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Lolonga-Gedeon v. Child & Family Services

United States District Court, W.D. New York

May 29, 2015

ROSALIE LOLONGA-GEDEON, Plaintiff,
v.
CHILD & FAMILY SERVICES, Defendant.

DECISION AND ORDER

ELIZABETH A. WOLFORD, District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Rosalie Lolonga-Gedeon ("Plaintiff") has sued her former employer, Defendant Child & Family Services ("Defendant"), for discrimination based on race, color, and national origin[1] under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et. seq. ("Title VII") and the New York Human Rights Law, N.Y. Exec. L. §§ 290 et. seq. (the "HRL"). Plaintiff asserts claims of disparate treatment, retaliation, and hostile work environment.

This case was initially assigned to the Honorable Richard J. Arcara, United States District Judge. On July 25, 2008, Judge Arcara entered an order referring this matter to the Honorable Leslie G. Foschio, United States Magistrate Judge, for hearing and disposition of all non-dispositive motions or applications, supervision of discovery, and to hear and report upon dispositive motions. (Dkt. 7).

Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment on May 24, 2013. (Dkt. 187). Plaintiff opposed the motion. (Dkt. 191). On October 28, 2014, Judge Foschio issued a Report and Recommendation on Defendant's motion in which he recommended that summary judgment be denied as to Plaintiff's Title VII disparate treatment, retaliation, and hostile work environment claims, and granted as to Plaintiff's state law claims. (Dkt. 201).

On December 5, 2014, Defendant filed objections to the Report and Recommendation. (Dkt. 204). Defendant objects to the portions of the Report and Recommendation recommending denial of summary judgment with respect to Plaintiff's Title VII disparate treatment, retaliation, and hostile work environment claims. (Dkt. 204-2 at 8).

For the reasons set forth below, the Court adopts the Report and Recommendation in part and rejects it in part. Specifically, the Court adopts Judge Foschio's findings with respect to Plaintiff's state law claims, disparate treatment claim, and hostile work environment claim, and rejects them with respect to Plaintiff's retaliation claim. Defendant's motion for summary judgment is thus granted as to Plaintiff's retaliation claim and state law claims, and denied as to Plaintiff's disparate treatment claim and hostile work environment claim.

BACKGROUND

The factual and procedural background of this case is set forth in detail in the Report and Recommendation. ( See Dkt. 201 at 2-19). Familiarity with the Report and Recommendation is assumed for purposes of this Decision and Order.

DISCUSSION

I. Legal Standard

"Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), this Court must make a de novo determination of those portions of the Report and Recommendation to which objections have been made." Crowe v. Leroy Cent. Sch. Dist., 949 F.Supp.2d 435, 438 (W.D.N.Y. 2013). The Court must therefore consider de novo whether Defendants are entitled to summary judgment with respect to Plaintiff's Title VII disparate treatment, retaliation, and hostile work environment claims. "The Court reviews unobjected-to findings for clear error." Am. Ins. Co. v. City of Jamestown, 914 F.Supp.2d 377, 384 (W.D.N.Y. 2012).

Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that summary judgment should be granted if the moving party establishes "that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986) (Rule 56 "mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial."). The Court should grant summary judgment if, after considering the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, the court finds that no rational jury could find in favor of that party. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007) (citing Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986)).

Once the moving party has met its burden, the opposing party "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.... [T]he nonmoving party must come forward with specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. '" Caldarola v. Calabrese, 298 F.3d 156, 160 (2d Cir. 2002) (quoting Matsushita Elec., 475 U.S. at 586-87) (emphasis in original). "[T]he mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise ...


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