Ceslik v. Miller Ford, Inc.

Citation584 F.Supp.2d 433
Decision Date30 September 2008
Docket NumberCivil No. 3:04CV2045(AWT).
CourtUnited States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
PartiesStephen CESLIK, Plaintiff, v. MILLER FORD, INC. a/k/a Miller Ford-Nissan-VW, Defendant.

Stephen Ceslik, Milford, CT, pro se.

Robert Avery Rhodes, Halloran & Sage, Westport, CT, for Defendant.


ALVIN W. THOMPSON, District Judge.

Plaintiff Stephen Ceslik ("Ceslik") brings this action against the defendant Miller Ford, Inc. ("Miller Ford"), setting forth in the Complaint claims for discrimination because of AIDS and failure to accommodate an asthmatic condition in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. ("ADA"), and for sexual harassment and hostile work environment in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. ("Title VII"). In the Amendment to 12/3/04 Complaint (the "Amendment"), Ceslik sets forth additional claims for discrimination based on sexual orientation in violation of the Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-81c; defense counsel's conduct; retaliation in violation of the First Amendment; and sex discrimination. Miller Ford has moved for summary judgment on, or dismissal of, the claims set forth in the Complaint and the Amendment. For the reasons stated below, the motion is being granted.


On January 24, 2003, Miller Ford hired Ceslik to work as a sales person at its dealership in Fairfield, Connecticut. Ceslik worked for the defendant from January 29, 2003 until his employment was terminated on May 3, 2003.

A. Claims Concerning ADA Violations
1. Asthmatic Condition

Ceslik contends that while he was employed by Miller Ford, another Miller Ford employee named Robert Hayes ("Hayes") and others would take unauthorized smoking breaks near him in the showrooms and outside, aggravating his asthmatic condition. Miller Ford had a smoking policy that limited smoking to a designated area. Ceslik contends that he complained to Trevor Holmes ("Holmes"), John Franchini ("Franchini"), and Ralph Frascatore ("Frascatore"), who were Miller Ford managers. Although Ceslik argues in his papers that management did not accommodate his asthmatic condition because it did not do anything to enforce the smoking policy, he testified that Holmes told him he would take care of Hayes's smoking in the showroom and that he never saw Hayes smoking in the showroom again.

2. Neck and Back Injuries

Ceslik contends that Miller Ford did not accommodate his disabilities because it required him to shovel snow, which aggravated his neck and back. Ceslik claims that Miller Ford knew about his neck and back injuries because he had informed the company orally and in writing. According to Ceslik, Miller Ford was aware of his medical conditions because he had given Holmes a letter from a doctor with a note concerning his need to wear athletic shoes. He provided Holmes with this note in 2000 while they both worked at Napoli Motors, not Miller Ford. The plaintiff also claims that the stress he felt because of the conditions under which he worked at Miller Ford aggravated his neck pain and that Miller Ford was aware of his neck injury because Sean Armstrong, a manager, witnessed the fact he was suffering neck pain and gave him medication to ease it. Miller Ford never received a letter from a doctor stating that Ceslik was unable to shovel snow.

3. Other Ailments; Absence from Work

The plaintiff also argues he had high blood pressure, depression, and ulcer problems and that Miller Ford knew about these conditions. Ceslik only missed one day of work at Miller Ford, and he provides no evidence that Miller Ford had knowledge of any such conditions.

B. Claims Concerning Sexual Harassment and Hostile Work Environment

Ceslik states that he was sexually harassed by co-workers and management at Miller Ford. He claims that he was sexually harassed when Frascatore recounted a sexually explicit story about bestiality on one occasion. The plaintiff also bases a sexual harassment claim on Dawn Brennan telling a story involving scatology. He also contends that Robert Pavia ("Pavia") stated that if one of the staff contracted AIDS, Ceslik's presence would create financial liability. Ceslik also asserts that Paul Miller ("Miller"), Miller Ford's owner, harassed him by leaving sexually explicit gay magazines and an anti-homosexual cartoon in the mailbox at his house on the same day that Miller received the Complaint. Ceslik notes that Miller does not live far from Ceslik and drives by Ceslik's house almost each day that he goes to the dealership.1

Ceslik claims that his co-workers created a hostile work environment. Specifically, Ceslik claims that he complained to management concerning Hayes's interference with his interactions with his customers. Ceslik states that on one occasion Hayes assaulted him in the parking lot by using obscene words, such as "fuck," "motherfucker," "white honkey," and "son of a bitch," and that Hayes was being threatening and intimidating. (Compl. (Doc No. 1) at p. 9.) Ceslik claims that Hayes also challenged him to a fight at this time; Ceslik further states that a customer witnessed this incident. The plaintiff also states that Hayes said he was "going to get [him]" and called him "asshole" on various occasions. (Id. at p. 11.) He further states that Leonard Burton ("Burton") made snide comments and swore at him. Ceslik contends that Burton was violent and unruly at a meeting. He claims that at another time, Burton pushed him in front of management and told him to "get the hell out of [his] way." (Id. at p. 13.) The plaintiff also claims that Aihem Alkatib ("Alkatib") told him to "go work in the men's room and give blow jobs-that's where you do [your] best work." (Id. at p. 13.) In the Amendment, Ceslik contends that Alkatib was abusive and violent and that Alkatib called September 11, 2001 "America's just reward." (Amendment (Doc No. 66) at p. 2.) Ceslik also states in the Amendment that Alkatib ate in an office in which Ceslik was working, which was a violation of company policy.

In addition to harassment from specific co-workers, Ceslik contends that certain additional situations created a hostile work environment, exacerbating his blood pressure problem. He states that materials depicting him engaging in a sexual act with his mother and referring to him as being gay were left on his desk. The plaintiff also states that on one occasion Alkatib and Hayes threatened each other with physical violence. Ceslik further claims that his co-workers' swearing and verbal fights created a hostile work environment. Finally, Ceslik contends that he observed Miller having an affair with a female employee in Miller Ford's records area and that witnessing this situation "offended" him and made his work environment "awkward." (Amendment at p. 7.)

Ceslik also contends that he was the victim of hate crimes. He claims Hayes called him a "fudge packing queer," "fag," "cock sucker," and "ass licker." (Id. at p. 7.) Ceslik states that on another occasion Alkatib called him a "penis worshiper" and "fag." (Id. at p. 8.) The plaintiff also states that Len Burton told him to "blow him." (Id.)

C. Termination of Employment

On May 3, 2003, Ceslik's employment was terminated. Ceslik states that Miller told him Miller was "letting [him] go because [Miller doesn't] like gays." (Compl. at p. 6.) He further contends that Miller perceived him as having AIDS and fired him because of a stated fear that Miller or other employees would contract AIDS from the plaintiff, creating financial liability. During his deposition, however, Ceslik testified that the statement concerning liability was related to a meeting in which Pavia discussed the sexual harassment claims made by two female employees against Ceslik.2 According to Ceslik, these claims were false and served as a pretextual reason for firing him. Ceslik argues that the firing was also partially based on retaliation for his filing complaints.

Upon firing Ceslik, Miller Ford did not provide him with a pink slip. Ceslik states that although he requested a pink slip, he never received one. Miller Ford provided pink slips to other employees upon termination of their employment.

After firing Ceslik, Miller Ford tried to prevent him from receiving unemployment compensation benefits. The Unemployment Compensation Commission held a hearing and awarded Ceslik benefits; Ceslik states that he discovered during these proceedings that Miller Ford failed to properly maintain his employment file. The commission stated that "[t]he burden of proof is on the employer" and found that Ceslik had been "terminated for reasons other than misconduct." (Id. at p. 17.)

D. Post-Termination Issues

Ceslik asserts various claims based on situations that arose after his employment was terminated. He contends that Miller Ford fabricated documents in connection with this lawsuit. The plaintiff also claims that Pavia made misrepresentations to the EEOC and that Miller Ford's attorneys made misrepresentations and slandered him during the course of this litigation.


A motion for summary judgment may not be granted unless the court determines that there is no genuine issue of material fact to be tried and that the facts as to which there is no such issue warrant judgment for the moving party as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986); Gallo v. Prudential Residential Servs., 22 F.3d 1219, 1223 (2d Cir.1994). Rule 56(c) "mandates the entry of summary judgment . . . against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." See Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548.

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