Head of MCB Labor & Employment practice, Partner Valerie K. Ferrier, obtained a favorable result for our client hospital in Queens County. MCB moved to dismiss this action involving three claims of age discrimination by a retired doctor, based on a signed release of all such claims, as well as a claim for breach of contract, and for an award of attorney’s fees, pursuant to the release. In opposition, the doctor argued that he never signed a release, only a three page “agreement,” which he annexed to the opposition. The three pages were, in fact, pages numbered 1, 2, and 7 of the release.
The court declined to dismiss the breach of contract claim, but dismissed all the three discrimination claims. The court held that “[W]hat plaintiff seeks in this instance is an implausible finding that an educated doctor, such as plaintiff, would sign a contract that, facially, was missing four out of seven pages. ‘A plaintiff is expected to exercise ordinary diligence and may not claim to have reasonably relied on a defendant's representations where he has means available to him of knowing, by the exercise of ordinary intelligence, the truth or the real quality of the subject of the representation.’” The court held that the plaintiff failed to show there was fraud, duress or other facts sufficient to void the release.
Further, the court held that the hospital is entitled to its attorney fees under the release, but that it was premature to determine the amount of fees owed by the doctor at this stage of the proceedings.