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Boucher v. Saint Francis GI Endoscopy, LLC

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

January 22, 2019

DARLENE BOUCHER
v.
SAINT FRANCIS GI ENDOSCOPY, LLC

          Argued October 16, 2018

         Procedural History

         Action to recover damages for, inter alia, alleged employment discrimination, and for other relief, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Hartford, where the court, Moukawsher, J., granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment and rendered judgment thereon, from which the plaintiff appealed to this court. Affirmed.

          James V. Sabatini, for the appellant (plaintiff).

          Christopher A. Klepps, with whom was Christopher L. Brigham, for the appellee (defendant).

          Scott Madeo filed a brief for the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities as amicus curiae.

          Alvord, Prescott and Bear, Js.

          OPINION

          PRESCOTT, J.

         In this employment discrimination action, the plaintiff, Darlene Boucher, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of her employer, the defendant, Saint Francis GI Endoscopy, LLC, on the plaintiffs complaint, which alleged that her employer retaliated against her when she complained about being sexually harassed by a coworker. See General Statutes § 46a-60 (b) (4).[1] On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment because there is a genuine issue of material fact as to her retaliation claim.[2] We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         The record before the court, viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff as the nonmoving party, reveals the following facts and procedural history. The defendant employed the plaintiff, beginning in February, 2012, as apart-time office assistant. She eventually became a full-time insurance verification specialist. The plaintiffs immediate supervisor was Kathleen Hull.

         On more than one occasion, Jason Crespo, a coworker of the plaintiff, made comments to the plaintiff regarding her appearance at work, including "you look beautiful" and "you look hot." Crespo also thrusted his hips at the plaintiff while stating that she was hot. On another occasion, Crespo hit the plaintiffs torso with a rubber glove. Crespo also sent the plaintiff a text message regarding the plaintiffs husband on Easter weekend, although the plaintiff cannot recall what the text message said and immediately deleted it. Finally, during August, 2013, Crespo forced the plaintiff into a utility closet, where he pushed his body against the plaintiffs and she could feel his penis through his clothes. At some point, the plaintiff told Crespo to stop this behavior. The plaintiff did not report Crespo's conduct to Hull until approximately six months after the incident in the closet.

         On the morning of January 10, 2014, the plaintiff made a complaint about Crespo to Hull. Hull and the plaintiff met for about an hour. The plaintiff told Hull about her interactions with Crespo, including the incident in the utility closet, the text message over Easter weekend, and Crespo's comments about the plaintiffs appearance. January 10, 2014, was a Friday, and Hull was leaving work early for a weekend vacation. Hull told the plaintiff that she would interview all parties and get back to the plaintiff the following Monday, January 13, 2014. The plaintiff did not expect that Hull would be interviewing anyone over the weekend.

         Hull sent the plaintiff a text message on Sunday, January 12, 2014, in order to ask her more questions about her complaint and what had transpired. Hull told the plaintiff that she would speak with Dawn DiPinto, a coworker and friend of the plaintiff, about the situation. After exchanging text messages regarding the complaint, the plaintiff requested that they wait until the following day to discuss the complaint in further detail. Hull responded, "Wow."

         On the following day, Monday, January 13, 2014, after speaking with DiPinto, Hull sent the plaintiff an e-mail requesting that the plaintiff come to her office.[3] Once in her office, Hull told the plaintiff that she had spoken with DiPinto and that the plaintiffs story "[did not] add up." Hull then requested that the plaintiff recount her complaint from the beginning. Hull also told the plaintiff that she was going to give her a warning. The plaintiff, however, was not aware of the nature of the warning, or why she would get a warning. A warning was never issued.

         The plaintiff then told Hull that she did not know what else to say and stood up. Hull asked the plaintiff what she was doing, asked her to sit down, and asked her if she was quitting. The plaintiff replied that she was quitting. Hull asked the plaintiff to sit down again, grabbed her arms, and said, "Are you sure you want to do this?" The plaintiff told Hull to get off of her, walked out, and filed a police report against Hull for assault. Following an investigation, the police did not arrest Hull. After the ...


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