Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Chen-Oster v. Goldman, Sachs & Co.

United States District Court, S.D. New York

April 12, 2017



          ANALISA TORRES United States District Judge.

         In this employment discrimination case, Plaintiffs, H. Christina Chen-Oster, Lisa Parisi, Shanna Orlich, Allison Gamba, and Mary De Luis, allege that their former employer, Defendants Goldman, Sachs & Co. and the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (collectively, "Goldman Sachs"), violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. ("Title VII"), and the New York City Human Rights Law, N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8-101 et seq. ("NYCHRL"), by systematically disfavoring female employees and denying them equal compensation and advancement opportunities based on their gender. Defendants move to dismiss Gamba's and De Luis' claims for injunctive and declaratory relief. Plaintiffs move to file a supplemental complaint. For the reasons stated below, both motions to dismiss are DENIED, and Plaintiffs' motion to file a supplemental complaint is GRANTED.


         I. Relevant Procedural History

         The Court assumes familiarity with facts of the case and recites only briefly the procedural history relevant to these motions. On September 16, 2010, Plaintiffs Chen-Oster, Parisi, and Orlich brought this putative class action alleging intentional discrimination, disparate impact discrimination, retaliation, and pregnancy discrimination under Title VII and the NYCHRL. ECF No. 5. On April 13, 2015, Plaintiffs Gamba and De Luis moved to intervene, ECF No. 377, which the Honorable James C. Francis granted on August 3, 2015, ECF No. 410. Defendants appealed Magistrate Judge Francis' order and, on June 6, 2016, this Court affirmed the order. ECF No. 450.

         Plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint on August 3, 2015, which included allegations regarding Gamba and De Luis. ECF No. 411. On September 28, 2015, Defendants moved to dismiss Gamba's claims for injunctive and declaratory relief. ECF No. 441. By letter dated May 9, 2016, Defendants notified the Court that De Luis no longer worked for Goldman Sachs, ECF No. 446, and subsequently moved to dismiss De Luis' claims for injunctive and declaratory relief, ECF No. 457.

         On July 1, 2016, Plaintiffs filed a motion to file a supplement to the second amended complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(d) to add factual allegations and causes of action related to De Luis' departure from Goldman Sachs. ECF No. 455. Finally, on March 9, 2017, Plaintiffs requested to amend their proposed supplement to include that De Luis received a right to sue letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. ECF No. 477; see also ECF No. 477-1 ("Am. Suppl. Compl."). Defendants oppose the initial motion to file a supplement to the second amended complaint, ECF No. 456, but do not oppose the substitution of the new proposed supplement for the old, ECF No. 478.

         II. Gamba

         Gamba worked for Goldman Sachs in New York from 2001 to August 2014. Second Am. Compl. ¶ 16. In 2003, Gamba joined the New York Stock Exchange Equities Department. Id. ¶ 125. That year, she was promoted to Vice President. Id. Although she was eligible to be promoted to Managing Director in 2005, she was never promoted again. Id. ¶ 133.

         Gamba claims that Goldman Sachs "evaluated her performance more harshly than it did similarly performing males, paid her less in base compensation and bonuses than it paid similarly situated men, and promoted equally or less qualified men instead of her to positions she was qualified to hold." Id. ¶ 126. For instance, she states that in 2007, her manager "indicated that Gamba would be nominated for promotion to Managing Director, but suggested that she consider 'adopting' instead of becoming pregnant." Id. ¶ 127. Gamba took maternity leave for part of 2008. Id. ¶ 129. That same year, Goldman considered and rejected Gamba for a promotion to Managing Director, promoting a male trader whose "trading performance was not as good as" hers, id. ¶ 130, despite the fact that Gamba's revenue from her stock portfolio rose from $1.2 million in 2005 to over $6 million in 2007 and to $9.5 million in 2008, id. ¶¶ 127, 129. In August 2014, her employment with Goldman Sachs ended when Goldman Sachs "divested itself of the department in which she worked." Id. ¶¶ 16. Among other remedies, Gamba seeks reinstatement to her "rightful position[] at Goldman Sachs." Id. ¶ 205(j).

         III. De Luis

         De Luis began working at Goldman Sachs in June 2010 as a Senior Analyst in the Investment Management Division. Id. ¶¶ 18, 137. She worked first out of Miami, Florida and then in Dallas, Texas, but regularly "travel[ed] to and works from the Goldman Sachs's New York, New York office." Id. ¶ 18. In 2012, she was promoted to the position of Associate. Id. ¶ 137. In 2014, she was made a Vice President. Id. However, De Luis alleges that she has been evaluated unfairly based on her gender, id. ¶ 139, and paid less than her male colleagues throughout her employment, id. ¶ 140.

         In March 2016, De Luis requested a transfer from Goldman Sachs' Dallas office to its Miami office, due to the relocation of her significant other. Am. Suppl. Compl. ¶ 5. Prior to her participation in the present lawsuit, De Luis "had been assured by Goldman Sachs in March 2012 and September 2014 . . . that relocation to Miami in 2016 would be possible." Id. ¶ 6. However, after requesting the transfer, De Luis was informed that she could work in Dallas or New York "or apply and be considered for an inferior position in Miami." Id. ¶¶ 5-6. De Luis claims that Goldman Sachs denied her transfer request because "her supervisory function could not be carried out remotely, " even though coordination of her team was being done remotely "as many members of the team were located in New York or regional offices." Id. ¶ 8. De Luis claims that Goldman Sachs denied her transfer request in retaliation for her role as a plaintiff in this case. Id. ¶¶ 9, 10. De Luis resigned on May 2, 2016. Id. ¶ 11. The amended supplemental complaint states causes of action for retaliation under Title VII and the NYCHRL. Id. ¶¶ 12-21. She seeks reinstatement. Id. ¶¶ 16, 21, 22.


         I. Legal Principles

         Defendants have moved to dismiss Gamba's and De Luis' claims for injunctive and declaratory relief pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). Before turning to each motion, the Court addresses certain legal issues raised in both motions.

         A. 12(b)(1) Motion

         In resolving a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, "the district court must take all uncontroverted facts in the complaint... as true, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the party asserting jurisdiction." Tandon v. Captain's Cove Marina of Bridgeport, Inc., 752 F.3d 239, 243 (2d Cir. 2014). However, "[w]here jurisdictional facts are placed in dispute, the court has the power and obligation to decide issues of fact by reference to evidence outside the pleadings, such as affidavits." APWUv. Potter, 343 F.3d 619, 627 (2d Cir. 2003) (quoting LeBlanc v. Cleveland, 198 F.3d 353, 356 (2d Cir. 1999)).

         B. Standing

         A central issue to both motions to dismiss is an opinion issued by the Honorable Leonard B. Sand, dated July 12, 2012. Chen-Osterv. Goldman, Sachs & Co., 877 F.Supp.2d 113 (S.D.N.Y. 2012), ECF No. 158. Judge Sand held that, under Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 564 U.S. 338 (2011), a former employee lacks standing to bring claims against her former employer for injunctive and declaratory relief. See Chen-Oster, 877 F.Supp.2d at 121-22. Plaintiffs contend that former employees, such as Gamba or De Luis, may have standing for injunctive and declaratory relief if they seek reinstatement, and ask this Court to reconsider Judge Sand's ruling. The parties agree that this request implicates the law of the case doctrine, which applies when a court "reconsiders its own ruling on an issue in the absence of an intervening ruling on the issue by a higher court." United States v. Quintieri, 306 F.3d 1217, 1225 (2d Cir. 2002).

         The law of the case doctrine instructs '"that when a court has ruled on an issue, that decision should generally be adhered to by that court in subsequent stages in the same case' unless 'cogent' and 'compelling' reasons militate otherwise." Id. (citation omitted) (first quoting United States v. Uccio, 940 F.2d 753, 758 (2d Cir. 1991); and then quoting United States v. Tenzer,213 F.3d 34, 39 (2d Cir. 2000)). Reconsideration of a prior decision maybe "justified in compelling circumstances, consisting principally of (1) an intervening change in controlling law, (2) new evidence, or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or to prevent manifest injustice." United States v. Carr, 557 F.3d 93, 102 (2d Cir. 2009). The doctrine is "driven by considerations of fairness to the parties, judicial economy, and the societal interest in finality." Id. However, "the efficiency concerns that underlie the doctrine do not support its application in cases where the original ruling is clearly erroneous." Strauch v. Demskie,892 F.Supp. 503, 506 (S.D.N.Y. 1995); see also Virgin Ail. Airways, Ltd. v. Natl ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.