brown's
and Parrett's routes.
On October 6, 1997, following the mandatory pre-complaint
counseling period, Brown filed a formal complaint with ...