A motion to dismiss portions of a sexual harassment lawsuit in which Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State of New York are mentioned was filed on January 5, 2018. The lawsuit against Sam Hoyt, the former regional president of the Empire State Development Corporation, was filed in November and alleges that Hoyt sexually harassed and abused the woman who filed it. Criminal defense attorney Barry Covert spoke to WIVB about the suit and whether the motion to dismiss the portions regarding Governor Cuomo might be granted. The full story is available on the WIVB website and by watching the video below.
Suit seeks damages from the State
According to WIVB, the lawsuit states that Governor Cuomo did not prevent Hoyt’s harassment and did not take action after being made aware of it. It also claims that the Governor did not investigate the allegations properly. The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as well as legal fees, from the state. The motion to dismiss the state and Governor Cuomo from the lawsuit cites the 11th Amendment, which states that individuals cannot sue “a state, its agencies or officials in federal court, absent the state’s consent or an express statutory waiver of immunity.” The motion also claims that the Governor was not aware of the harassment allegations.
When asked about the lawsuit, Mr. Covert explained that it is still very early on. “The first thing that [the State has] done is file a motion to dismiss because they don’t even want this to get to the next level, which is discovery,” he said. Mr. Covert went on to say that the woman who filed the suit “may well be able to uncover more evidence that Governor Cuomo knew or should have known that these allegations were out there.”
About Barry N. Covert
Mr. Covert is a senior partner in Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria’s Criminal Defense Trials and Appeals Practice Area. He is known for his aggressive representation of clients in the areas of New York State and federal criminal trials and appeals; driving while intoxicated; constitutional law, including First Amendment, civil rights actions, and federal False Claims Act; defending against allegations of scientific misconduct and fraud, research misconduct and fraud, plagiarism, and fabrication of evidence; and professional licensing defense. Mr. Covert frequently provides legal analysis for WGRZ and other media outlets.