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Jonathan Lugo v. the City of New York

August 3, 2012


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


Plaintiff Jonathon Lugo alleges that while employed as a police officer with the New York City Police Department ("NYPD"), he was subjected to race discrimination, a hostile work environment, retaliation, and malicious prosecution.*fn1 He brings claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), the New York State Human Rights Law ("NYSHRL"), the New York City Human Rights Law ("NYCHRL"), and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("§ 1983") against the City of New York (the "City") and nine current or former NYPD employees (collectively, "defendants").*fn2

Defendants move for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. For the following reasons, that motion is granted.


The following facts, which are taken from the parties' Rule 56.1 statements and supporting documentation, are undisputed unless otherwise noted. Where disputed, they are presented in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See, e.g., Federal Ins. Co. v. American Home Assurance Co., 639 F.3d 557, 566 (2d Cir. 2011).

Lugo, who is Hispanic, joined the NYPD as a police officer on July 5, 1989 and was assigned to a transit bureau in Brooklyn, New York. On July 28, 2004, while off duty, Lugo and a friend went to a strip club called "Curves," located on Staten Island. Lugo was aware that his friend had a criminal record. After a fight broke out at the club, Lugo and his friend exited the building. Once outside, Lugo discharged multiple rounds of bullets from his firearm into the club vestibule. He did not report the incident to the NYPD. Also on July 28, 2004, Lugo was arrested and charged with reckless endangerment by the Richmond County District Attorney's Office (the "Richmond D.A."). The Richmond D.A. dropped those charges on May 30, 2006.

On August 11, 2004, the NYPD issued five disciplinary charges against Lugo in connection with the incident at Curves: (1) reckless endangerment for firing multiple rounds from his weapon; (2) failure to request the response of a patrol supervisor after the incident, as required by NYPD regulations; (3) knowingly associating with a criminal; (4) knowingly submitting a false Firearms Discharge Report; and (5) providing false statements during an Official Patrol Guide interview. On October 23, 2006, Lugo pled guilty to charges two and three.

On June 9, 2006, Lugo was interviewed as part of an official internal NYPD investigation of the incident at Curves. Lugo admitted that he discharged three rounds from his service weapon as "warning shots" in response to a group of patrons who attacked him, and "three additional rounds into the lower portion of the [club's] glass doors." Def's Ex. B, Investigation Report. He also admitted that he knew that his companion at the club had a criminal record and had spent one year in jail, and that "his actions were reckless and endangered the lives of civilians." Id.

On March 1, 2007, following an administrative trial at which Lugo was represented by counsel and testified on his own behalf, the NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Trials issued a decision finding Lugo guilty of all five disciplinary charges and recommending his termination. Lugo was terminated on July 9, 2007.

Lugo filed a charge of discrimination with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on April 17, 2008. In that charge, he referred to the following allegedly discriminatory incidents: (1) in late 2004 or early 2005, following the Curves incident, Lugo was suspended for 34 days without pay; (2) in Spring 2005 his supervisor, Lieutenant Becker,*fn3 harassed him using "racial comments and curses," saying on one occasion that "your kind don't get it"; (3) in Spring 2005 Lugo requested assistance in responding to a complaint but Becker would not permit other officers to assist him; and (4) in Summer 2005 Lugo was charged with failing to file proper paperwork in response to a complaint, and was disciplined by losing one vacation day.*fn4 Def's Ex. F, EEOC Charge.


As a preliminary matter, defendants argue that Lugo's claims are time barred.

A. Governing Statutes of Limitations

A Title VII action is timely if a plaintiff (1) files a charge with the EEOC within 300 days of an allegedly discriminatory act; (2) receives an EEOC "right to sue" letter; and (3) commences the action within 90 days of receiving the right to sue letter. See Holt v. KMI-Continental, Inc., 95 F.3d 123, 131 (2d Cir. 1996). The statute of limitations for claims under the NYSHRL and the NYCHRL is three years. See Kassner v. 2nd Ave. Delicatessen, Inc., 496 F.3d 229, 238 (2d Cir. 2007). The statute ...

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