During the past year, the Second Circuit decided three cases that guide district courts in ruling on summary judgment motions in cases brought under the federal anti-discrimination laws: Gallagher v. Delaney,139 F3d 338 (2d Cir. 1998), Norton v. Sam’s Club, 145 F3d 114 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 119 S. Ct. 511 (1998) and Distasio v. Perkin Elmer Corp., 157 F3d 55 (2d Cir. 1998). Gallagherdiscouraged summary judgment in favor of jury trials and was initially viewed by some district court judges as raising the bar for the employer’s motion for summary judgment. The subsequent decisions in Nortonand Distasio, however, reaffirmed that summary judgment remains an appropriate — even mandated — remedy in the employment discrimination context when the plaintiff has failed to raise a triable issue of fact.
This article examines the impact of these three decisions on summary judgment motions in discrimination cases under the federal anti-discrimination laws in the Second Circuit.