The opinion of the court was delivered by: FRANK MAAS, Magistrate Judge
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
In this pro se action, plaintiff Nerry Travessi
("Travessi") alleges that Saks Fifth Avenue Incorporated ("Saks")
retaliated against her, in violation of Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq.,
by refusing her request for seasonal employment once it realized
that she previously had filed a complaint against Saks with the
New York City Commission on Human Rights ("NYCCHR"). Saks has
moved for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. (See Docket No. 31). On January 26,
2005, the parties consented to my exercise of jurisdiction over
this matter for all purposes in accordance with
28 U.S.C. § 636(c). (See Docket No. 30). Pursuant to that authority, and
for the reasons set forth below, the summary judgment motion is
granted. II. Facts
Unless otherwise noted, the following facts are set forth in
the light most favorable to Travessi:
A. Retaliation Claim
Travessi was a full-time Saks employee in the 1970s and from
1984 to 1987, when she took a brief medical leave. (Aff. of Nerry
Travessi, sworn to on Feb. 11, 2005 ("Travessi Aff."), ¶¶ 5, 12).
On April 1, 1987, she filed a complaint against Saks with the
NYCCHR, in which she alleged that Saks had harassed her, denied
her equal terms and conditions of employment, and retaliated
against her by not reinstating her after her medical leave,
because she is from South America and had a disability. (See
id. ¶ 3 & Ex. 1; Decl. of Thomas Catalano, Esq., dated Jan. 21,
2005 ("Catalano Decl."), Ex. C). Saks evidently responded to this
complaint through its in-house counsel. (See Catalano Decl. Ex.
D at 5).
On March 28, 1989, the NYCCHR issued a Determination and Order
finding that there was no probable cause to believe that Saks had
engaged in the discriminatory practices about which Travessi
complained. (Travessi Aff. Ex. 1 (Determination and Order dated
Mar. 28, 1989)). Thereafter, on January 8, 1990, the NYCCHR
vacated its Determination and Order after Travessi complained
that some of her witnesses had not been interviewed. (Id.
(Determination and Order dated Oct. 31, 1994)). Following a
remand and additional interviews of Travessi's witnesses, the NYCCHR once again determined that there was no probable cause to
believe that Saks had discriminated against Travessi. (Id.)
During this period, Travessi also filed a pro se complaint,
based on the same allegations, in the Eastern District of New
York. See Travessi v. Saks Fifth Avenue, No. 92 CV 0504 (EHN)
(SMG) (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 11, 1994); see also Catalano Decl. Ex. G
(Mem. and Order, dated Aug. 11, 1994). The complaint originally
was dismissed "without prejudice to the Plaintiff to re-file her
complaint within one year." (Catalano Decl. Ex. G at 1). Travessi
subsequently requested an additional year to file a new action
because the NYCCHR was continuing to investigate her claim.
(Id.). Although this request was granted, Travessi never
re-filed her complaint. (Id.; Catalano Decl. ¶ 7).
On July 6, 1998, Travessi wrote to the NYCCHR requesting to
have her case reopened because the NYCCHR failed to interview
relevant witnesses. (See Reply Decl. of Thomas Catalano, Esq.,
dated Mar. 4, 2005 ("Reply Decl."), Ex. A). In her letter,
Travessi claimed that she was unable to pursue the matter earlier
because she "had breast surgery and was feeling altogether weak."
In response, the NYCCHR contacted Saks' counsel, Frances
Maloney, Esq., to determine Saks' position. By letter dated
October 2, 1998, Ms. Maloney urged the NYCCHR to deny Ms.
Travessi's request. (Reply Decl. Ex. A). In preparing that
letter, Ms. Maloney apparently never spoke with anyone in Saks'
Human Resources Department, relying instead exclusively upon the documents that
Saks previously had filed in the NYCCHR case. (See Reply Decl.
of Francis Green Maloney, Esq., dated Mar. 2, 2005, ¶¶ 3, 4).
During the 1998 Christmas season, Travessi completed an
application for seasonal employment with Saks, with the
expectation that she would be kept on as a full-time employee
after the Christmas season. (Travessi Aff. ¶ 12). A few days
later, a Saks representative telephoned Travessi, stating that
there were "plenty of" positions available. (Id. ¶¶ 13, 14).
Indeed, the representative told Travessi "please Nerry, hurry up.
We need you. You have priority over other applicants because you
worked with us before. With your experience it would be great. We
give priority to people who worked for us before." (Id. ¶ 14).
The representative also scheduled an interview with Travessi.
(Id. ¶ 13). At the ensuing interview, the Saks representative
received a telephone call, during which she said to the caller,
in substance, "[C]omplaint? Why would she file a complaint
against me? I just met her.'" Thereafter, the Saks representative
advised Travessi that there had been a "mistake," and that were
no available positions after all. (Id. ¶¶ 16, 17, 18).*fn1 Although Travessi's form complaint alleges "national origin
retaliation," (Compl. ¶ 7), the gravamen of her allegations
appears to be that Saks refused to hire her in 1998 in
retaliation for a complaint that she had filed against Saks
eleven years earlier. (See Travessi Aff. ¶ 27). Travessi also
contends that Saks retaliated against her by giving other
potential employers untrue, negative references, thereby
preventing her from working anywhere else. (See id.). She has
provided no details, however, to substantiate this claim.
On February 17, 1999, Travessi made a dual filing of her
verified complaint with the NYCCHR and the federal Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), claiming that Saks
had unlawfully retaliated against her. (Catalano Decl. Ex. I). As
noted in my earlier Report & Recommendation in this case, the
NYCCHR dismissed Travessi's complaint for lack of probable cause
on December 21, 1999. (See Docket No. 16 (Report and Rec. dated June 30, 2004) at 3).
Thereafter, on April 27, 2000, the NYCCHR reaffirmed that
decision. (Id.). On August 11, 2000, the EEOC issued Travessi a
right-to-sue letter. (Id.).
Thereafter, Travessi's complaint in this action was timely
filed with the Pro Se Office on November 27, 2000. (See Docket
No. 2). Following the close of discovery regarding liability,
Saks filed its motion for summary judgment on January 24 (see
Docket Nos. 31-33); Travessi filed her opposing papers on
February 24 (Docket No. 34); and Saks filed its reply ...