Ramseur v. Chase Manhattan Bank, No. 434

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore FEINBERG, Chief Judge, MESKILL and KEARSE; KEARSE
Citation865 F.2d 460
Parties48 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. 1149, 48 Empl. Prac. Dec. P 38,549, 57 USLW 2450 Harriet RAMSEUR, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. CHASE MANHATTAN BANK, Defendant-Appellee. ocket 88-7637.
Docket NumberNo. 434,D
Decision Date04 January 1989

Page 460

865 F.2d 460
48 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. 1149,
48 Empl. Prac. Dec. P 38,549, 57 USLW 2450
Harriet RAMSEUR, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
CHASE MANHATTAN BANK, Defendant-Appellee.
No. 434, Docket 88-7637.
United States Court of Appeals,
Second Circuit.
Argued Nov. 15, 1988.
Decided Jan. 4, 1989.

Page 461

Denny Chin, New York City (Campbell, Patrick & Chin, New York City, on the brief), for plaintiff-appellant.

Jeanne C. Miller, New York City (Kent T. Stauffer, New York City, on the brief), for defendant-appellee.

Before FEINBERG, Chief Judge, MESKILL and KEARSE, Circuit Judges.

KEARSE, Circuit Judge:

Plaintiff Harriet Ramseur appeals from a final judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, John F. Keenan, Judge, dismissing her amended complaint ("complaint") alleging that defendant Chase Manhattan Bank ("Chase" or the "bank"), her former employer, discriminated against her on the basis of her race, in violation of 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1981 (1982), and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000e et seq. (1982) ("Title VII"), and state law. The court granted summary judgment in favor of the bank on the ground that Ramseur had not made out a prima facie case of race discrimination. On appeal, Ramseur contends that the court failed to draw permissible inferences in her favor and ignored evidence that the bank's purported reasons for its treatment of her were merely pretexts for discrimination. For the reasons below, we conclude that summary judgment was improperly granted, and we vacate the judgment and remand for further proceedings.

I. BACKGROUND

Certain of the facts are not in dispute. Ramseur was hired by Chase in 1978 as an entry-level auditor in its general auditing department. During the next several years, she received generally favorable reviews and several promotions. In June 1985, she was promoted to the position of Vice President, Audit Manager.

In October 1985, Ramseur's immediate supervisor, Kevin Corrigan, transferred to another division of the bank. For a short

Page 462

time thereafter, Ramseur reported to Frank Conticello; in mid-November 1985, Lynn Douglas became her supervisor. On November 21, 1985, Douglas told Ramseur that Ramseur had no future in the auditing department and that she should seek work elsewhere. Ramseur was to continue managing audits for as long as she was in the department. She remained in that department until May 28, 1986, at which time she was given notice that her employment with the bank would be terminated as of August 28, 1986. Her employment was in fact terminated in September 1986.

Ramseur, who is Black, commenced the present action in May 1986, alleging that Chase had discriminated against her on the basis of her race. After a period of discovery, Chase moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56.

A. Chase's Motion for Summary Judgment

In support of its summary judgment motion, the bank presented, inter alia, deposition and affidavit evidence with respect to Ramseur's performance in 1984 and 1985. Affidavits by Conticello and Douglas stated that in 1984, Conticello had conducted a review of an audit of the bank's Bronx branch offices (the "Zerega Avenue" audit) supervised by Ramseur in 1984; Douglas was part of that review team. Conticello and Douglas were not pleased with the findings of the Zerega Avenue review, which included the finding that there were some work papers unsigned by Ramseur. In October 1985, the Comptroller of the Currency of the United States conducted a review of Chase's compliance with federal banking regulations. This review, insofar as it dealt with two audits managed by Ramseur, resulted in the bank's receiving an unacceptable rating and certain penalties, including a fine. This was the first time the auditing department had ever received an unacceptable rating and was the cause of some embarrassment to the department and the bank.

In November 1985, only two audit managers reported to Douglas: Ramseur and Stephen Chopey. Douglas stated that she was dissatisfied with the work of both. On a number of audits Ramseur had exceeded the number of hours budgeted and had gone beyond deadlines. There were also criticisms as to the manner in which Ramseur had conducted certain audits, including a complaint from Therese Molloy, division executive of the Manhattan region, that Ramseur had been abrasive at a 1984 audit closing. Accordingly, on November 21, Douglas told Ramseur that she should seek a position in another department of Chase or outside the bank. Douglas stated in her affidavit that Ramseur "was expected to continue working as an audit manager while she sought another job. I expected her to perform during that time in accordance with Chase standards and those of professional auditors." Douglas stated that she spoke to Chopey on or about December 11, conveyed to him the same criticisms she had communicated to Ramseur, and asked him too to look elsewhere for a job.

The bank also submitted an affidavit by Corrigan, Ramseur's immediate past supervisor, which stated that he had been engaged in something of a power struggle with Conticello, and that though Corrigan was satisifed with the performances of Ramseur and Chopey, Conticello had been dissatisfied. He opined that Ramseur and Chopey had been "caught in a changing of the guard and were victims of an in-house power struggle."

Chase asserted that both Ramseur and Chopey, who is White, were treated the same. Both had been promoted to the position of vice president in mid-1985 over the objections of several bank officers; in late 1985, both were told that they had no future in the audit department but were directed to continue managing audits for as long as they were in the department; both were given termination notices by Douglas on May 28, 1986. Neither Ramseur nor Chopey was replaced. In addition, Bruce Hathaway, a White audit manager in the bank's Miami office, was similarly told in December 1985 that he could not remain in the audit department because of his inadequate performance.

Page 463

B. Ramseur's Opposition to the Motion

Ramseur opposed the bank's motion for summary judgment, arguing that there existed genuine issues of material fact to be tried. Submitting her own affidavit and a statement pursuant to Rule 3(g) of the local court rules, and referring to documentary and deposition evidence, she disputed the bank's suggestions that her job performance had been poor and that she had been treated the same as White audit managers; she argued that both the reasons advanced for her treatment and the actual treatment accorded Chopey and Hathaway were mere pretexts to mask racial discrimination against her.

Ramseur stated that she was unaware of any opposition to her--or Chopey's--promotion to vice president in June 1985. She stated that prior to being told that she must leave the auditing department, she had received only excellent personnel appraisals and had never had any discussions with Conticello or others about her alleged poor performance. She submitted copies of bank personnel records which showed only favorable reviews through 1985. In April 1985, her evaluation by Corrigan, though listing three areas in which Ramseur should strive for improvement, concluded that she had "displayed exceptional ability and results in most all areas required of the position," and gave Ramseur the second highest possible overall rating. In three of the eight specific categories considered, Corrigan rated Ramseur's performance as "commendable," i.e., "higher than normally expected, but ... still leav[ing] room for improvement"; in the other five categories, Ramseur was rated as "outstanding," i.e., "indicat[ing] extraordinarily high performance, leaving little, if anything, to be desired."

With respect to the Zerega Avenue audit, Ramseur stated that her procedures had been approved by Kevin McCleerey, then the division executive of the branch audit division and that she had received neither oral nor written criticism from any of her superiors; rather, in the early fall of 1984, Conticello had made a simple inquiry of Ramseur as to whether she was aware that all of the audit work papers were not signed. Conticello then had discussed his review of this audit with McCleerey, who told Conticello that the significant papers had in fact been signed and that his criticism was uninformed. Ramseur also argued, inter alia, that Molloy was angry not because Ramseur had been abrasive but because the Manhattan audit had not resulted in the rating Molloy desired.

Ramseur stated that she was the only Black audit manager in the division and that other audit managers had been responsible for failures similar to those the bank now attributed to her, but they had not been transferred or fired. She pointed to one audit manager whose error in the implementation of the Bank Secrecy Act caused the bank to be fined $360,000; yet no adverse action was taken against him. She named two other audit managers who had...

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  • Izaguirre v. Lee, No. 10–CV–3216 (JFB).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • April 25, 2012
    ...corpus should issue unless the defendant was resentenced within sixty days before a different judge.21Id. at 238–39;see also Mazzaferro, 865 F.2d at 460 (“The law is clear beyond peradventure that a sentence based on retaliation for exercising the constitutional right to stand trial is inva......
  • Browning v. Ceva Freight, LLC, No. 10–cv–5594 (ADS)(AKT).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • August 11, 2012
    ...United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655, 82 S.Ct. 993, 8 L.Ed.2d 176 (1962) (per curiam), and Ramseur v. Chase Manhattan Bank, 865 F.2d 460, 465 (2d Cir.1989)). Once the moving party has met its burden, “the nonmoving party must come forward with ‘specific facts showing that there......
  • T-Mobile Ne. LLC v. Town of Islip, 10-CV-692 (ADS) (WDW)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • September 21, 2012
    ...States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655, 82 S. Ct. 993, 8 L. Ed. 2d 176 (1962) (per curiam), and Ramseur v. Chase Manhattan Bank, 865 F.2d 460, 465 (2d Cir. 1989)). If the moving party meets its initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a disputed issue of material fact, the burden ......
  • Bruneau v. South Kortright Cent. School, No. 94-CV-0864.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of New York
    • July 25, 1996
    ...Civil § 2721 at 40 (2d ed. 1983). All ambiguities must be weighed in favor of the non-moving party. Ramseur v. Chase Manhattan Bank, 865 F.2d 460, 465 (2d Cir.1989). "Only when reasonable minds could not differ as to the import of the evidence is summary judgment proper." Bryant v. Maffucci......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
499 cases
  • Izaguirre v. Lee, No. 10–CV–3216 (JFB).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • April 25, 2012
    ...corpus should issue unless the defendant was resentenced within sixty days before a different judge.21Id. at 238–39;see also Mazzaferro, 865 F.2d at 460 (“The law is clear beyond peradventure that a sentence based on retaliation for exercising the constitutional right to stand trial is inva......
  • Browning v. Ceva Freight, LLC, No. 10–cv–5594 (ADS)(AKT).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • August 11, 2012
    ...United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655, 82 S.Ct. 993, 8 L.Ed.2d 176 (1962) (per curiam), and Ramseur v. Chase Manhattan Bank, 865 F.2d 460, 465 (2d Cir.1989)). Once the moving party has met its burden, “the nonmoving party must come forward with ‘specific facts showing that there......
  • T-Mobile Ne. LLC v. Town of Islip, 10-CV-692 (ADS) (WDW)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • September 21, 2012
    ...States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655, 82 S. Ct. 993, 8 L. Ed. 2d 176 (1962) (per curiam), and Ramseur v. Chase Manhattan Bank, 865 F.2d 460, 465 (2d Cir. 1989)). If the moving party meets its initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a disputed issue of material fact, the burden ......
  • Bruneau v. South Kortright Cent. School, No. 94-CV-0864.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of New York
    • July 25, 1996
    ...Civil § 2721 at 40 (2d ed. 1983). All ambiguities must be weighed in favor of the non-moving party. Ramseur v. Chase Manhattan Bank, 865 F.2d 460, 465 (2d Cir.1989). "Only when reasonable minds could not differ as to the import of the evidence is summary judgment proper." Bryant v. Maffucci......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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