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December 19, 2005.


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




  Stephanie Jowers ("Jowers"), who is white, brought this action against DME Interactive Holdings ("DME") and Darien Dash ("Dash") to recover damages she suffered when the defendants failed to negotiate an employment contract with her and, ultimately, terminated her employment, because of her race, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981, as well as state and municipal human rights laws.

  By order of the court dated September 22, 2004, the defendants' counsel was relieved of the obligation of continuing to represent the defendants. Since that time, the defendants have failed to defend against this action. Therefore, on March 16, 2005, your Honor ordered that a default judgment be entered against them. Thereafter, 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 the plaintiff.

  The Court directed Jowers to serve and file proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, and an inquest memorandum setting forth her proof of damages, costs of this action, and attorney's fees. The Court also directed the defendants to serve and file any opposing memoranda, affidavits and exhibits, as well as any alternative findings of fact and conclusions of law it deemed appropriate. The Court received the parties' respective submissions and has considered them.


  Based upon the submissions made by the parties, the complaint filed in the instant action and the Court's review of the entire court file in this action, the following findings of fact are made:

  On May 5, 2000, Jowers was terminated from her position as a senior manager in DME's Places of Color Division ("PCD"). At the time, DME was a high-profile minority-managed internet company, led by Dash. Dash is a black man, who is the company's chief executive officer and its principal shareholder. Jowers began her tenure at DME as an independent contractor. It was agreed that her annual salary would be $75,000, pending the execution of a written employment contract. However, no such contract was ever provided to Jowers.

  Jowers was responsible for the day-to-day management of PCD's staff, most of whom were persons of color. In the weeks preceding Jowers's termination, PCD staff members were openly hostile towards her. DME employees assigned to PCD refused to be managed by Jowers because of her race, and voiced their discontent with having to work under her supervision. Jowers' direct supervisor, Wendy Dubit ("Dubit"), and DME officers, including Dash, were aware of PCD's racially hostile work environment. During staff meetings attended by Dash, PCD staff members announced that they refused to work for Jowers because of her race. In addition, Dubit told Jowers that DME's chief operating officer, Thomas O'Rourke ("O'Rourke"), wanted a black person in the plaintiff's job because it would improve the company.

  Approximately one week before the plaintiff's employment was terminated, O'Rourke restructured Jowers' position so that her direct contact with PCD's staff would be reduced. On May 5, 2000, O'Rourke informed Jowers that her employment was terminated. O'Rourke explained that the decision to terminate Jowers' employment was an economic one, since Jowers had been an excellent employee. Later that day, Dash told Jowers that her termination was not the result of DME's financial condition, but rather, was a consequence of Jowers not being a "good fit." Dash alluded to the complaints made by PCD staff. Jowers maintains that her employment by DME was terminated because of her race.

  Jowers was not paid for the last 12 days she was employed by DME. Moreover, Jowers was not reimbursed for the expenses she incurred during that twelve-day period. Jowers' submissions aver that she is entitled to recover: $3,461.54 for unpaid wages owed to her for the last 12 days she was employed by the defendants, plus 25 percent of that amount in liquidated damages; $358.51 for employment-related expenses she incurred during the same twelve-day period; $50,000 in back pay; $100,000 in compensatory damages for emotional distress; prejudgment interest; and $250,000 in punitive damages.

  Dash maintains that he is not personally liable to the plaintiff for any damages she seeks to recover. However, notwithstanding Dash's assertion, the defendants contend that the plaintiff is entitled to recover: $3,819.95 for unpaid salary and expenses; $11,538.48 in back pay; nominal damages for pain and suffering; prejudgment interest; and, should ...

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