for third parties who suffer emotional injury after witnessing discriminatory conduct to others regardless of the nature of the relationship between the witness and the injured party.
2. Plaintiff CSI
Defendant contends that Plaintiff CSI does not have standing to sue under the DCHRA and § 1981 because corporations are legal entities separate and distinct from the religious and racial identities of the individuals who comprise the corporation. Plaintiff CSI argues that because the corporation is closely held by Plaintiff Gersman and his wife the identity of the corporation is therefore Jewish. The caselaw is split in the lower courts on whether a corporation can possess the identity of its members for purposes of a cause of action for discrimination.
In Village of Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Hous. Dev. Corp., 429 U.S. 252, 50 L. Ed. 2d 450, 97 S. Ct. 555 (1977), the Supreme Court stated that "a corporation . . . has no racial identity and cannot be the direct target of the alleged discrimination." Id. at 263. Although, as both Parties recognize, this language is dicta, the statement does not stand in jurisprudential isolation but is predicated on the long-standing recognition that a corporation is a creation of state law with the intent that it have an identity separate and distinct from that of its members or organizers. See Moline Properties v. Commissioner, 319 U.S. 436, 439, 87 L. Ed. 1499, 63 S. Ct. 1132 (1943). Accordingly, this Court declines to treat the language as dicta and rules, as have other lower courts interpreting Village of Arlington Heights, that a corporation can have no religious or racial identity. See, e.g., Triad Assocs., Inc. v. Chicago Hous. Auth., 1988 LEXIS 582, No. 87 C 5096 (N.D.Ill. Jan 27, 1988).
Even if a corporation could assume the racial or religious identity of its members, this Court would still rule that Plaintiff CSI did not have standing to bring this action. In Hudson Valley Freedom Theater, Inc. v. Heimbach, 671 F.2d 702 (2d Cir. 1982), the court held that a corporation possesses a racial or religious identity to have standing to bring an action for racial discrimination under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983 only where a functional nexus exists between the purpose or activity of the corporation and the identity of the members of that corporation. Id. at 705-06. In Hudson Valley Freedom Theater, Inc., the plaintiff was a nonprofit corporation "established for the very purpose of advancing minority interests," id. at 706, specifically, promoting black and Hispanic culture.
In the instant case, Plaintiff CSI is merely a vehicle by which Plaintiff Gersman has chosen to earn his living and the corporate purpose is independent of Plaintiff Gersman's religious faith or racial identity. In other words, Plaintiff CSI does not serve to advance Plaintiff Gersman's racial or religious identity but simply his economic interests. Although other courts have found that a corporation can have a racial or religious identity by the mere fact that it is owned or controlled by members of a protected class, see, e.g., T & S Serv. Assocs. v. Crenson, 505 F. Supp. at 943; Howard Sec. Servs., Inc. v. Johns Hopkins Hosp., 516 F. Supp. 508, 513 (D. Md. 1981), this Court finds them unpersuasive.
Accordingly, it is hereby
ORDERED that Defendant's motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' complaint is GRANTED.
JUDGMENT ORDER-November 13, 1989, Filed
In accordance with the Memorandum Opinion and Order of November 13, 1989 in which this Court granted Defendant's motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' complaint in this matter, it is hereby
ORDERED THAT JUDGMENT IS ENTERED for DEFENDANT.