United States District Court, S.D. New York
March 30, 2004.
MARICELLA BROWN, Plaintiff -against- LAWRENCE STEVENS FASHIONS, INC. LAWRENCE BAUM, and I.J. SINGH, Defendants
The opinion of the court was delivered by: THOMAS GRIESA, Senior District Judge
This is an action by pro se plaintiff Maricella Brown
alleging employment discrimination on the basis of race and age, and
retaliation for asserting rights, all in violation of Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq.
Defendant Lawrence Stevens Fashions, Inc. was plaintiff's employer.
Defendant Lawrence Baum was employed by Lawrence Stevens as Chief
Executive Officer. Defendant I. J. Singh was employed by Lawrence Stevens
as Executive Vice President for Production.
Defendants Baum and Singh move to dismiss the complaint as to them, on
the ground that individual defendants, connected with an employer
company, may not be held liable under Title VII or the ADEA.
It is clear in this Circuit that Title VII does not
authorize suit against individual defendants. See Tomka v.
Seiler Corp., 66 F.3d 1295, 1314-16 (2d Cir. 1995); Harrison v.
New York Off-Track Betting Corp., 107 F. Supp.2d 455, 458 (S.D.N.Y.
2000); Luongo v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., 95 Civ. 3190,
1995 WL 445365, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 7, 1996). Although the Second
Circuit has not yet ruled definitively on the issue of individual
liability under the ADEA, the consensus among District Courts in this
Circuit is that, given the similarity in the statutory definitions of
"employer," the result is the same as under Title VII. See,
e.g., Grasso v. Chase Manhattan Bank, No. 01 Civ.
4371, 2002 WL 575667, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 17, 2002); Bousie v.
Boufford, 127 F. Supp.2d 467, 472 (S.D.N.Y. 2001); Healy v.
AIG Technical Services, Inc., No. 00 Civ. 3419, 2001 WL 336976, at
*1 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 10, 2001). Therefore, plaintiff may not bring claims
under Title VII or the ADEA against Baum and Singh.
Plaintiff requests leave to file an amended complaint, in order to add
causes of action under the New York City Human Rights Law against Baum
and Singh. The New York City Human Rights Law allows a plaintiff to file
suit against an employer or agent of that employer
in any court of competent jurisdiction . . .
unless such person has filed a complaint with the
city commission on human rights or with the state
division of human rights with respect to such
alleged unlawful discriminatory practice or act of
discriminatory harassment or violence.
N.Y.C. Admin. Code §§ 8-107 and 502(a). It appears from the
submissions on the motion that in or about May 2001 plaintiff filed with
the State Division of Human Rights two administrative complaints
regarding the incidents of discrimination alleged in the instant
complaint. Thus, plaintiff elected her remedies under the New York City
Human Rights Law, and may not now bring suit in this Court under the same
statute. See James v. City of New York, No. 01 Civ. 30, 2003 WL
21991591, at *5 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 20, 2003); McNulty v. New York City
Department of Finance, 45 F. Supp.2d 296, 303-04 (S.D.N.Y. 1999);
see also York v. Association of the Bar of the City of New
York, 286 F.3d 122, 127-128 (2d Cir. 2002).
Defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's claims against Baum and Singh
is granted. Plaintiff's request to file an amended complaint is denied.
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