Princeton Club settles lawsuit
A $10 million lawsuit against the Princeton Club of New York filed by former longtime employee Jo-Ann Garcia was settled in a private agreement, according to Club General Manager Larry Hines and the lawyers of both parties. The website of the New York Supreme Court indicates that the case was closed on Feb. 7 of this year.
Hines and both attorneys declined to comment further on the settlement agreement.
In August 2011, Garcia, the former club payroll manager, filed a discrimination complaint against the club. She claimed she was wrongfully terminated from her position after 29 years of employment on the basis of age and race discrimination. Although the Princeton Club told her the position was being “phased out” for financial reasons, Garcia said in the suit that she was replaced by a younger Caucasian woman.
Garcia started working for the club in 1981 as a filing planner and was eventually promoted to paymaster and house cashier. According to a copy of the initial complaint, Garcia said that in June 2011 the Assistant General Manager Evelyn Mendez-Baker told her that Hines wanted “white, native English-speaking personnel.” Following this conversation, Garcia wrote in the suit that the most senior Hispanic employees, including Mendez-Baker, were replaced by Caucasian employees who received higher salaries.
Mendez-Baker could not be reached for comment.
Garcia added that the club’s discriminatory actions included erecting a wall to separate Hispanic employees from white employees in the accounting department and denying Hispanic employees pay raises while giving raises to white colleagues. As a result, she sued the club for $4 million in personal compensation for the effects of the club’s conduct and for an additional $6 million in punitive damages to deter the club and similar organizations from discriminatory behaviors in the future.
As of Wednesday, Garcia was not employed at the club, a receptionist said. Attempts to reach Garcia for this article were unsuccessful.
The Princeton Club responded in September 2011 by denying all the allegations of discrimination made by Garcia in the complaint. Regarding the conversations between Garcia and Mendez-Baker, the club declined to comment on the allegation, claiming that it did not have sufficient knowledge of the events. The response concluded with a denial that Garcia was entitled to any monetary relief against the club.
“The Princeton Club acted in good faith without malice or malicious intent,” the answer read.” Each and every employment decision affecting Garcia was taken for legitimate non-discriminating reasons.
There was no progress on the case until August 2012, when Garcia filed a request for a preliminary conference. A preliminary conference is an initial meeting between both parties’ lawyers to set a schedule for the discovery phase, where both parties gather information from the other and interested third parties.
Garcia’s lawyers also alleged in the request for a preliminary conference that the club had not given a date for Garcia’s deposition despite repeated requests. The deposition, also known as the examination before trial, is a meeting between both parties in which Garcia would answer questions under oath from the club’s attorney, providing information which could be later used in trial.
No further documents exist after the request for a preliminary conference filed in 2012. According to the New York Supreme Court, the case is now closed.
The Princeton Club of New York, its lawyer, Richard Block of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C., and Garcia’s attorney, April Rancier of Schwartz & Perry, LLP declined to comment on the details of the settlement.
Reader Comments (0)
No comments yet. Be the first to post your opinion on this article.