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Federal lawsuit for Discrimination and Hostile Work Environment Dismissed

On February 19, 2021, Judge Ronnie Abrams of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York issued an 18-page decision granting Kane Kessler’s motion to dismiss a complaint in which the plaintiff alleged that he was racially discriminated against by a client of the firm, which provides construction labor for the LaGuardia Airport rebuild project.

Judge Abrams held that the complaint failed to state a claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because, as Kane Kessler argued, plaintiff failed to allege facts demonstrating that the client acted with discriminatory motivation. The Court further held that Plaintiff failed to state a claim for hostile work environment based on a single act of offensive graffiti located in a bathroom on the job site, which Plaintiff failed to allege was attributable to the client’s negligence. Finally, Kane Kessler successfully argued, and Judge Abrams held, that the plaintiff did not state a claim for retaliation because there were no facts from which it could be inferred that the client was aware of allegedly protected communications between the plaintiff and a third party.

The attorneys for the Firm who represented the client were S. Reid Kahn and Jonathan M. Sabin of the firm’s Litigation Department. See Duff v. Pristine Services, Inc., No. 19-CV-10423 (RA) (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 19, 2021).

This memo is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice and readers should consult counsel to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances.