University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name EEOC v. S.G.T. CINELLI'S, INC. EE-NC-0094
Docket / Court 5:06-cv-00305-BO ( E.D.N.C. )
State/Territory North Carolina
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection EEOC Study -- in sample
Attorney Organization EEOC
Case Summary
On August 3, 2006, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission brought this suit against S.G.T. Cinelli's, Inc., doing business as Cinelli's Restaurant, and its related corporate entity Cinelli's Ristorante, Inc. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina ... read more >
On August 3, 2006, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission brought this suit against S.G.T. Cinelli's, Inc., doing business as Cinelli's Restaurant, and its related corporate entity Cinelli's Ristorante, Inc. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. It alleged that the company violated Title VII by subjecting two female employees to a sexually hostile work environment that included frequent sexual harassment in the form of lewd gestures, comments, and touching. The plaintiff sought damages and injunctive relief. The case was assigned to Judge Terrence W. Boyle.

On November 16, 2006, the EEOC amended its complaint to include both the main Cinelli’s Restaurant and its related corporate entity, Cinelli’s Ristorante. Starting in January 2007, the case was briefly stayed for settlement talks, but these were unsuccessful. In March 2007, Cinelli’s (through each of its corporate entities) filed answers to the amended complaint. Shortly afterward, all of Cinelli’s lawyers for all of its litigating entities sought to withdraw as counsel. The court granted the lawyers permission to withdraw on April 23, 2007.

On January 11, 2008, the EEOC moved for default judgment, as a corporation cannot defend a suit without legal representation. The court deferred ruling on this request for several months before finally granting it on August 12 of that year, after Cinelli’s continually failed to respond. 2008 WL 3539806. On August 27, the court held a hearing where a lawyer from the EEOC presented her case for the plaintiff. The defendant did not show up.

On September 12, 2008, the court entered judgment in favor of the plaintiff and awarded approximately $87,674 in damages. Each of the injured employees received $25,000 plus interest in compensatory damages, and one of them received an additional $12,674 in back pay. They also received a gross $25,000 jointly and severally in punitive damages.

The court did not grant injunctive relief. We do not know whether defendant paid the damages, but there is nothing further in the docket, so it seems likely that they did. Cinelli’s Restaurant has since closed.

Jason Chester - 05/28/2008
Rebecca Strauss - 05/22/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Discrimination-area
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
EEOC-centric
Direct Suit on Merits
General
Disparate Treatment
Plaintiff Type
EEOC Plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Defendant(s) Cinelli's Ristorante, Inc.
S.G.T. Cinelli's, Inc.
Plaintiff Description Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, on behalf of two women employees who complained of a hostile work environment.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations EEOC
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Source of Relief Litigation
Filing Year 2006
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  Cary restaurant must pay up in sexual harrassment suit
Triangle Business Journal
Date: Sep. 16, 2008
By: Chris Coletta (Triangle Business Journal)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
5:06-cv-00305-BO (E.D.N.C.)
EE-NC-0094-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/12/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1-1]
EE-NC-0094-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/03/2006
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 4-1]
EE-NC-0094-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/16/2006
Decision and Order [Granting Motion to Compel Discovery] (E.D.N.C.)
EE-NC-0094-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/21/2008
Order [ECF# 37] (E.D.N.C.)
EE-NC-0094-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/08/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment [ECF# 41] (E.D.N.C.)
EE-NC-0094-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/12/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Boyle, Terrence William (E.D.N.C.)
EE-NC-0094-0004 | EE-NC-0094-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cohen, Kerith (Virginia)
EE-NC-0094-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Weaver, Reagan H. (North Carolina)
EE-NC-0094-9000
Other Lawyers Harris, Nelson G. (North Carolina)
EE-NC-0094-9000

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