FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New York Civil Rights Lawyer Eric Sanders, Esq., of The Sanders Firm, P.C., announces the filing of a federal lawsuit by NYPD Police Officer Hunna I. Lipke claiming that Dr. Gaetano V. Bello of the NYPD Pregnancy Medical District engaged in racial and pregnancy discrimination against her
NEW YORK, N.Y., September 28, 2022 – Eric Sanders, Esq., owner of The Sanders Firm, P.C., a law firm recognized for vigorously representing civil rights victims in New York City, today announced the filing of a 17-count federal civil rights complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The lawsuit names the City of New York as defendant, accompanied by Pregnancy Medical District employees Gaetano V. Bello, medical doctor, and April Banners, senior police administrative aide.
On October 18, 2021, Lipke alleges that she was diagnosed with Hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and electrolyte disturbance. She claims her OB/GYN advised that she was to be on bedrest and receive IV infusion treatment due to severe dehydration and weight loss. The OB/GYN instructed her to go to the hospital for immediate treatment for dehydration while awaiting approval from her insurance carrier for at-home infusion treatments. Lipke alleges she reported sick to the NYPD Medical Division on November 3rd and had to go to the emergency room on November 4th.
On November 8th, Lipke claims she spoke with Bello and alleges he threatened her, stating that he wanted to speak with her OB/GYN or he would return her to work with restricted duty status, despite the order for strict bedrest. Lipke claims that her OB/GYN left numerous telephones messages for Bello over the coming days, but he never responded. He then returned Lipke to work on restricted duty status on November 16th. Lipke claims she returned to work at the 109th Precinct with an IV in her arm, at which point her supervisor reported her sick to the NYPD Medical Division and sent her home.
Over the coming months Lipke alleges she continued to be subjected to a pattern of discriminatory and abusive treatment by Bello, despite experiencing documented medical events and having been diagnosed with additional conditions, including syncope (frequent fainting), irregular heartbeat and Fanconi Anemia Type A, which worsens during the pregnancy.
Additionally, the complaint alleges that Lipke was subjected to discriminatory and disparaging comments centered on her ethnicity and condition by Bello, including his statement to her during a January in-person visit, “I’m surprised that you would even have anemia and a heart monitor is nothing serious, considering you’re Asian. It’s mostly an Italian thing unless you have Italian in you?”
Over that same period, Lipke continued to request a reasonable accommodation regarding work due to her condition, but was repeatedly denied.
In filing this civil rights complaint, Lipke alleges that the unchecked actions of Bello against her, motivated by race and gender, caused her to suffer from depression and anxiety, and jeopardized the health, safety and welfare of herself and fetus. Lipke further alleges that the department is aware of similar complaints of mistreatment filed against Bello for years, but that the NYPD has done nothing to protect its female uniformed employees.
“Needless to say, the organizational operation of the Pregnancy Medical District is problematic,” states Sanders. “As we proceed through the civil litigation, we’re eager to create an alternative solution for its female employees.”
This federal civil rights lawsuit was filed on September 23, 2022, in United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York: Lipke v. City of New York, et al. Docket No.: 1:22-cv-05687.
About The Sanders Firm, P.C.
The Sanders Firm, P.C. offers those in the New York City area legal services related and connected to civil rights, civil service rights, criminal law and discrimination. We firmly believe in everyone’s individual rights that are described and guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America. We understand that our freedoms and liberties are sacrosanct and that they have been won in many and various hard-fought battles. We are committed in every way to protecting your civil rights.
Eric Sanders, Esq.
President and Owner