NHCC. His duties included attending to patients on
the hospital floor, in nursing homes, and in satellite clinics.
Defendant Dr. Jacob Sokol was born in Germany and is of the Jewish
faith. Dr. Sokol was at all relevant times the Chair of Ambulatory
Services, of which COPC is a part. Plaintiffs supervisor, Dr. Bella
Silecchia ("Dr. Silecchia"), reported directly to Dr. Sokol. There is
disagreement between the parties as to whether or not Dr. Sokol was the
Medical Center official who hired Plaintiff. Defendants claim Dr. Sokol
interviewed Dr. Ahmed and recommended that he be hired. Plaintiff
contends he was interviewed by Dr. Silecchia and Dr. Sokol, but it was
Dr. Faroque Kahn ("Dr. Kahn") — the Chair of the Department at the
time Plaintiff was hired — who made the final decision to hire
Defendant Dr. Anthony Angelo was born in the United States and
considers himself to be a Roman Catholic Caucasian. Dr. Angelo was at all
relevant times the Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs at the
Medical Center. Dr. Sokol reported directly to Dr. Angelo.
During his tenure at COPC, Plaintiff was a salaried employee of the
Medical Center and therefore a credentialed member of the medical
staff.*fn1 Pursuant to Section 2805-k of the New York Public
Health Law, before granting or renewing medical staff privileges, a
hospital is required to request, and the physician is required to provide,
certain information. That information includes: the name of any other
hospital or facility at which the physician has or had privileges or with
which the physician was otherwise associated; the reason for any
discontinuation of such association, if applicable; any misconduct
proceedings or malpractice actions pending against the physician; and
a verification by the physician that the information provided is true and
accurate. N.Y. Pub. Heath L. § 2805-k(l)(a)-(c). The hospital must
then request from every hospital identified by the physician, information
regarding professional misconduct proceedings or malpractice actions,
judgments, or settlements or any other incidents of possible professional
misconduct. Id. At the Medical Center, physicians applying for
medical staff privileges must fill out a Medical Staff Re-Appointment
Application. Physicians must be re-credentialed every two years.
On or about October 5, 1999, in accordance with the Medical Center's
procedures, Dr. Ahmad submitted to the Medical Staff Office an application
for renewal of his medical staff privileges ("1999 Application").
Defendants claims that Plaintiff intentionally misrepresented information
on his 1999 Application and these misrepresentations led to Plaintiff's
dismissal in February 2000.
According to Defendants, Dr. Ahmad's responses to two questions on the
Application was the basis for his subsequent termination. Plaintiffs
responses to the questions are uncontroverted.
The first page of the application states: "list all
other hospitals at which you are a member of the
Medical Staff or where you were a member within the
past ten (10) years." Plaintiff listed only Mercy
Medical Center, Island Medical Center, and Franklin
Hospital m response to this question.
On the second page of the application, Question No. 7
asks: "Has your association, employment practice or
privileges in any hospital or institution ever been
relinquished, suspended, diminished, revoked, or
modified in any other manner?" Plaintiff originally
answered "No" to this question but scratched out his
"No" answer and responded "Yes."
The top of the second page of the application states:
"If the answers to any of the following questions is
`Yes', please provide us with details on separate
sheet(s) of paper." Despite answering "Yes" to
Question No. 7, Plaintiff did not provide further
explanation, as required by the application.
Pursuant to § 2805-k(2), the Medical Staff Office sent letters to
the three hospitals Dr. Ahmad had listed on page one of the 1999
Application — Mercy, Island, and Franklin — seeking
confirmation of the status of Dr. Ahmed's privileges at those hospitals.
All three hospitals provided the Medical Center with information
regarding Plaintiff's privileges.
In December 1999, the Medical Staff Office noted that Dr. Ahmad had
answered "Yes" to Question 7 but failed to provide the requisite
explanation for his answer. On December 7, 1999, Dr. Gerald Mondschein,
the Chairman of the Medical Staff Credentials Committee, sent a letter to
Dr. Ahmad asking him to explain his response to Question 7. On December
16, 1999, Dr. Ahmad sent a letter to Dr: Mondschein which stated that, as
a result of a negative outcome relating to his treatment of a patient at
Southside Hospital ("Southside") in October 1998, Plaintiff had been
asked to leave the hospital. Dr. Ahmad also stated in his December 16
letter that the Southside incident was reported to and investigated by
the New York State Office of Professional Medical Conduct ("OPMC") and
that "no action" had been taken against Plaintiff.*fn2 Dr. Ahmad failed
to list Southside on the first page of the 1999 Application when asked at
which hospitals he had been a member of the medical staff during the past
ten (10) years. Plaintiff claims that at the time he believed he was only
required to list those hospitals at which he was then active.
Southside had in fact terminated Dr. Ahmad's employment and medical
staff privileges effective December 8, 1998, following an October 1998
incident with a patient of Dr. Ahmad's. Shortly thereafter, Southside
reported this occurrence to OPMC. In connection with OPMC's investigation
of the incident at Southside, Plaintiff received a document from OPMC
stating, in boldface: "Licensees should never assume an OPMC
investigation is closed because they haven't had recent contact with
OPMC." (Defs.' Ex. F.)
On or about February 7, 2000, Dr. Ahmad received a letter from OPMC]
stating it had completed its investigation into the
incident at Southside
and had determined that Plaintiff's involvement merited an Administrative
Warning. The February 7 letter instructed Dr. Ahmad to appear before OPMC
on March 16, 2000 to receive his Administrative Warning in person.*fn3
This notification from OPMC regarding the results of the Southside
investigation was received by Plaintiff approximately four (4) months
after Plaintiff filled out the 1999 Application, and only a few weeks
before he was fired from NHCC. Plaintiff completed the 1999 Application
less than a year after Southside had rescinded his medical privileges.
Moreover, although Plaintiff had stated in his December 16, 1999 letter
to Dr. Mondschein that no action had been taken against him regarding the
Southside incident, OPMC's investigation was not closed until February
7, 2000. Plaintiff claims he was unaware that the investigation was
Defendants contend that, after reviewing Plaintiff's 1999 Application,
Drs. Angelo and Sokol determined Dr. Ahmad's misrepresentations were
material and purposeful. Plaintiff completed the 1999 Application less
than one year after Southside terminated his employment, therefore
Defendants allegedly felt it was unlikely that Plaintiff simply forgot to
report the incident. Plaintiff claims he did not see the section of the
1999 Application requiring him to provide additional information if he
checked "Yes" for Question 7. Defendants allegedly found Plaintiff's
excuses unpersuasive, particularly given the fact that Plaintiff also
failed to list Southside on page one of the 1999 Application as a
hospital at which he had enjoyed medical privileges. This seemed to
indicate to Defendants that Dr. Ahmad was purposefully attempting to
conceal the incident at Southside. Further, Defendants allegedly felt
that the information Plaintiff provided in his December 16 letter to Dr.
Mondschein was insufficient, given that Plaintiff indicated to Dr.
Mondschein that the Southside investigation was closed when in fact OPMC
had not yet completed its inquiry. Plaintiff was subsequently fired on
February 16, 2000.
NHCC thereafter reported Plaintiff's omissions in his 1999 Application
to OPMC, which, in a letter dated February 21, 2001, found that
Plaintiff's conduct merited the issuance of an Administrative Warning. On
March 8, 2001, Plaintiff was called before OPMC and given an
Administrative Warning for omissions on his 1999 Application for medical
privileges at NHCC.
During the course of discovery relating to this action, Defendants
learned of other omissions contained in Plaintiff's 1999 Application. It
came to light that Plaintiff had, some time after October 1994, been
employed at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center ("Wyckoff") and had been sued
for malpractice in connection with an incident there. That action was
commenced in February 1999, eight months before Plaintiff completed the
1999 Application, and discontinued on or about July 10, 2000. Plaintiff
failed to report this information when he filled out his 1999
Application. Although, as discussed further infra, these facts may not be
used to bolster Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment given that they
were discovered after the termination at issue in this action, they are
documented below in the interest of completeness.
On page two of the 1999 Application, Question No. 8
asks: "Have you voluntarily relinquished privileges in
any hospital or heath related facility?" Plaintiff
answered "No" to this question. Plaintiff no longer
enjoyed medical staff privileges at Wyckoff, because
he had decided not to fill out the reappointment
application. Plaintiff claims he did not equate a
failure to reapply for privileges at Wyckoff with
Question No. 10 asks: "Are there any professional
misconduct proceedings pending against you in this
state or another?" Plaintiff answered "No" to this
question even though the OPMC investigation into the
incident at Southside was still pending. Plaintiff
claims he thought the investigation had been closed.
Question No. 11 asks: "Are there any malpractice
actions pending against you in this state or
another?" Plaintiff answered "No" to this question
even though a medical malpractice action was pending
against him in connection with services he provided at
A. Standard for Summary Judgment
A motion for summary judgment may not be granted unless the court
determines that there is "no genuine issue of material fact and that the
moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c). The court must resolve all ambiguities and draw all inferences in
favor of the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986); Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986); Castle Rock Entm't, Inc. v. Carol Pulb'g
Group, 150 F.3d 132, 137 (2d Cir. 1998). If there is any evidence in the
record from which a reasonable inference could be drawn in favor of the
non-moving party on a material issue of fact, summary judgment is
improper. Chambers v. TRM Copy Centers Corp., 43 F.3d 29, 37 (2d Cir.
The party seeking summary judgment bears the burden of demonstrating
that no genuine factual dispute exists. Chambers, 43 F.3d at 36; Adams
v. Department of Juvenile Justice, 143 F.3d 61, 65 (2d Cir. 1998).
However, "[w]hen the moving party has carried its burden under Rule
56(c), its opponent must do more than simply show that there is some
metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586
(citation omitted). The non-moving party must show that a disputed
material fact exists in light of the substantive law by offering
"concrete evidence from which a reasonable juror could return a verdict
in [its] favor." Dister v. Continental Group. Inc., 859 F.2d 1108, 1114
(2d Cir. 1988) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256).
B. Title VII Claim
Plaintiff alleges, inter alia, that his termination from NHCC in
February 2000 was discriminatory based on his race, national origin, and
religion in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as
amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. Title VII provides, in pertinent
It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an
employer — (1) to fail or refuse to hire or to
discharge any individual, or otherwise discriminate
against any individual with respect to his
compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of
because of such individual's race, color,
religion, sex, or national origin.
42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a).