• New York Appellate Division, First Department: Not Every Plaintiff Asserting a Discrimination Claim Under the New York City Human Rights Law Will Be Entitled to Reach a Jury
  • July 21, 2012 | Authors: Alizah Z. Diamond; Scott J. Wenner
  • Law Firm: Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP - New York Office
  • On May 29, 2012, a divided panel of New York’s Appellate Division, First Department, announced a decision that should help employers facing claims under the exceptionally broad New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) to obtain summary judgment and curb the number of unfounded claims that reach a jury. In Melman v. Montefiore Medical Center, 2012 NY Slip Op. 04111 (May 29, 2012), the appellate panel affirmed an award of summary judgment dismissing the complaint. It found that plaintiff Arnold Melman (“Melman”), head of the urology department at Montefiore Medical Center (“Montefiore”), had failed, under both the federal McDonnell Douglas test and the “mixed motive” test, to establish a triable issue of fact over whether he was treated differently by the hospital because of his age. The court found that, notwithstanding the intended broad reading of the NYCHRL in favor of employment discrimination claims, Melman’s contentions were based on weak, defective, or nonexistent evidence. Therefore, they were insufficient to rebut the legitimate and nondiscriminatory reasons set forth by Montefiore or to show that age was a motivating factor for the hospital’s treatment of Melman.