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Baron v. Advanced Asset & Prop. Mgmt. Solutions, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. New York

April 29, 2014

DAVID BARON, Plaintiff,
v.
ADVANCED ASSET AND PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS, LLC, Defendant

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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For Plaintiff: Michael G. O'Neill, Esq., Aaron N. Solomon, Esq., Theresa Bui Wade, Esq., LAW OFFICES OF MICHAEL G. O'NEILL, New York, NY.

For Defendant: Riyaz Gulam Bhimani, Esq., ECHERT SEAMANS CHERIN and MELLOTT LLC, White Plains, NY; Jeffrey W. Larroca, Esq., Nicholas T. Moraites, Esq., ECHERT SEAMANS CHERIN and MELLOTT LLC, Washington, DC.

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MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Denis R. Hurley, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff David Baron (" plaintiff" or " Baron" ) commenced this action against Advanced Asset and Property Management Solutions, LLC. (" AAPMS" or " defendant" ) for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (" ADA" ) and New York's Human Rights Law (" NYSHRL" ) by terminating plaintiff's employment because of his disability. Presently before the Court is defendant's motion for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (" Rule" ) 56. For the reasons set forth below, defendant's motion is denied.

Background

The following material facts, drawn from the parties' Local Civil Rule 56.1 Statements and evidentiary submissions, are undisputed unless otherwise noted.

In March, 2009, AAPMS, a property management company, hired plaintiff as an Assistant Controller for its office in Uniondale, New York. Plaintiff's job duties included, among other things, reviewing monthly financial statements and cash forecasts and handling corporate general ledgers and reporting for properties. Plaintiff replaced his predecessor, Elana Morin, who was fired due to poor work performance. Plaintiff notes that his hiring form clearly indicated that he was hired to replace Morin.

Plaintiff's Work Performance

The parties disagree as to the quality of plaintiff's work product. Defendant claims that Baron displayed " [s]ignificant work performance issues [that] began to occur shortly after [his] hire" and persisted throughout his employment. (Def.'s R. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ ¶ 4, 5.) According to defendant, plaintiff had difficulty generating cash forecasts. Additionally, defendant asserts that plaintiff was late cutting checks and issuing management fees, made errors on cash sheets, struggled in transferring data, failed to timely deliver weekly cash management or other reports, failed to deliver accurate cash management reports, entered spreadsheet information incorrectly, and made formula errors. According to defendant, plaintiff made errors on at least a weekly basis, failed to file a single monthly property management report in a timely fashion, failed to enter all transactions on a daily basis, and failed to correct errors or improve his performance. Generally, plaintiff denies these allegations and asserts that the troubled relationship between two of plaintiff's supervisors, Charles Zerbo (" Zerbo" ) and Dana Connelly (" Connelly" ) caused many of these alleged problems.

Plaintiff's Disability

In 2009, plaintiff developed aortic insufficiency caused by aortic valve leaking resulting in an insufficient volume of blood ejected through the aortic valve. In the middle of 2009, plaintiff's disease became so severe that his treating physician referred him to a cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon for an aortic valve replacement. About five or six weeks before he was terminated, plaintiff was advised by his doctor that he needed open heart surgery. It is undisputed that plaintiff is no longer disabled and currently has no physical limitations.[1] It is also undisputed that plaintiff's alleged disability did not affect his job performance.

Plaintiff's Termination

According to defendant, as a result of plaintiff's poor performance, defendant

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hired Esmeralda Vicente (" Vicente" ) to replace plaintiff. Defendant claims that discussions regarding plaintiff's termination began weeks prior to June 25, 2009, the date it placed the ad that resulted in Vicente's hire, and before defendant was aware of plaintiff's heart condition. According to defendant, plaintiff never informed anyone at AAPMS about ...


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