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Garnett-Bishop v. New York Cmty. Bancorp, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. New York

September 22, 2014

NATALIE GARNETT-BISHOP, Plaintiff,
v.
NEW YORK COMMUNITY BANCORP, INC., and NEW YORK COMMUNITY BANK, Defendants. KATHLEEN WARSHUN and LYNETTE TIGER, Plaintiff,
v.
NEW YORK COMMUNITY BANCORP, INC., and NEW YORK COMMUNITY BANK, Defendants. DONNA CAPPELLO, DONNA BERCHIOLLI, SHANNON BYRNES, THERESA FALCO, LESLIE MORENCY, MARIE ALEXANDER, KATIA PAGE, CELESTE MCCORMACK, AUDREY ZUCKERMAN, MONICA ORTEGA, GELSOMINA TIERNO, JAQUELINE RAMOS, NANSI GHOBRIAL, MARY ELLEN CASSIDY, CANDICE PETRANCOSTA and ADDOLORATA QUILES, Plaintiffs,
v.
NEW YORK COMMUNITY BANCORP, INC., NEW YORK COMMUNITY BANK, JOSEPH FICALORA, ROBERT WANN, WILLIAM DISALVATORE, CYNTHIA FLYNN Defendants. DEE COOPER JONES, CLAIRE BYRNES, ILENE BRANFMAN, GERALDINE COLLINS, HELEN ARNIOTES and GINA DECRESCENZO, Plaintiffs,
v.
NEW YORK COMMUNITY BANCORP, INC., NEW YORK COMMUNITY BANK, JOSEPH FICALORA, ROBERT WANN, WILLIAM DISALVATORE and CYNTHIA FLYNN Defendants. SAMANTHA ZIELINSKI, Plaintiff,
v.
NEW YORK COMMUNITY BANCORP, INC., NEW YORK COMMUNITY BANK, JOSEPH FICALORA, ROBERT WANN, WILLIAM DISALVATORE, CYNTHIA FLYNN Defendants

For Natalie Garnett-Bishop, Kathleen Warshun and Lynette Tiger, Plaintiffs: Ann Willoughby, Esq., Of Counsel, Willoughby & Giordano, Williston Park, New York.

For Donna Cappello, Donna Berchiolli, Shannon Byrnes, Theresa Falco, Leslie Morency, Marie Alexander, Katia Page, Celeste McCormack, Audrey Zuckerman, Moncia Ortega, Gelsomina Tierno, Jacqueline Ramos, Nansi Ghorbrial, Mary Ellen Cassidy, Candice Petrancosta, Addolorata Quiles and Samantha Zielenski, Plaintiffs: Patrick W. Johnson, Esq., Brooklyn, NY.

For Dee Cooper Jones, Claire Byrnes, Ilene Branfman, Geraldine Collins, Helen Arniotes, Gina Descrescenzo, Linda Smith, Ann Abbruzzese, Maryann Golinello and Jillian Triano, Plaintiffs: Andrew G. Sfouggatakis, Esq., Of Counsel, Theodore Pavlounis, Esq., P.C., Brooklyn, New York.

For New York Community Bancorp, Inc., New York Community Bank Corp., Inc., New York Community Bank, Joseph Ficalora, Robert Wann, William Disalvatore and Cynthia Flynn, Defendants: Amy Laura Ventry-Kagan, Esq. James P. Smith, Esq. Robert M. Wolff, Esq., Of Counsel, Little Mendelson P.C., Melville, NY.

Page 322

MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER

ARTHUR D. SPATT, United States District Judge.

Five separate actions were brought against the Defendants New York Community Bancorp, Inc., New York Community Bank Corp., Inc., New York Community Bank (" NYCB" ), Joseph Ficalora (" Ficalora" ), Robert Wann (" Wann" ), William Disalvatore (" Disalvatore" ) and/or Cynthia Flynn (" Flynn," and collectively, the " Defendants" ) arising from a reduction in force that occurred on October 13, 2011.

In this regard, on October 13, 2011, NYCB terminated the employment of approximately 265 employees working in its New York retail banking operations. The twenty-six Plaintiffs in the above-captioned actions represent some of these terminated employees. They claim, among other things, that the Defendants action in terminating

Page 323

them was the result of employment discrimination based on age, race, national origin, gender and/or disability and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. (" Title VII" ); the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 621, et seq. (the " ADEA" ); the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000ff, et seq. (the " GINA" ); the American With Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq. (the " ADA" ); § 102 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 U.S.C. 1981a; and the laws of the state of New York. The Plaintiffs also bring a claim pursuant to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq. (the " WARN Act" ).

On January 8, 2014, the Court granted the Defendants' unopposed motion to consolidate the five separate actions pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (" Fed. R. Civ. P." ) 42 and directed the Plaintiffs to file a Consolidated Complaint incorporating the claims of the twenty-six Plaintiffs. The cases were consolidated as one action under Case Number 12-CV-2285, which was the first of the five lawsuits to be filed, and the other four cases were closed. In addition, the Court dismissed without prejudice all pending motions with leave to renew after the Plaintiffs filed a Consolidated Complaint.

Presently before the Court is the Defendants' motion for summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 as against the Plaintiff Natalie Garnett-Bishop, who asserts federal claims under Title VII, the ADEA and the WARN Act and state law claims under the New York State Human Rights Law (" NYSHRL" ) and New York State Labor Law (" NYSLL" ). The Court also notes that the Defendants have moved pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b) to partially dismiss the Consolidated Complaint, as well as seek an order from this Court striking certain exhibits attached to the Plaintiffs' opposition to the Defendants' motion to dismiss. However, at this time, the Court only considers the Defendants' motion for summary judgment.

For the reasons that follow, the Court denies without prejudice the Defendants' motion for summary judgment as premature. The Court directs the Defendants to renew their motion when all discovery is completed in the consolidated action.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Underlying Facts Pertaining to NYCB's October 13, 2011 Reduction-in-Force

Collectively, the five actions before the Court involve a total of twenty-six Plaintiffs, all of whom are former NYCB employees. NYCB is a banking institution incorporated under the laws of the state of New York and governed by the federal banking laws of the United States. NYCB is a subsidiary of New York Community Bancorp, Inc., also referred to as New York Community Bank Corp., Inc. Ficalora was the President and Chief Executive Officer (" CEO" ) of NYCB; Wann was the Chief Operating Officer (" COO" ) of NYCB; Disalvatore was a Director and assistant to the COO of NYCB; Flynn was a Chief Administrative Officer (" CAO" ) of NYCB. At all relevant times, NYCB had more than 1,000 employees.

Prior to October 13, 2011, NYCB classified its employees under one of the following four job classifications: (1) Branch Manager (" BM" ); (2) Assistant Branch Manager (" ABM" ); (3) Branch Management Associate (" BMA" ); and (4) Financial Services Associate (" FSA" ). In addition, NYCB used a " float pool," which was comprised of FSAs who worked on an " as needed" basis and floated between branches within a proximate geographic region.

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On October 13, 2011, NYCB terminated approximately 265 employees. This reduction-in-force was decided upon because NYCB had observed decreased levels of customers coming into their branches and, thus, wanted to make its staffing more efficient. In this regard, NYCB completed a branch-by-branch review involving modeling its retail branch workforce against industry benchmarks. Further, NYCB hired a consultant to oversee the workflow and workforce at NYCB branches, as well as at ...


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