Sanchez v. Alvarado, No. 96-1278

CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — First Circuit
Writing for the CourtBefore CYR and BOUDIN; CYR
Citation101 F.3d 223
Parties72 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. (BNA) 975, 69 Empl. Prac. Dec. P 44,489 Maria de los Angeles SANCHEZ, Plaintiff, Appellant, v. Carlos ALVARADO, et al., Defendants, Appellees. . Heard
Docket NumberNo. 96-1278
Decision Date09 October 1996

Page 223

101 F.3d 223
72 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. (BNA) 975,
69 Empl. Prac. Dec. P 44,489
Maria de los Angeles SANCHEZ, Plaintiff, Appellant,
v.
Carlos ALVARADO, et al., Defendants, Appellees.
No. 96-1278.
United States Court of Appeals,
First Circuit.
Heard Oct. 9, 1996.
Decided Dec. 2, 1996.
Rehearing Denied Dec. 30, 1996.

Page 225

Edwin Prado, with whom Pedro Salicrup was on brief, Hato Rey, PR, for appellant.

Edgardo Rodriguez Quilichini, Assistant Solicitor General, Department of Justice, with whom Carlos Lugo Fiol, Solicitor General, and Edda Serrano Blasini, Deputy Solicitor General, were on brief for appellees.

Before CYR and BOUDIN, Circuit Judges, and PONSOR, * U.S. District Judge.

CYR, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff Maria de los Angeles Sanchez ("Sanchez") appeals a summary judgment ruling rejecting her civil rights claim, see 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging liability on the part of certain supervisory personnel at Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority ("PREPA") for failing to take appropriate action against defendant-appellee Omar Santiago, whose persistent harassment prompted Sanchez to tender her resignation. We affirm the district court judgment.

I

BACKGROUND 1

The pattern of harassment began when Santiago, a PREPA employee, telephoned Sanchez at her office in September 1988 and invited her to dinner. A few days after Sanchez declined the invitation she received a call from another PREPA employee, informing her that she should expect to hear from Santiago again since he had an ongoing bet that he would succeed in his quest. Later that month, Santiago approached Sanchez and stated that they should talk. As Sanchez walked away, Santiago exclaimed that she would see what he was capable of and if she complained about his behavior he would cause her harm.

The first supervisor with whom Sanchez discussed Santiago's behavior, defendant-appellee Ramon Figueroa, tried to persuade her not to file a formal charge with PREPA's Equal Employment Opportunity Office (EEOO), stating that everyone was entitled to one mistake. 2 Upon learning that Santiago had already been the subject of a sexual harassment complaint by another female employee, however, Ramon actively encouraged Sanchez to file a formal complaint.

On November 15, 1988, defendant-appellee Carlos Alvarado, then the Director of PREPA, circulated a memorandum on the subject of sexual harassment, referencing a 1988 statute prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace. Within two weeks, three of Santiago's supervisors, including defendant-appellee Edwin Miranda Velez, met with him to discuss the incident reported by Sanchez. After Santiago denied any wrongdoing, the supervisors informed him of PREPA's sexual harassment policy and directed him to keep away from the floor on which Sanchez worked. Upon encountering Sanchez with another female employee approximately three weeks later, however, Santiago called them lesbians. Three days later, on December 8, 1988, Sanchez filed her first complaint with the EEOO.

On April 14, 1989, following its investigation into the first complaint, the EEOO found that Santiago's conduct constituted sexual harassment, and recommended a reprimand and counselling. Several weeks later, when Santiago met with supervisors to discuss the EEOO report, he was reminded that sexual

Page 226

harassment was prohibited by law. Once again he was warned that formal charges would be filed against him for any further harassment and that he was to stay away from Sanchez while on PREPA property.

On May 30, 1989, Sanchez filed her second complaint with the EEOO, relating to Santiago's conduct between May 15 and 19. During that four-day period, Santiago left notes on Sanchez's automobile, suggesting that they go to a motel; followed her on the highway, almost causing a collision; blew kisses at her; and provoked a fistfight with Sanchez's boyfriend. At the same time, Sanchez pointed out that Santiago was scheduled to represent PREPA in a basketball game the following weekend. The EEOO promptly contacted the person in charge of the team and recommended that Santiago not be allowed to do so.

The EEOO Director, defendant-appellee Amada Nieves, met with Santiago at his request on July 7, 1989. Ms. Nieves reminded him that the May 24 meeting had been a warning that his behavior toward Sanchez constituted sexual harassment. She informed him that Sanchez had since filed a second complaint and that Nieves herself would interview him about it in the near future.

Within a week, defendant-appellee Camille Galanes, an assistant to Nieves, telephoned Sanchez at her office and attempted to persuade her to drop the second complaint. Ms. Galanes suggested that following up on the second complaint might not be necessary because no further incidents had been reported after Santiago was reprimanded in connection with the first complaint. Sanchez adamantly disagreed, however, stating that Santiago had not been at work between May 25 and June 14, and the mere fact that she had not encountered him in the interim did not mean his attitude had changed.

At a meeting with Ms. Galanes on August 15, 1989, Santiago expressed concern about the possible adverse effects the earlier reprimand might have upon his professional future. Galanes reiterated the warning that Santiago was not to approach Sanchez on PREPA property. 3 Although Santiago continued to deny any wrongdoing, he assured Galanes that he was "not going to go anywhere near" Sanchez. 4 On October 13, 1989, Director Nieves telephoned Sanchez on matters relating to Santiago. As Sanchez was not in, Nieves left a message. The record does not disclose whether Sanchez returned the call.

Sanchez filed her third complaint with the EEOO on April 3, 1990, stating that she had received four unwanted floral arrangements from Santiago, three within a span of six days during December, 1989; that Santiago followed her when she went to lunch, and whistled when she passed him in the workplace lobby; and that he telephoned her at her office between twelve and fifteen times a day. The EEOO promptly investigated the third complaint and, on June 7, 1990, once again recommended that Santiago's supervisor file formal charges against him. On June 15, 1990, Santiago's supervisor informed him that she was pressing charges.

Sanchez submitted her resignation on July 2, effective July 20. Although EEOO Director Nieves met with her on July 18 regarding the status of the third complaint against Santiago, Sanchez failed to mention her resignation. After Sanchez left PREPA, the EEOO...

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361 practice notes
  • Alasaad v. Nielsen, No. 17-cv-11730-DJC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • November 12, 2019
    ...under the applicable law." Santiago-Ramos v. Centennial P.R. Wireless Corp., 217 F.3d 46, 52 (1st Cir. 2000) (quoting Sánchez v. Alvarado, 101 F.3d 223, 227 (1st Cir. 1996) ). The movant "bears the burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Carmona v. Toledo, ......
  • American Steel Erectors v. Local Union No. 7, No. 07-1832.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • August 1, 2008
    ...A fact is material if it carries with it the potential to affect the outcome of the suit under the applicable law." Sánchez v. Alvarado, 101 F.3d 223, 227 (1st Cir.1996) (citations Local 7 has raised the statutory and nonstatutory exemptions from antitrust liability as affirmative defenses ......
  • Vizcarrondo v. Board of Trustees of Univ. Of P.R., No. CIV. 99-1225(DRD).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Puerto Rico
    • March 21, 2001
    ...liability. See Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 694, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978); Sanchez v. Alvarado, 101 F.3d 223, 227 (1st Cir.1996) (citing Gutierrez-Rodriguez v. Cartagena, 882 F.2d 553, 562 (1st Cir. 1989)). Supervisors can only be found liable for their......
  • Boston Scientific Corp. v. Schneider (Europe) Ag, CIV. A. No. 94-10967-DPW.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • October 23, 1997
    ...evidence about the fact is such that a reasonable jury could resolve the dispute in favor of the non-moving party.'" Sanchez v. Alvarado, 101 F.3d 223, 227 (1st Cir.1996) (quoting Rivera-Muriente v. Agosto-Alicea, 959 F.2d 349, 352 (1st Cir.1992)). "A fact is material if it carries with it ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
362 cases
  • Alasaad v. Nielsen, No. 17-cv-11730-DJC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • November 12, 2019
    ...under the applicable law." Santiago-Ramos v. Centennial P.R. Wireless Corp., 217 F.3d 46, 52 (1st Cir. 2000) (quoting Sánchez v. Alvarado, 101 F.3d 223, 227 (1st Cir. 1996) ). The movant "bears the burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Carmona v. Toledo, ......
  • American Steel Erectors v. Local Union No. 7, No. 07-1832.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • August 1, 2008
    ...A fact is material if it carries with it the potential to affect the outcome of the suit under the applicable law." Sánchez v. Alvarado, 101 F.3d 223, 227 (1st Cir.1996) (citations Local 7 has raised the statutory and nonstatutory exemptions from antitrust liability as affirmative defenses ......
  • Vizcarrondo v. Board of Trustees of Univ. Of P.R., No. CIV. 99-1225(DRD).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Puerto Rico
    • March 21, 2001
    ...liability. See Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 694, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978); Sanchez v. Alvarado, 101 F.3d 223, 227 (1st Cir.1996) (citing Gutierrez-Rodriguez v. Cartagena, 882 F.2d 553, 562 (1st Cir. 1989)). Supervisors can only be found liable for their......
  • Boston Scientific Corp. v. Schneider (Europe) Ag, CIV. A. No. 94-10967-DPW.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • October 23, 1997
    ...evidence about the fact is such that a reasonable jury could resolve the dispute in favor of the non-moving party.'" Sanchez v. Alvarado, 101 F.3d 223, 227 (1st Cir.1996) (quoting Rivera-Muriente v. Agosto-Alicea, 959 F.2d 349, 352 (1st Cir.1992)). "A fact is material if it carries with it ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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