Sunday, November 24, 2013

Blank v. Sullivan & Cromwell case brief

Blank v. Sullivan & Cromwell case brief summary
16 Fair Empl. Prac. Cas. (BNA) 87 (S.D.N.Y. 1976)

Plaintiff employee brought a class gender discrimination action against defendant employer pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000e et seq. The employee filed a motion for rehearing and modification of so much of the court's order, which modified a magistrate's report insofar as it recommended compliance with the employee's interrogatories, by denying discovery as to certain interrogatories.

In conjunction with her Title VII gender discrimination action against the employer, the employee sought to discover certain information concerning discrimination at the employer's partnership level. The employer challenged the interrogatories the employee propounded in this regard. The court modified the report of the magistrate by denying discovery as to some of the interrogatories in question. The employee filed a motion for rehearing.


  • On reconsideration, the court directed the employer to answer the interrogatories. 
  • The court determined that the narrow inquiry was whether the information requested was so unrelated to the employee's claim that women were discriminated against by the employer on account of sex that it was not "relevant" within the expansive meaning of that term in Fed. R. Civ. P. 26. 
  • The court concluded that even if Title VII did not proscribe the use of sex as a criterion for admission to partnership, that legal conclusion did not necessarily indicate that evidence of sexually oriented discrimination at that level was not probative of a similar pattern in the selection of associates, where it would have been illegal.

Upon reconsideration the court decided to order the employer to respond to the interrogatories at issue in the employee's Title VII gender discrimination action.

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