DeLuca v. Sirius XM Radio, Inc.
OPINION & ORDER: Pursuant to the foregoing, the court grants plaintiff's motion to compel discovery from 2001 to present as to the discovery categories relating to "Potential Comparators" provided in ECF No. 28 Ex. 2. This resolves ECF No. 28 on the docket. (As further set forth in this Order.) (Signed by Judge Thomas P. Griesa on 5/27/2016) (cf)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
OPINION & ORDER
SIRIUS XM RADIO, INC.
The parties in the above-captioned matter appeared for a pre-trial
conference on May 23, 2016. At that conference, the parties discussed, inter
alia, plaintiff's letter motion to compel, which was filed shortly before the
conference. See ECF No. 31. After considering the parties' positions and for the
reasons set forth below, the court grants in part and denies in part plaintiff's
letter motion to compel discovery and orders defendant to produce discovery
consistent with this opinion.
Plaintiff Debby DeLuca brought the instant action in November 2012
against her employer, Sirius XM Radio, Inc., alleging eleven different causes of
action relating to allegations of gender and sexual orientation discrimination in
the workplace. Plaintiff claims that she was paid less than her male peers, that
she was removed from her supervisory authority, and that she was subjected to
anti-gay slurs in the workplace. She seeks back pay, front pay, lost benefits,
compensatory damages, as well as liquidated damages and punitive damages, as
applicable, under Title VII, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the New York State
Human Rights Law, the New York City Human Rights Law, and the New York
In July 2000, Plaintiff was hired as a production assistant at defendant
Sirius XM Radio. Am. Com pl.
producer in early 2001. Id.
36. She was promoted to the position of imaging
41. At that time, she was the only female imaging
producer in the music department and all other imaging producers were male,
39. Part of plaintiff's complaint relies on her allegation that she was
compensated at a lower rate than her male counterparts as of the time she was
promoted in 2001. Id.
Accordingly, plaintiff has asked defendant to produce in discovery certain
information about defendant's employees from the year 2000, when plaintiff
began working at Sirius XM Radio, to present.
plaintiff's document requests).
See ECF No. 28 Ex. 2 (listing
Defendant has produced information from the
year 2006 to present but has declined-albeit without formally objecting
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34-to produce documents from
2000 onward. ECF No. 30. Plaintiff moved to compel discovery. ECF No. 28.
Management of discovery lies within the province of the district court,
which has "wide discretion in its handling of pre-trial discovery."
In re DG
Acquisition Corp., 151 F.3d 75, 79 (2d Cir. 1998).
In resolving discovery
disputes, the court is guided by the standards supplied by Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 26(b), which courts construe broadly. See Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v.
Sanders, 437 U.S. 340, 351, (1978).
In the context of employment discrimination cases, of which this case is
one, courts typically apply more "liberal civil discovery rules," giving plaintiffs
"broad access to employers' records in an effort to document their claims."
Wards Cove Packing Co. v. Atonio, 490 U.S. 642, 657 (1989), superseded by
statute on other grounds, Civil Rights Act of 1991, Pub. L. No. 102-166, 105
Stat. 1074. Courts have noted that, in such cases, "the scope of discovery must
go beyond the specifics of the plaintiffs claim." Chan v. NYU Downtown Hosp.,
No. 03-cv-3003, 2004 WL 1886009, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 23, 2004).
In this case, plaintiff argues that she needs "Potential Comparator"
information from the beginning of her career at Sirius XM Radio in order to
establish that, from the outset, she was paid at a lower rate than her male peers.
Defendant responds by simply contending plaintiff is not entitled to discovery
outside of the period of statute of limitations-in this case, 2006. See ECF No.
The court finds that defendant's position is without merit, and that the
information plaintiff seeks from 2001 to present is likely to reveal information
that is relevant to plaintiff's discrimination claims. Specifically, the court finds
that the information sought will aid in understanding whether or to what extent
plaintiff started off and continued at a lower pay rate than her male peers.
The court also finds that the specific discovery plaintiff seeks-consisting
of documents outside of the relevant statute of limitations that may show a
pattern of pay disparity that began when plaintiff was promoted-is both
reasonable and rests squarely within Second Circuit precedent. In an Equal Pay
Act case involving alleged payment of unequal wages to employees on the basis
of sex, the Second Circuit observed the relevance of establishing comparators as
of the time that the "initial pay differential" was created.
See Jamilik v. Yale
Univ., 362 F. App'x 148, 150 (2d Cir. 2009). This reasoning flows from the logical
inference that, if, at the time of her promotion, plaintiff was given a lower salary
than her male counterparts because of her gender or sexual orientation, then
there are grounds to believe that the salary gap between plaintiff and her male
counterparts persisted throughout plaintiff's employ.
However, the court declines to grant plaintiff discovery back to the year
2000. The complaint alleges that Sirius XM Radio engaged in pay discrimination
when she began as an imaging producer, not when she first began working at
Sirius XM Radio. The complaint in this case is about the alleged disparities in
wages, benefits, and treatment between DeLuca and her male producer
counterparts, not her male assistant producer counterparts in 2000.
relevant time period therefore began when DeLuca became a producer in
Pursuant to the foregoing, the court grants plaintiff's motion to compel
discovery from 2001 to present as to the discovery categories relating to
"Potential Comparators" provided in ECF No. 28 Ex. 2. This resolves ECF No.
28 on the docket.
Dated: New York, New York
May 27, 2016
Thomas P. Gries a
United States District Judge
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