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Rahiym-Amir v. Bellamy of Corinth

December 26, 2007

ABDUR RAHIYM-AMIR, PLAINTIFF,
v.
BELLAMY OF CORINTH, INC.; MICHAEL SMITH, AS GENERAL MANAGER; AND MELISSA SMITH, AS ASSISTANT MANAGER, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Scullin, Senior Judge

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff's amended complaint contains the following three causes of action: (1) against all Defendants for disparate treatment and hostile work environment based on gender pursuant to Title VII and New York Executive Law ("New York Human Rights Law"); (2) against all Defendants for retaliation pursuant to Title VII; and (3) against all Defendants for retaliation pursuant to New York Human Rights Law. See generally Dkt. No. 22. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that he began working for Defendants on or about August 20, 2002, and that Defendants terminated his employment on or about December 19, 2002, under circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination. See id. at ¶¶ 13-14. He further contends that Defendant Melissa Smith, who was the Assistant Manager, subjected him to discrimination by (1) touching his buttocks and genitals on several occasions and (2) sending and/or giving him sexually explicit letters. See id. at ¶ 17. Plaintiff also claims that this conduct created a hostile and/or abusive working environment, that he complained to Defendant Michael Smith, the General Manager, about Defendant Melissa Smith's conduct, and nothing was done, and that there was a causal connection between his complaints and the termination of his employment. See id. at ¶¶ 21, 23-24.

The Court previously granted Plaintiff's motions for default judgment as to the issue of liability against Defendant Bellamy of Corinth, Inc., see Dkt. No. 44, and against Defendants Michael Smith and Melissa Smith, see Dkt. No. 60. The Court also instructed Plaintiff to file papers in support of his request for damages. See id. It is Plaintiff's request for damages that is currently before the Court.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Rule 55(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

Rule 55(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that, in the context of a default judgment, the court may conduct a hearing to determine damages or, "in lieu of a hearing,

[the court] may rely on detailed affidavits and documentary evidence, along with its own personal knowledge of the record." Szatkowski v. Maxwell's Bar & Grill/RID Enters., No. 04-CV-6001, 2006 WL 1389772, *1 (W.D.N.Y. May 19, 2006) (citation omitted). Whether or not the court decides to hold a hearing, "a court may not merely accept a plaintiff's statement as to damages. Rather, a court must take the necessary steps to establish damages with reasonable certainty." Id. (citation omitted).

In this case, Plaintiff has submitted a detailed affidavit in support of his request for damages. In that affidavit, he states that, as a result of Defendants' actions, the Court should award him the following amounts:

1. An amount sufficient to punish both Michael and Melissa Smith for their contempt of this Court's Orders, including sanctions for the same

2. Lost wages from December 19, 2002 (date of wrongful termination) through approximately October 23, 2003 (date of recent incarceration). (I was employed by defendants at IHOP as a night cook earning approximately $10.00 per hour, with no other benefits, and worked approximately 40 hours per week which equals $400.00 per week for 44 weeks)

$17,600.00

3. An amount for pain and suffering (plaintiff lost his self-worth, self-esteem and began using drugs again, which ultimately caused him to be incarcerated again which also lead [sic] to him not being able to see his childred. [sic] Plaintiff had nightmares, felt ashamed and was both physically and mentally stressed)

$50,000.00

4. Amount for medical expenses (This expense was incurred at a rehabilitation center known as Altamont House, Route 156, P.O. Box D-2, Altamont, NY)

$40,000.00

5. An amount as follows for the loss of my possessions which was forced to sell to take care of my family and myself:

-- sale of all jewelry worth $3,700.00

-- sale of my wedding rings and my girlfriend's engagement ring valued at $600.00

-- sale of 2 TVs valued at $2,700.00

-- sale of RCA surround sound system valued at $600.00

-- sale of stereo system valued at $3,900.00

-- sale of car stereo/speaker/amp system ...


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