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Toyama v. Hasaki Restaurant, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. New York

December 18, 2014

JUNKO TOYAMA, Plaintiff,
v.
HASAKI RESTAURANT, INC., Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

ALVIN K. HELLERSTEIN, District Judge.

Plaintiff Junko Toyama brought this action against her former employer, Defendant Hasaki Restaurant, Inc. and its owners, for sexual harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII") and the New York State Human Rights Law ("NYSHRL"). Plaintiff worked as a waitress at Hasaki from November, 2011 until February, 2013. Plaintiff alleged that the behavior of her co-workers created a hostile work environment and resulted in her constructive discharge from her employment as a waitress.

Defendants have moved for summary judgment at the conclusion of discovery pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. The evidence in the record, including Plaintiff's own deposition testimony, contradicts most of her allegations. Meanwhile, Plaintiff's opposition brief fails to include even a single citation to evidence in the record. Instead, Plaintiff submits a nineteen-page declaration attesting to her version of the facts while completely ignoring the extensive discovery already conducted in this case. Based on the record before me, I find that no reasonable juror could decide Plaintiff's Title VII claim in her favor. And without any federal claims remaining, I decline to exercise jurisdiction over Plaintiff's remaining state law claims. Accordingly, Defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted and the complaint is dismissed.

LEGAL STANDARD

A. A. Summary Judgment

Summary judgment is appropriate when "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). An issue of fact is genuine if "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Jeffreys v. City of New York, 426 F.3d 549, 554 (2d Cir. 2005). Ordinarily, the court's job is not to weigh the evidence, but rather to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial. Cioffi v. Averill Park Cent. Sch. Dist. Bd. of Educ., 444 F.3d 158, 162 (2d Cir. 2006). However, "Nile mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the Plaintiff's position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the plaintiff." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986).

In addition, it is "well settled in this circuit that a party's affidavit which contradicts his own prior deposition testimony should be disregarded on a motion for summary judgment. Mack v. United States, 814 F.2d 120, 124 (2d Cir. 1987). "If a party who has been examined at length on deposition could raise an issue of fact simply by submitting an affidavit contradicting his own prior testimony, this would greatly diminish the utility of summary judgment as a procedure for screening out sham issues of fact." Perma Research & Dev. Co. v. Singer Co., 410 F.2d 572, 578 (2d Cir. 1969).

B. Hostile Work Environment

A defendant violates Title VII's prohibition on hostile work environments when its conduct:

(1) Is sufficiently severe or pervasive that a reasonable person would find the work environment hostile or abusive;
(2) Creates an environment that the plaintiff subjectively perceives as hostile or abusive; and
(3) Creates such an environment because of the plaintiff's sex.

Patane v. Clark, 508 F.3d 106, 113 (2d Cir. 2007). However, Title VII does not create "a general civility code for the American workplace." Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Servs. Inc., 523 U.S. 75, 80 (1998). To survive summary judgment, the plaintiff must establish that the workplace was "permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult... that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of [her] employment and create an abusive working environment. Harris v. Forklift Systems, Inc., 510 U.S. 17, 21 (1993). "Isolated incidents generally will not suffice to establish a hostile work environment unless they are extraordinarily severe." Kaytor v. Elec. Boat Corp., 609 F.3d 537 (2d Cir. 2010). See also Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, ...


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