United States District Court, N.D. New York
J. KIM, ESQ. Attorneys for Plaintiff
GREGORY V. CANALE, ESQ. Attorneys for Defendants
MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER
D'Agostino, U.S. District Judge
Megan Fish commenced the present action against Defendants
1295 Aroxy Cleaners and the Estate of Hagop
Poladian alleging violations of Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et
seq., and the New York State Human Rights Law
("NYSHRL"), N.Y. Exec. Law § 290 et
seq., as well as various state tort law claims. Dkt. No.
1. Presently before the Court is Defendants' motion for
summary judgment. Dkt. No. 23. For the following reasons,
Defendants' motion is denied.
September 2011, Fish was hired to work for ARoxy, a laundry
and dry cleaning business in Queensbury, New York. Dkt. No.
43-1 ¶ 5. At the time, ARoxy had two locations, a main
store and a second, smaller shop on Broad Street. Dkt. No.
43-5 at 24:22-25:12. Sometime in the fall of 2011, Fish was
promoted to manager of the Broad Street store. Id.
As manager, Fish was the only employee in the Broad Street
store, id. at 28:11-28:25, and her primary
supervisor was Poladian, who occasionally stopped by the
store to review the accounting books and collect money,
id. at 34:18-34:22.
to Fish, Poladian began sexually harassing her at the end of
August 2013. Dkt. No. 43-1 ¶ 5. Between August 30, 2013,
and September 27, 2013-which was Fish's last day working
for ARoxy-Poladian sexually harassed and assaulted Fish on
several occasions. Dkt. No. 44-2 at 2-3. The first
incident took place when Poladian came to the Broad Street
store on a day that Fish had a sore throat, and he asked to
see her throat. Dkt. No. 43-5 at 35:6-35:20. Poladian then
made a gesture with his hand and mouth imitating oral sex and
commented that Fish "must have some experience with
that." Id. Later that day, Poladian offered
Fish extra money to clean his house, and he suggested that
they could have drinks and exchange massages. Id. at
36:9-36:20. Poladian made several other inappropriate sexual
comments during September 2013. Dkt. No. 44-2 at 2. In
addition to those comments, Fish claims that Poladian also
sexually assaulted her on two occasions.
on September 9, 2016, Poladian brought Fish into the back
room of the Broad Street store in order to review the
store's books and inventory. Dkt. No. 43-5 at
49:21-40:15. Poladian then asked Fish to give him a hug, and
she agreed. Id. But when Fish heard Poladian
sniffing her hair, she became uncomfortable and pulled away,
at which point he reached out and grabbed her breasts with
both hands. Id. Fish told Poladian to stop, left the
back room, and returned to the front counter. Id. at
46:22-47:5. Second, on September 16, 2013, Poladian demanded
that Fish join him in the back room of the Broad Street store
to review the books and inventory. Id. at
54:9-55:13. After initially refusing, Fish eventually
complied. Id. Once inside, Poladian reached out,
pulled Fish toward him, and, when she turned her head away,
licked her face while rubbing his groin against her body.
Id. With some difficulty, Fish managed to pull away
from Poladian, after which he quickly exited the store.
September 27, 2013, Poladian once again came to the Broad
Street store and asked Fish to follow him into the back room
to review the books and inventory. Id. at
71:20-72:16. When Fish refused, Poladian became upset,
slamming books and throwing rags across the room.
Id. Fish, concerned for her safety, left the store
and called the police. Id. When the police arrived,
Fish did not tell them about Poladian's history of sexual
harassment and assault; instead, she said that Poladian had
accused her of stealing from the store. Dkt. No. 44-2 at 4.
With the police present, Poladian fired Fish, who retrieved
her personal belongings and left the store. Dkt. No. 43-5 at
timely filing a complaint with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission, Fish filed the complaint in this
action on January 27, 2015. Dkt. No. 1 ¶ 7. Defendants
answered the complaint and, after conducting discovery, filed
a motion for summary judgment. Dkt. No. 43. Fish responded to
the motion, Dkt. No. 44, but Defendants did not submit a
Standard of Review
may grant a motion for summary judgment only if it determines
that there is no genuine issue of material fact to be tried
and that the facts as to which there is no such issue warrant
judgment for the movant as a matter of law. See Chambers
v. TRM Copy Ctrs. Corp., 43 F.3d 29, 36 (2d Cir. 1994)
(citations omitted). When analyzing a summary judgment
motion, the court "'cannot try issues of fact; it
can only determine whether there are issues to be
tried.'" Id. at 36-37 (quotation and other
citation omitted). Moreover, it is well settled that a party
opposing a motion for summary ...