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MOLINA v. J.F.K. TAILOR CORP.

April 30, 2004.

JENNY MOLINA, Plaintiff, -against- J.F.K. TAILOR CORP. and KOO KM, Defendants


The opinion of the court was delivered by: KEVIN FOX, Magistrate Judge

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

I. INTRODUCTION

In this action, plaintiff Jenny Molina ("Molina") alleges violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII); 42 U.S.C. § 1981 ("Section 1981"); the New York Human Rights Law ("NYHRL"), N.Y. Exec. Law. § 296, and the New York City Human Rights Law ("NYCHRL"), N.Y.C. Admin. Code. § 8-107, against defendants J. F. K. Tailor Corp. ("JFK") and Koo Kim ("Kim") (collectively "defendants"). Upon the defendants' failure to answer or otherwise respond to the Complaint, your Honor referred the matter to the undersigned to conduct an inquest and to report and recommend the amount of damages, if any, to be awarded to plaintiff against the defendants.

  The Court directed plaintiff to file and serve proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law and an inquest memorandum setting forth her proof of damages, costs of this action, and her attorney's fees. Each defendant was directed to file and serve opposing memoranda, affidavits and exhibits, as well as any alternative findings of fact and conclusions of law it or he deemed appropriate, and to state whether a hearing was requested for the purpose of examining witnesses.

  Plaintiff served and filed an inquest memorandum, including proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. Plaintiff also submitted a declaration in support of her claim for damages. The defendants did not respond to the Court's order for submissions.

  Plaintiff's submissions aver that she is entitled to back pay, front pay, compensatory damages for emotional pain and mental anguish, punitive damages, and costs and attorney's fees, in an amount to be determined by the court.

  For the reasons stated below, I recommend that plaintiff be awarded back pay in the amount of $32,812.50, prejudgment interest on the back pay award at the rate referred to in 28 U.S.C. § 1961(a), calculated for the relevant time period and compounded annually, with the back pay award being divided evenly over that time period, front pay in the amount of $9,100, compensatory damages in the amount of $50,000, and punitive damages in the amount of $20,000.

  II. BACKGROUND

  Based on submissions by the plaintiff, the Complaint filed in the instant action — the allegations of which, perforce of defendants' default, must be accepted as true, except those relating to damages, see Cotton v. Slone, 4 F.3d 176, 181 (2d Cir. 1993); Greyhound Exhibitgroup, Inc. v. E. L. U. L. Realty Corp., 973 F.2d 155, 158 (2d Cir. 1992) — and the Court's review of the entire court file maintained in this action, the following findings of fact are made: Molina is a Hispanic female, who resides at 53-03 Skillman Avenue, Apt. 1C, Woodside, New York. JFK is a garment manufacturing corporation, formed and existing under the laws of the state of New York. It has its principal place of business at 307 West 36th Street, 13th Floor, New York, New York. At all relevant times, defendant Kim was a principal shareholder of JFK, who managed its operations and had the authority to hire and fire its employees, including the plaintiff. At all relevant times, JFK was an employer for the purposes of Title VII, having more than 15 employees.

  Molina was hired as a seamstress in May 1995. During the period of her employment at JFK, Molina performed her duties as a seamstress in a satisfactory manner. Kim began to harass Molina sexually in 1997, at the time he became the principal shareholder of JFK. The harassment consisted initially of making comments of a sexual nature, touching Molina around the private and intimate parts of her body while she was at her work station on the sewing floor, and urging Molina to accompany Kim to his office for the purpose of having sexual relations with him. In or around September 1997, Molina submitted to Kim's demands. Molina avers that she did so because Kim threatened to fire her if she refused. In 1998, Molina was assigned to a different sewing machine at a table closer to Kirn's office. That work station had become vacant after the termination of another employee who complained about being sexually harassed by a supervisor at JFK. After Molina was relocated to her new work station, Kim's uninvited touching became a daily routine. Molina submitted to Kim's sexual demands, including engaging in sexual intercourse and other sexual contact, on a regular basis for almost three years.

  In December 1999, Molina told Kim that she did not want to continue having sexual relations with him and warned Kim that if his conduct did not change, she would report him to a governmental agency. Kim responded by telling Molina to look for another job.

  On August 3, 2000, Kim informed the plaintiff that he had quarreled with another manager at JFK and that this person had threatened to reveal Kim's sexual relations with Molina to Kim's wife. On August 11, 2000, Molina was summoned to Kim's office, where Kim and his wife were present. Kim's wife asked Molina whether she had been having sexual relations with Kim. Molina said no. Although Molina denied that she had engaged in sexual relations with Kim, she was discharged from her employment the same day.

  On September 30, 2000, Molina filed a timely charge of discrimination against Kim and JFK with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). On February 12, 2001, the EEOC issued a "Dismissal and Notice of Rights" letter ("right-to-sue letter") to Molina. The instant action was commenced on May 11, 2001.

  The plaintiff claims that, as a result of the defendants' discriminatory conduct, she has suffered lost past and future wages, lost benefits, damage to her reputation, embarrassment and mental anguish. The plaintiff also claims that the defendants' conduct was intentional and malicious and, therefore, that she ...


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