United States District Court, E.D. New York
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
GLASSER SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Nashaat Moza (“Moza” or “Plaintiff”)
brings this action against defendants New York City Health
and Hospitals Corp. (“HHC”), Kings County
Hospital Center (“KCHC”), and individuals Robert
Berding (“Berding”) and Natalie Woll
(“Woll”). Plaintiff alleges that he was
unlawfully terminated from his employment at KCHC because of
his race, ethnicity, national origin and age, and brings
claims for relief under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983,
and N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8-107 (“NYCHRL”).
Before the Court is Defendants' motion for summary
judgment. For the reasons stated herein, the motion is
following material facts, drawn from the parties' Local
Civil Rule 56.1 Statements and evidentiary submissions, are
undisputed unless otherwise noted.
Overview of Plaintiff's Job at KCHC
HHC is a public corporation that operates New York City's
municipal hospitals, including Defendant KCHC. ECF 28,
Defendants' Local Rule 56.1 Statement of Undisputed Facts
(“Def. Rule 56.1 St.”) at ¶¶ 1, 2.
Plaintiff Moza is of Egyptian national origin and is a Coptic
Christian. Id. at ¶ 7. He was born in 1952, and
received his medical degree in Egypt. Id. In
September 2008, Moza was hired by KCHC as an Assistant
Director of Risk Management. Id. at ¶ 8. Three
other employees shared Moza's position title, all of whom
were of Haitian descent: Patrick Belhomme (52 years old),
Lany Pierre (45 years old), and Sean Lewis (27 years old).
ECF 33, Opp., at p. 2. In that role, Moza was responsible for
reviewing cases for reportability to the state, which
included reviewing medical records, identifying incidents and
events that met certain state-mandated criteria, and
preparing analyses and reports for review meetings (called
Root Cause Analysis) and for submission to the New York State
Division of Health. Id. at ¶¶ 12, 13.
Plaintiff's First Four Evaluations
the start of his employment in September 2008 and June 2012,
Moza received four evaluations rating him as fully competent
or better. During the first two years of his employment, Moza
was evaluated for the periods ending on September 2, 2009 and
September 2, 2010 by his supervisor, Paulette Bainbridge
(“Bainbridge”). In each evaluation, Moza received
an overall performance score of C, “fully competent,
” and in some competency categories, a score of E,
“exceeds expectations.” Id. at
¶¶ 15, 17; ECF 34, Plaintiff's Local Rule 56.1
Counterstatement (“Pl. Rule 56.1 St.”) at
¶¶ 15, 17; see also ECF 29, Ex. L, 2009
Eval.; ECF 29, Ex. M, 2010 Eval. In January 2011, Isabel
McFarlane (“McFarlane”) replaced Bainbridge as
Moza's supervisor. Def. Rule 56.1 St. at ¶ 18.
McFarlane was born in 1960, and her husband is also of
Egyptian national origin and a Coptic Christian. Id.
at ¶ 19. McFarlane evaluated Moza on July 11, 2011 and
gave him an overall performance score of S, “superior,
” for the six month period between January and July
2011. Id. at ¶ 20; see also ECF 29,
Ex. N, 2011 Eval. McFarlane evaluated Moza again for the
period ending on June 30, 2012 and gave him an overall
performance score of E, “exceeds expectations.”
Def. Rule 56.1 St. at ¶ 21; see also ECF 29,
Ex. O, 2012 Eval.
Late-2012 Changes in the Risk Management Department
the end of 2012, the Risk Management department experienced
management changes. First, KCHC temporarily reorganized its
reporting structure, and McFarlane began reporting to
Defendant Robert Berding (“Berding”), the
hospital's Associate Executive Director. Def. Rule 56.1
St. at ¶ 22. Berding was born in 1953, one year after
Moza. Id. at ¶ 23. Around the same time,
McFarlane announced she was changing roles at the hospital,
which would leave a vacancy in her position as Senior
Associate Director of Risk Management. Id. at ¶
24. A job opening was posted on KCHC's website stating a
preference for an applicant who was both a nurse and a
lawyer. Id. at ¶¶ 24, 29; ECF 29, Ex. P,
Job Posting. In December 2012, Moza, who is not a lawyer,
applied for the position but was not offered the job. Def.
Rule 56.1 St. at ¶¶ 25, 27. Instead, Defendant
Natalie Woll (“Woll”), who is a nurse and a
lawyer, was hired to replace McFarlane and become Moza's
new supervisor, beginning in March 2013. Id. at
¶¶ 31, 32.
February 2013 Evaluation
claims that McFarlane's behavior towards him began to
change in late 2012. Def. Rule 56.1 St. at ¶ 33. He
attributes this change either to the fact that he applied for
her job or because Berding did not like him and influenced
McFarlane's opinion of him. Id. at ¶ 34.
McFarlane, however, testified that a specific event
significantly influenced her impression of Moza. Around
February 2013, Moza completed a report of an incident at the
hospital that was reviewed at a Root Cause Analysis meeting.
Id. at ¶ 35. Following the meeting, McFarlane
discovered that Moza had omitted critical facts from his
report, requiring a second Root Cause Analysis meeting.
Id. McFarlane testified that this was the
“first time that a case had to be taken again to Root
Cause, ” and that Moza's mistake was “very
significant.” Id. Moza, however, contends that
he excluded the pertinent information from the report under
McFarlane's direction. Pl. Rule 56.1 St. at ¶ 36.
After he fixed the report, Moza testified that McFarlane
shamed him in front of his colleagues by insinuating he
lacked computer skills. Id. at ¶ 37.
anticipation of her departure, McFarlane evaluated Moza for
the period between July 1, 2012 and February 28, 2013.
Although she had evaluated Moza favorably in the past, she
gave him an overall performance score of NI, “needs
improvement, ” on that evaluation. Id. at
¶ 38; Def. Rule 56.1 St. at ¶ 38. In the
evaluation, McFarlane summarized the circumstances of
Moza's deficient report, and stated that Plaintiff
“[f]ailed to recognize key events in the hospital
course which impacted the analysis of case, ” that he
arrived late to meetings and missed deadlines, and that he
struggled with teamwork and accepting criticism. Id.
at ¶ 39; see also ECF 29, Ex. R, Feb. 2013
disputes the circumstances surrounding that evaluation. He
contends that on February 22, 2013, McFarlane asked him to
sign a blank evaluation form. Pl. Rule 56.1 St. at ¶ 38.
Sometime later, Moza says, Berding told him that McFarlane
had evaluated Moza negatively but refused to show him the
evaluation. Id. at ¶ 38. The February 2013
Evaluation itself is revealing. The evaluation contains
signatures of McFarlane, Berding and Moza. McFarlane's
signature is dated February 28, 2013, and Berding and
Moza's are dated May 14, 2013. ECF 29, Ex. R., Feb. 2013
Eval. Additionally, the evaluation contains a handwritten
note from Berding dated May 14, 2013 which states that he
reviewed that evaluation with Moza in March at which time
Moza was “encouraged to improve performance under new
director, ” but that “employee has continued to
submit unacceptable work products and disregard instructions
of the new director.” Id.; see also
Def. Rule 56.1 St. at ¶ 62.
Woll Becomes Plaintiff's Supervisor in March
who is of Russian descent and was born in 1969, succeeded
McFarlane in March 2013. Id. at ¶¶ 41, 42.
Moza contends that Woll did not like him from the start and
discriminated against him because he is Egyptian.
Id. at ¶ 43; Pl. Rule 56.1 St. at ¶ 43. He
identifies a number of incidents that, he says, are
indicative of Woll's dislike of him. For example, Woll
asked Moza to sit in the back of the room with his colleagues
during Root Cause Analysis meetings, as opposed to sitting
near the front to take notes as he had done in the past, and
told him that she should be the one to speak on behalf of the
Risk Management Department, not him. Id. at ¶
45. Additionally, Moza says that Woll attempted to erode his