Michael v. Bloomberg, L.P.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER.....The defendants September 15, 2016 motion for summary judgment is granted. The NYLL claims brought by Roseman are dismissed with prejudice. (Signed by Judge Denise L. Cote on 9/27/2017) (gr)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
ERIC MICHAEL ROSEMAN, ALEXANDER LEE,
and WILLIAM VAN VLEET, individually and:
on behalf of others similarly situated,:
DENISE COTE, District Judge:
On September 15, 2016, the defendant Bloomberg L.P. moved
for summary judgment as to the New York Labor Law (“NYLL”)
claims of plaintiff Eric Michael Roseman.
Bloomberg argues that
Roseman’s NYLL claims are barred because of the Separation
Agreement and General Release (“Agreement”) Roseman signed upon
his termination of employment with Bloomberg.
recently reassigned to this Court.
This action was
For the following reasons,
Bloomberg’s motion is granted.
Roseman signed the Agreement on January 30, 2014.
Agreement declares that the “parties mutually understand and
agreed to the following in full and final resolution of all
disputes between them.”
Among its many provisions, the
Agreement states that Roseman “releases and forever discharges
[Bloomberg] . . . from any and all causes of action . . .
including . . .
for . . . wages, back pay or front pay; and
under any federal, state, or local law ordinance, including but
not limited to claimed violations of fair employment
The Agreement specifically mentions the “New York
Labor Law” as a statute under which Roseman is barred from
bringing a claim.
The Agreement also states:
Employee affirms, by signing this Agreement, that no claims
of any kind, including but not limited to those relating to
or arising out of his/her employment with the Company or
the termination thereof, are currently pending against any
Releasee, and that he/she agrees not to file any such
actions in any court or administrative agency for his/her
In the Agreement Roseman represents that he “carefully read
and understood the terms of this Agreement” and entered into the
Agreement “knowingly, voluntarily, and of [his] own free will.”
He promised to “abide by its provisions without exception.”
Agreement acknowledges that Roseman had “been instructed to
consult with an attorney prior to executing this Agreement, and
that [he was] given 14 days to consider this Agreement.”
“A written agreement that is complete, clear and
unambiguous on its face must be enforced according to the plain
meaning of its terms.”
Marin v. Constitution Realty, LLC, 28
N.Y.3d 666, 673 (2017) (citation omitted).
“A contract is
unambiguous if the language it uses has a definite and precise
meaning, unattended by danger of misconception in the purport of
the agreement itself, and concerning which there is no
reasonable basis for a difference of opinion.”
Co. of America v. County of Rensselaer, 26 N.Y.3d 649, 655
(2016) (citation omitted).
“Therefore, if a contract on its
face is reasonably susceptible of only one meaning, a court is
not free to alter the contract to reflect its personal notions
of fairness and equity.”
Id. (citation omitted).
agreement is ambiguous or unambiguous is an issue of law for the
courts to decide.”
Marin, 28 N.Y.3d at 673 (citation omitted).
In New York, courts will enforce “a valid release which is
clear and unambiguous on its face and which is knowingly and
voluntarily entered into . . . as a private agreement between
Skluth v. United Merch. & Mfr., Inc., 163 A.D.2d 104,
106 (N.Y. App. Div. 1990) (citation omitted).
A plaintiff may
challenge a release if it is the “product of fraud, duress, or
Here, the language of the Agreement is unambiguous.
bars Roseman from bringing the NYLL claims against Bloomberg
that he pleads in this action.
Roseman does not contend that
the Agreement was the product of fraud, duress or undue
Therefore, Roseman’s NYLL claims are barred by the
Agreement unless Roseman can demonstrate that he did not enter
into it knowingly and voluntarily.
There is no evidence from
which one could conclude that Roseman did not execute the
Agreement knowingly and voluntarily.
Roseman is an educated person.
written in plain English.
The Agreement’s terms are
He was given two weeks to consider
whether to execute the Agreement and advised in it to consult
with an attorney.
At a June 6, 2016 deposition, Roseman
answered that he understood that he was waiving certain claims
against Bloomberg when he signed the Agreement.
essential to this analysis, he had the advice of a qualified
lawyer -- who now works at Getman Sweeney -- when he signed the
See Skluth, 163 A.D.2d at 107 (the opportunity to
consult counsel is more critical than the actual consultation
The defendant’s September 15, 2016 motion for summary
judgment is granted.
The NYLL claims brought by Roseman are
dismissed with prejudice.
New York, New York
September 27, 2017
United States District Judge
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