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New York’s Appellate Division, 1st Department, has annulled a $250,000 judgment by the commissioner of the state Division of Human Rights, in part because of the “inexplicable” way it took 17 years for the agency to decide the case from when a claim was initially filed to the final determination in September 2006.

In an unsigned ruling in Annex Hotel v. New York State Division of Human Rights, 117588/06, the panel found that the employer, the Annex Hotel, faced “substantial prejudice” in trying to defend itself against the charge of creating a hostile work place because a key witness — the employee who allegedly was engaging in sexual harassment — died before the Division of Human Rights took testimony from him.

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