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Bascom v. The Brooklyn Hospital

United States District Court, E.D. New York

February 26, 2018

DR. EGLON BASCOM, Plaintiff,


          BRIAN M. COGAN U.S.D.J.

         This is the latest of many cases which plaintiff, an African-American graduate of a Grenadian medical school, has brought in this district during his 17-year quest to force an American hospital to accept him for the third and final year of his residency in internal medicine. In this action - his third against The Brooklyn Hospital Center (sued here as The Brooklyn Hospital) - plaintiff alleges a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., claiming that defendant discriminated against him by refusing to permit him to “rejoin” a residency program to which he was never admitted in the first place. Defendant now moves to dismiss this action, arguing that 1) plaintiff failed to adequately exhaust his administrative remedies, 2) this action is barred by res judicata, and 3) plaintiff's amended complaint fails to state a claim. In addition, defendant seeks an order enjoining plaintiff from filing any further actions against the hospital and awarding sanctions. For the reasons set forth below, defendant's motion to dismiss and motion for injunctive relief are granted. The motion for sanctions is denied.


         Unless otherwise stated, the following facts are drawn from plaintiff's amended complaint and are assumed to be true for purposes of decision. Plaintiff is an African-American and a graduate of the St. George's University School of Medicine, located in Grenada. He was certified by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, which enabled him to apply for a residency in the United States. Thereafter, he obtained a “categorical” position for residency training at Brookdale Hospital (“Brookdale”).[1]

         Plaintiff completed his first year of residency at Brookdale and his second year at Cabrini Medical Center. “Plaintiff had to leave the Residency system” thereafter, however, because of an unspecified “unfair labor practice that was racially motivated by The Brookdale Hospital which entailed wrongfully terminating the plaintiff and refusing to release the plaintiff contractually ... to Cabrini Medical Center ....” As a result, plaintiff never completed his third and final year of residency and cannot work as a physician.

         In September 2013, plaintiff applied to defendant to “re-enter the Residency system.” Defendant refused to admit plaintiff to its residency program. Plaintiff claims that defendant refused to accept plaintiff “based on the plaintiff's race.” After filing unsuccessful lawsuits against defendant, both in this district and in state court - neither of which are mentioned in plaintiff's pleadings - plaintiff filed a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights (the “SDHR”), principally alleging retaliation. That complaint was cross-filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the “EEOC”), which issued a right-to-sue letter on April 6, 2015.

         The Instant Action

         In his original complaint, plaintiff alleged that he “successfully completed two consecutive years of residency training, ” one at Brookdale and one at Cabrini Medical Center, and was “fired as a result of [an] unfair labor practice that appeared racially motivated.” However, the complaint did not allege any acts of race discrimination on the part of defendant. Indeed, plaintiff implies that his only connection to defendant is that the hospital helped prepare him to enter the residency system when he was still a medical student.

         In June 2015, plaintiff filed an amended complaint that adds some new allegations in support of the race discrimination claim. Notably, that pleading alleges, on information and belief, that “White Residents who have successfully completed their first two years of training were allowed to complete their last year but the African American plaintiff is not being allowed to do so.” Plaintiff admits that he “does not have access to the precise information about the race of all other Residents in the defendant's program who were allowed to complete their final year.” Nonetheless, he states that he is “confident that there is no white United States citizen in Court in this nation trying to rejoin the residency program after being discriminated against.” Based on these allegations, plaintiff claims that “defendant's adverse employment action of not allowing the plaintiff to rejoin the Residency program rises to the level of racial discrimination.”

         The Instant Motion

         Defendant now moves to dismiss plaintiff's amended complaint on three grounds. First, defendant argues that plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies because the administrative charge that he filed with the SDHR did not allege specific facts suggesting race discrimination. Second, defendant argues that this action is barred by res judicata because plaintiff has already filed a lawsuit in a New York State court regarding the same set of facts alleged in the amended complaint in this action. Third, defendant argues that, even if this action is not barred, the amended complaint fails to state a plausible claim of race discrimination.

         Defendant's motion seeks other relief in addition to an order dismissing this case. First, noting that plaintiff has already been judicially barred from suing Brookdale in federal court and defendant in State court, defendant requests an order enjoining plaintiff from filing any further federal actions against it. Second, defendant seeks to recoup the attorney's fees and costs expended in defending this case as a sanction for filing a frivolous action. Third, defendant asks for an order denying various, allegedly frivolous motions which plaintiff has filed in the course of this litigation, and striking some of those motions because they allegedly contain scandalous and defamatory allegations against defendant.

         In his response to defendant's motion, plaintiff makes three points. First, plaintiff asserts that he has exhausted his administrative rights by filing a charge with the SDHR and the EEOC. He notes that the EEOC issued a right-to-sue letter, but does not discuss the contents of his administrative charge(s) of discrimination.

         Second, plaintiff implies that his prior State court action was not dismissed on the merits, but only because of his failure to exhaust his administrative remedies. Without further analysis, he asserts that res judicata does not apply to bar this action.

         Third, plaintiff argues that his amended complaint states a claim for race discrimination. His argument, however, does not discuss the allegations contained in his pleading. Rather, plaintiff provides a rambling narrative that contains, at most, conclusory allegations and speculation about race discrimination by defendant.


         I. The ...

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