A Flushing man who claimed the New York Yankees fired him from a clubhouse position with the team because he is gay has lost a battle in state court.
Paul Priore, 39, of Flushing, filed the $50 million suit against the Yankees in 1998, one year after he lost his job, said his attorney, Edward Pavia.
On May 29, the state Appellate Divisions First Department unanimously backed the Yankees motion to dismiss the case. Pavia said he filed a motion to reargue the case.
In 1996, Priore started working with the Yankees as a clubhouse attendant, responsible for cleaning uniforms and keeping the clubhouse in order, Pavia said.
Priore had been coming to the clubhouse for years, since his father was clubhouse manager, his attorney said.
During his year of formal employment, Priore was harassed by three Yankee players, Pavia said.
He was subject to ongoing sexual harassment, Pavia said. Verbal as well as physical.
The Yankees did not return calls for comment.
When Priore complained to Yankees management, they did nothing, Pavia said.
After discovering Priore was gay and HIV-positive, the Yankees fired him from the organization, Pavia said.
Priores father, Nick, was fired shortly after the Yankees cut his son from the team, Pavia said.
But the appellate court found that other than Priores own testimony, there was no evidence that the Yankees knew of the alleged harassment.
Accordingly, the management ... cannot be held vicariously liable for condoning a situation ... about which they were not only unaware but had no reason to suspect, Judge Richard Wallach wrote in the decision, Newsday reported.
Priore has worked odd jobs since his firing and is currently unemployed, his attorney said.
Priore was seeking more than $50 million in the suit, Pavia said.
Both Pavia and Martha Flores Vazquez, a Flushing Democratic district leader and friend of Priore, said he has become depressed in recent years.
I hope things get better, Vazquez said. I am very concerned at this point. Justice must prevail. It doesnt matter if you are the Yankees.
Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300 Ext. 141.
©2003 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.