Lawyers and Settlements
Home Page >> Settlements >> Laura Z. Bonas Benjamin v. New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation et al

Discrimination - Verdict in favor of Plaintiff in the amount of US$725,000

Case Name:Laura Z. Bonas Benjamin v. New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation et al
Case Number:11 Civ. 5096(VSB)
Verdict Date:2014-10-28
Outcome TypeSettlement
Court:U.S. District Court, Southern District, NeYorkw
Incident Date:2008-09-12

Plaintiff's Complaint:
Plaintiff is an African American woman of Trinidadian national origin, who is employed as an attorney in the Medical Litigation Unit (MLU) of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC). Plaintiff alleges that she was discriminated against because of her race, color, and national origin and retaliated against and subjected to a hostile work environment, in violation of Federal and State laws. Plaintiff alleges that in or about September 2008, she was dissuaded from applying for a promotion to a position with duties to negotiate the early settlement of cases ("Early Settlement Position"), a more prestigious position, for which she was well qualified and from which her supervisors, defendants Rhonda Rosen ("Rosen"), MLU Deputy Chief, and Margaret Sherman ("herman"), MLU Chief, sought to exclude her while preference was given to a less qualified white, non-West Indian, co-worker, Elisa Fischer ("Fischer"). Plaintiff contends that she has been denied promotion or advancement, and has remained professionally stagnant in her current title of Associate Counsel (Level A) for the past ten (10) years. Plaintiff also complains that she was retaliated against for an oral complaint she made in September 2007, as well as for written complaints she filed on September 26, and December 12, 2008, against Rosen and Sherman, with the Equal Employment Opportunity Office ("EEO") of HHC, and for her June 4, 2009, complaint of discrimination with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). Specifically, in response to her EEOC complaint and internal complaints, Plaintiff states that defendants subjected her to abusive and retaliatory actions including, but not limited to, excessive work load, undue criticism, being ostracized from most office social events, accused by HHC General Counsel of being "disruptive"and directed to "cease and desist", constantly slamming office doors around her, and repeatedly sniffing at her door, with accusations that there was an "offensive smell"emanating from her office; that this "offensive smell"was likely caused by Plaintiff' "feet"and that Plaintiff should consider "soaking her feet in a tub"during her next visit to Kings County Hospital. Plaintiff also contends that since the filing of her complaints, Plaintiff has been subjected to a hostile work environment, in which she has been exposed to insults, scathing personal attacks, and intimidation. As a consequence of the hostile work environment created by the Defendants, Plaintiff has been placed in constant fear of her safety and well-being in the workplace. Following the denial of Defendants' motion for summary judgment, the case settled for $725,000.

Injury, Damage, or Loss:
As a proximate result of Defendants' discriminatory conduct towards Plaintiff, suffer significant monetary loss, and damages, including the loss of past and future earnings, and other employment benefits, estimated to be no less than $750,000.00. As a further proximate result of Defendants' actions, Plaintiff suffered severe emotional distress, lasting embarrassment, humiliation and anguish, as well as, other incidental and consequential damages and expenses.

Defendant's Wrongdoing:
Plaintiff alleges that in or about September 2008, she was dissuaded from applying for a promotion to a position with duties to negotiate the early settlement of cases ("Early Settlement Position"), a more prestigious position, for which she was well qualified and from which her supervisors, defendants Rhonda Rosen ("Rosen"), MLU Deputy Chief, and Margaret Sherman ("herman"), MLU Chief, sought to exclude her while preference was given to a less qualified white, non-West Indian, co-worker, Elisa Fischer ("Fischer"). Plaintiff contends that she has been denied promotion or advancement, and has remained professionally stagnant in her current title of Associate Counsel (Level A) for the past ten (10) years. Plaintiff also complains that she was retaliated against for an oral complaint she made in September 2007, as well as for written complaints she filed on September 26, and December 12, 2008, against Rosen and Sherman, with the Equal Employment Opportunity Office ("EEO") of HHC, and for her June 4, 2009, complaint of discrimination with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). Specifically, in response to her EEOC complaint and internal complaints, Plaintiff states that defendants subjected her to abusive and retaliatory actions including, but not limited to, excessive work load, undue criticism, being ostracized from most office social events, accused by HHC General Counsel of being "disruptive"and directed to "cease and desist", constantly slamming office doors around her, and repeatedly sniffing at her door, with accusations that there was an "offensive smell"emanating from her office; that this "offensive smell"was likely caused by Plaintiff' "feet"and that Plaintiff should consider "soaking her feet in a tub"during her next visit to Kings County Hospital. Plaintiff also contends that since the filing of her complaints, Plaintiff has been subjected to a hostile work environment, in which she has been exposed to insults, scathing personal attacks, and intimidation. As a consequence of the hostile work environment created by the Defendants, Plaintiff has been placed in constant fear of her safety and well-being in the workplace.

Plaintiff's Attorneys:
MADUEGBUNA COOPER LLP ATTORNEYS AT LAW 30 WALL STREET, 8th Floor NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10005 (212) 232-0155 (Tel) (212)232-0156 (Fax) www.mcande.com sam.m@mcande.com

Defendant's Attorneys:
MICHAEL A. CARDOZO Corporation Counsel of the City of New York Law Department 100 Church Street, Room 2-123 New York, New York 10007 Attention: Lawrence Profeta, Esq. (212) 356-2630 (Tel) email:lprofeta@law.nyc.gov.

Judge/Arbitrator/Mediator:
Hon. Vernon S. Broderick U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York 500 Pearl Street, New York, NY 10007

Free Legal Help

If you or a loved one has suffered similar damages, please fill in the form at right and your complaint will be sent to a lawyer who may evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.
Published on Jan-27-15


ADD YOUR COMMENT ON THIS ISSUE

Fields marked * are mandatory. Please read our comment guidelines before posting.

*Name:

Note: Your name will be published with your comment.

*Email Address:

Your email will only be used if a response is needed.

*Your Comment:

Are you the defendant or a subject matter expert on this topic with an opposing viewpoint? We'd love to hear your comments here as well, or if you'd like to contact us for an interview please submit your details here.