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Kevin Kaiser vs. Raoul's Restaurant Corp., Cindy Smith et al. - Index No. 112674/2007

Lax & Neville LLP successfully defends appeal of a summary judgment in an age discrimination and defamation action. Lax & Neville represented Raoul's Restaurant Corp. (“Raoul’s”), a well-known restaurant in New York City, Guy and Serge Raoul, owners of Raoul’s, and Cindy Smith, an employee of Raoul's (collectively, the “Defendants”), before the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, which unanimously affirmed Judge York’s decision granting the Defendants’ motions for summary judgment dismissing the complaint. Specifically, the Appellate Division held that the Defendants established their entitlement to judgment as a matter of law of Plaintiff’s age-based discrimination claim under the New York City Human Rights law (Administrative Code of the City of New York § 8-107). In reaching its decision, the Appellate Division reasoned that the Defendants articulated legitimate, non-pretextual reasons for firing the Plaintiff, and Plaintiff failed to raise an issue of fact that the reasons proffered by the Defendants were a pretext for discrimination. The Appellate Division also held that the trial court properly dismissed the Plaintiff’s age discrimination claim under the “mixed-motive framework” for discrimination cases. Finally, the Appellate Division held that the trial court properly dismissed Plaintiff’s defamation claim against Ms. Smith under the common interest privilege.

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