The opinion of the court was delivered by: SANDRA J. FEUERSTEIN, District Judge
Plaintiff Cristina Stainkamp ("Plaintiff" or "Stainkamp")
initiated this action against defendants Changes International of
Fort Walton Beach, Inc. ("Changes"), Twinlab Laboratories, Inc.,
Twinlab Corporation (together with Twinlab Laboratories, Inc.,
"Twinlab") and Changes' Chief Executive Officer, W. Steven Coggin
(collectively "Defendants") pursuant to Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. ("Title VII") and
the New York State Human Rights Law, New York Executive Law § 290
et seq. ("New York Human Rights Law"), alleging pregnancy
discrimination. Defendants move for summary judgment pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants'
motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part.
Stainkamp was employed by Changes from February 16, 1999 until
December 1, 1999. (Stainkamp Dep. at 5-6; Def. 56.1 Stmt, ¶ 4).
Originally hired as a Senior Director of Sales Support & Field Communication, she was the Senior Director of
Special Events at the time of her termination. (Stainkamp Aff. at
2). Changes is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Twinlab; both
companies market and sell nutritional supplements. (Def. 56.1
Stmt., ¶ 27; Coggin Aff., ¶ 2; Stainkamp Dep. at 90). As Director
of Special Events, Stainkamp was responsible for organizing Changes'
annual national convention and its "President's Club Incentive Trip."
(Stainkamp Dep. at 10; Def. 56.1 Stmt., ¶ 4).*fn1
In September or October of 1999, as a result of declining
sales, Coggin testified that he was told to cut approximately
$700,000 from his proposed budget. (Coggin Dep. at 16). Coggin
asked Stainkamp to reduce expenditures for the convention and the
incentive trip by a total of $120,000. (Stainkamp Dep. at 10).
Coggin also claims that he decided to terminate Stainkamp at some
point in September or October, along with three other employees,
as part of these budget cuts. (Coggin Dep. at 16-17). Coggin
informed Fran Colombi, Changes' comptroller, of this decision
shortly thereafter. (Colombi Dep. at 11).
On October 4, 1999, Stainkamp discovered that she was pregnant.
(Stainkamp Dep. at 37). Stainkamp informed her secretary, Carol
Ann Scolaro, and Colombi of her pregnancy and asked them to keep
it a secret. (Id. at 40-41). According to Colombi, Stainkamp
told her that she did not want to publicize her pregnancy until
after the first trimester. (Colombi Dep. at 27).
Thomas Lupo, Changes' Vice President of Sales, testified that
Coggin informed him that Stainkamp was going to be terminated in
early November. (Lupo Dep. at 11). On November 23, 1999, Richard Perles, a Vice President in Changes' Human
Resources department, sent a memo to Joe Conklin requesting that
Conklin "prepare a General Release & Agreement . . . related to
the termination of Christina [sic] Stainkamp which is part of a
headcount reduction (position elimination) in the Change
organization." (Pietrantonio Aff. Ex. J) (emphasis in original).
Colombi testified that she approached Lupo towards the end of
November and informed him of Stainkamp's pregnancy. As Colombi
explained, "I told Tom Lupo, `Tom, listen, I don't know what's
the hold-up, but Cristina is pregnant and she is going to
announce it soon, and you know that might put the company in a
weird predicament." (Colombi Dep. at 80). According to Colombi,
Lupo responded "It's all in HR. There's nothing we can do.
Twinlab handles all that kind of stuff." (Id.) Colombi also
testified that, other than Lupo, she did not tell anyone that
Stainkamp was pregnant. (Id.; see also Stainkamp Dep. at 41).
On November 29, Stainkamp informed Coggin that she was
pregnant. (Stainkamp Dep. at 7). Stainkamp also testified that,
other than Colombi and Scolaro, she had not informed anyone else
at Changes until this point. (Id. at 38, 48). According to
Stainkamp, Coggin responded by asking her if it "was planned,"
stating that he hoped it was not "contagious," and telling her
"That's what you get for fooling around." (Id. at 75-76). On
December 1, 1999, Stainkamp was terminated. (Id. at 6).
III. Summary Judgment Standard
Summary judgment should not be granted unless "the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file,
together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no
genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c). A fact is material "if it might affect the outcome of the
suit under the governing law." Holtz v. Rockefeller & Co., 258 F.3d 62, 69
(2d Cir. 2001). An issue of fact is genuine only if a jury could
reasonably find in favor of the nonmoving party based on that
fact. Id. The moving party bears the initial burden of
establishing the absence of any genuine issue of material fact,
after which the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to establish
the existence of a factual question that must be resolved at
trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256
(1986). The trial court is required to construe the evidence in
the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, and draw all
reasonable inferences in its favor. Id. at 252; Cifarelli v.
Vill. of Babylon, 93 F.3d 47, 51 (2d Cir. 1996).
The Second Circuit has recognized that direct evidence of
discriminatory intent is rare, and often must be inferred from
circumstantial evidence found in the pleadings. Holtz,
258 F.3d at 69. Thus, granting summary judgment in such cases should be
done with an extra measure of caution. However, if a
discrimination case is void of genuine issues of material fact,
summary judgment may be appropriate. Id. (citing McLee v.
Chrysler Corp., 109 F.3d 130, 135 (2d Cir. 1997)); see also
Abdu-Brisson v. Delta Air Lines, Inc., 239 F.3d 456, 466 ...