The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lamberth, District Judge.
This matter comes before the court on defendants' motion to
dismiss Counts II and III of the complaint filed by plaintiff
James R. Sheppard. Specifically, defendants move to dismiss Count
II, based on 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and Count III, which is based on
tortious interference with contractual relations. Upon
consideration of the written submissions of the parties, and the
relevant law, defendants' motion to dismiss the claim under
42 U.S.C. § 1981 is denied. Defendants' motion to dismiss the claim
based on tortious interference with contractual relations is
Plaintiff, an African-American male, brings this action to
recover damages for injuries he suffered as a result of
discriminatory employment practices by defendants Dickstein,
Shapiro, Morin & Oshinsky ("Dickstein"); Ms. Sharon O'Meara
("O'Meara"); Tyanna Ertter ("Ertter"); and Natalie Bernstein
("Bernstein"). Dickstein is the law firm where plaintiff worked,
while the remaining defendants were plaintiff's supervisors.
Plaintiff alleges that defendant Dickstein has violated Title VII
through its actions. Dickstein has not moved to dismiss that
claim. Further, plaintiff alleges that all defendants violated
his rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and that defendants O'Meara,
Ertter, and Bernstein tortiously interfered with his employment
relationship and economic advantage with Dickstein. Defendants
oppose both these claims in their motion to dismiss.
B. Employment Position With Dickstein
Plaintiff was employed as a Records Manager at Dickstein from
July 1996 until July 9, 1997. Plaintiff was an at-will employee,
whose employment could be terminated at any time by either party.
Dickstein offered plaintiff employment when his previous
employer, Anderson Kill Olick Oshinsky ("Anderson Kill") merged
with Dickstein. Plaintiff began his employment with Anderson Kill
in 1993, and was promoted to Records Manager in June 1995.
Throughout his employment at Anderson Kill, plaintiff's
performance was considered excellent.
After the merger, plaintiff's position at Dickstein entailed
the same duties as he performed at Anderson Kill. Plaintiff was
primarily responsible for maintaining a database of all active
and inactive client records. Plaintiff continued to work with
many of the same support staff and attorneys that he worked with
at Anderson Kill. However, plaintiff was no longer managed by the
same immediate supervisor.
After the merger, Dickstein renovated its offices. During this
period, only plaintiff and two other managers, who were white
females, were constantly moved and shuffled between several
different office spaces. Of the three, plaintiff was the only
manager assigned a small, windowless room for training.
Conversely, the other two managers were given window offices. The
other support staff managers were not moved during the renovation
and were assigned window offices.
C. Allegations of Racial Statements By Supervisors
Plaintiff alleges that his supervisors made several racially
biased statements during his employment. Specifically, plaintiff
recalls suggesting where defendant Ertter, his supervisor, asked
plaintiff to interview a part-time Dickstein employee who was
interested in a full-time position. Defendant Ertter allegedly
attacked the intelligence of the employee, an African-American,
and asked plaintiff to determine if the employee was "trainable."
Further, plaintiff asserts that defendant Ertter made other
allegedly racially biased remarks. Specifically, plaintiff
recalls an incident where he suggested that the storage
supervisor, an African-American male, learn the computer software
system to facilitate data entry of files in storage. Ertter
responded that the employee was incapable of performing simple
tasks, and that "we should take it one day at a time. It took him
a year to learn how to log-in." See Pl.Comp. at 5.
Plaintiff contends that racially biased statements were also
made by defendant O'Meara, his other supervisor. During a job
search for a relief receptionist, O'Meara was approached by a
Dickstein employee to consider an internal, African-American
candidate who worked part-time in the firm's supply department.
Plaintiff asserts that O'Meara would not consider the candidate,
stating that he was "too black" for the job. See Pl.Comp. at 6.
In January 1997, plaintiff received an annual increase in
salary of approximately four percent. Plaintiff submits evidence
that four percent was the maximum pay increase Dickstein
employees received that year. In June 1997, plaintiff was offered
another position with a law firm at a substantial increase in
salary. Upon learning this, plaintiff asserts that many of the
attorneys with whom he worked with at Anderson Kill actively
sought to keep him employed at Dickstein. Plaintiff requested a
raise and other employment concessions to remain at Dickstein.
Dickstein agreed to these concessions, including a substantial
E. Explanation And Problems With RMS Software
Prior to plaintiff's employment with Dickstein, the firm
purchased a records management software program ("RMS") from MDY
Advanced Technologies, Inc. ("MDY"), a computer service company.
As Records Manager, plaintiff was assigned the task of
implementing the RMS software firm-wide to automate Dickstein's
client records and files. Plaintiff was trained on the RMS
software by an MDY representative. Plaintiff contends that he had
an excellent knowledge of the RMS software and was the only
employee at Dickstein to use the software on a daily basis.
Plaintiff also trained several employees to use the RMS software.
Dickstein encountered several problems with the RMS software.
For example, the Insurance Practice Group could not utilize the
software because the group utilized an extensive WordPerfect
index to organize their client files. Dickstein also encountered
problems involving the numbering of consecutive volumes of
pleadings files. Finally, Dickstein encountered "bugs" in the RMS
system, which would abruptly terminate the RMS system during data
entry into the database. Plaintiff contends that MDY either
delayed in solving these problems, or did not solve them at all.
Despite these deficiencies, plaintiff was able to successfully
automate the file records of the Civil Litigation Practice Group.
F. RMS Demonstration With MDY
In June 1997, Miriam Kramer ("Kramer"), an MDY representative,
called plaintiff and asked if they could give a demonstration of
the RMS software at Dickstein to the law firm of Arent Fox
Kintner Plotkin & Kahn ("Arent Fox") as a courtesy. Plaintiff
asserts that his job duties and responsibilities at Dickstein did
not require ...