Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The "Dumb Shit" Ph.D. in Aventura. By Geniusofdespair

Aventura City Manager Eric "Soroka routinely and indiscriminately cursed at male and female employees." Court Testimony of 2 of Soroka's assistants.

Here is some dirty laundry for you. Years ago the principal of the Aventura Charter School of Excellence, located in the City of Excellence -- also known as Aventura -- was fired by the City Manager. Dr. Katherine Murphy sued the City, she also sued the City Manager, Eric Soroka and his wife who is the City Clerk, Teresa Soroka. Yes the town is inbred but no one gives a crap. Even Soroka's son's lawfirm gets city work according to a reader. The married couple are the gate keepers and no one gets near the Commissioners or the Mayor if they can help it. You can see this behavior in the complaint but I knew it was true before I read it. I blame the Aventura government for being lazy turds and letting Eric and his wife rule the city with an iron hand. Eric is a nasty guy, I never knew how nasty until I read this complaint that was filed June 10, 2010 (warning, if you don't like reading curses don't go any further):

Murphy described eleven different incidents in which Soroka allegedly harassed her about her work performance:

(1) in April 2003, after Murphy offered to let a city commissioner teach some lessons at the school, Soroka called Murphy a “dumb shit,” prohibited her from inviting commissioners to the school, and told her that “[i]t’s fucking inappropriate for you to talk to them”;

(2) also in April, after Murphy talked to Elaine Adler, the President of the Aventura Marketing Council, Soroka instructed Murphy to cease contact with Adler and told Murphy that she was a “stupid fuck” who failed to “get [the] message that [she was] not to do this”;

(3) in May 2003, after Murphy talked to a second city commissioner, Soroka told Murphy that “[y]ou directors do not talk” and called Murphy a “stupid shit” and a “dumb fuck”;

(4) Soroka screamed and yelled at Murphy when a parent complained about the school;

(5) Soroka “would call [Murphy] if there was an event at the school . . . and two commissioners were in the same building at the same time and call . . . her words like you slut” or “you goddamn fuck-up and ask her, can’t you get this?”;

(6) Soroka called Murphy a “dumb fuck” for the way she had addressed requests by parents for more input at board meetings and in the school;

(there is plenty more!)

(7) Soroka would appear at a school advisory meeting in a “bad” mood and insult Murphy by saying things like “you dumb shit, you stupid fuck, you fucked up, how come you can’t do this, why can’t you control staff, an idiot could take care of this, . . . you have the mindlessness of a hooker”;

(8) Soroka accused Murphy of meeting commissioners for dinner, accused her of not learning her lesson, called her a “dumb shit,” threatened to fire her, and warned her that if she had lied about the assemblage being coincidental that she “was fucked”;

(9) in 2005, Soroka called Murphy a “goddamn slut” after reading an article about her in the newspaper that he had not approved;

(10) while Murphy was conducting a parent-teacher conference in the Spring of 2006, Soroka called and told Murphy that she was a “stupid shit . . . you slut, how can you do this? . . . Don’t you goddamn learn your lessons”; and

(11) in the Summer of 2006, Soroka called Murphy a “goddamn stupid fuck” after she refused to give student records to Soroka’s wife.

Murphy described five incidents in which Soroka allegedly harassed her about her personal life:

(1) Soroka called Murphy about having dinner with Luz Weinberg, a city commissioner in the midst of her second divorce, and Soroka said the women looked like hookers;

(2) after learning Murphy had gone to dinner with Weinberg a second time, Soroka told Murphy that she looked like a "whore to be with her, because . . . [Weinberg] looks like a slut as well, out when she's working on her second divorce";

(3) Soroka told Murphy that dining in a restaurant alone made her look like a "whore";

(4) Soroka ridiculed and used vulgar language with Murphy after she, city commissioners, and the mayor attended a charity event for a child who [*5] had been killed in Israel; and

(5) Soroka also ridiculed Murphy about attending a charity event for cystic fibrosis at which city commissioners and the mayor were present. Murphy alleged that Soroka had called her a "stupid bitch," but Murphy did not explain where, when, or why the comment was made. Murphy also alleged that, in June or July of 2003 after Soroka overheard a mother remark that her buxom daughter could not wear a school uniform, Soroka stated in Murphy's presence, "[w]ouldn't all women love to have that problem."

All the defendants moved for summary judgment. The City argued that

Soroka did not sexually harass Murphy because the majority of Soroka’s remarks

were gender-neutral, and the other remarks were not sufficiently pervasive or

severe and did not interfere with Murphy’s job performance. The City also argued

that Soroka fired Murphy, not in retaliation, but because she had violated the

school enrollment policy by admitting former student Jake Norman before other

children on the waiting list; she had accepted money from Norman’s parents to

expedite his admission; and she had misappropriated school funds.

The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the City and sua

sponte dismissed without prejudice Murphy’s complaints that the Charter School



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companies, the Sorokas, and Monroe had violated state law. The district court

ruled that Murphy failed to establish that she was subject to a hostile work

environment. The district court found that nine of the eighteen remarks described

by Murphy constituted “generalized profanity and insults.” The district court also

found that Murphy failed to establish that Soroka “singled out females as the

targets for” the profanity based on statements by Judy Appelgren, Soroka’s

assistant, and Ginger Kimnick that Soroka routinely and indiscriminately cursed at

male and female employees. The district court found that the remaining nine

remarks, although sex-based and offensive, did not rise to the level of sexual

harassment because they were of “limited frequency,” having occurred over two

years and eight months; were not severe; were not physically threatening and were

not humiliating; and did not “unreasonably interfere” with Murphy’s work

performance. The district court also ruled that Murphy failed to establish a prima

facie case of retaliation. The district court determined that Murphy failed to

establish that she had complained about gender-based discrimination and, in the

alternative, she lacked an objectively reasonable belief that she was subject to a

hostile work environment based on sexual harassment.

Murphy argues that Soroka’s remarks, particularly his gender-specific

remarks, created a debatable issue about whether she was a victim of sexual



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harassment, but we disagree. The district court was entitled to conclude that

Soroka’s remarks that Murphy was a “dumb shit,” “stupid fuck,” and “dumb fuck,”

fell “under the rubric of general vulgarity that Title VII does not regulate.” Reeves

v. C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc., 594 F.3d 798, 810 n.4 (11th Cir. 2010) (en

banc). The record establishes that Soroka also employed these vulgarities to

criticize male employees. Although Soroka’s use of terms like “slut,” “whore,”

“bitch,” “hooker,” and his remark about a young student’s bust size were no doubt

degrading and sex based, Soroka’s nine remarks, made over the course of over

three years, were neither severe nor pervasive. Murphy also failed to produce

evidence that Soroka’s conduct unreasonably interfered with her work

performance. Soroka rated Murphy’s job performance as excellent or exemplary,

and in October 2006, Soroka awarded Murphy a raise and a written commendation.

Murphy argues that Soroka’s remarks caused her to suffer nightmares, depression,

and anxiety, but Murphy testified that these symptoms did not surface until a

month after she was terminated. The district court correctly granted summary

judgment in favor of the City and against Murphy’s complaint of sexual

harassment.

Murphy argues that her complaints about Soroka’s comments constituted

protected activity that supports a claim of retaliation, but again we disagree.



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Murphy failed to provide any evidence that she engaged in statutorily protected

activity. “A complaint about an employment practice constitutes protected

opposition only if the individual explicitly or implicitly communicates a belief that

the practice constitutes unlawful employment discrimination.” EEOC Compl.

Man. (CCH) §§ 8-II-B(2) (2006); see Crawford v. Metro. Gov’t, 129 S. Ct. 846,

851 (2009) (using the EEOC manual in interpreting the opposition clause of the

antiretaliation statute). Murphy testified that she asked Soroka to stop bullying her

and that she complained to a former supervisor, Soroka’s assistant, and a city

commissioner that Soroka had used “vulgar, inappropriate language,” and engaged

in “bullying, yelling, [and] screaming.” Murphy failed to report Soroka’s conduct,

formally or informally, to her employer, and Murphy acknowledged that she did

not complain to Soroka’s assistant or the city commissioner that Soroka’s conduct

was sexually hostile or sexually harassing. The district court correctly entered

summary judgment against Murphy’s complaint of retaliation.

Murphy lastly argues that the dismissal without prejudice of her state law

claims “unfairly works an injustice . . . by requiring her to begin anew in state

court,” but the district court did not abuse its discretion by dismissing these claims.

There was no reason for the district court to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over

the state law claims after the court dismissed the federal claims over which it had



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original jurisdiction. We, in fact, “encourage[ ] district courts to dismiss any

remaining state claims when, as here, the federal claims have been dismissed prior

to trial.” Raney v. Allstate Ins. Co., 370 F.3d 1086, 1089 (11th Cir. 2004).

We AFFIRM the summary judgment in favor of the City of Aventura and

the dismissal without prejudice of Murphy’s state law claims.
----------------------------------------

Lexis One
:

The City argued that Soroka did not sexually harass Murphy because the majority of Soroka's remarks were gender-neutral, and the other remarks were not sufficiently pervasive or severe and did not interfere with Murphy's job performance. The City also argued that Soroka fired Murphy, not in retaliation, but because she had violated the school enrollment policy by admitting former student Jake Norman before other children on the waiting list; she had accepted money from Norman's parents to expedite his admission; and she had misappropriated school funds.

The district court ruled that Murphy failed to establish that she was subject to a hostile work environment. The district court found that nine of the eighteen remarks described by Murphy constituted "generalized profanity and insults."

The district court also found that Murphy failed to establish that Soroka "singled out females as the targets for" the profanity based on statements by Judy Appelgren, Soroka's assistant, and Ginger Kimnick that Soroka routinely and indiscriminately cursed at male and female employees. The district court found that the remaining nine remarks, although sex-based and offensive, did not rise to the level of sexual harassment because they were of "limited frequency," having occurred over two years and eight months; were not severe; were not physically threatening and were not humiliating; and did not "unreasonably interfere" with Murphy's work performance. The district court also ruled that Murphy failed to establish a prima facie case of retaliation. The district court determined that Murphy failed to establish [*7] that she had complained about gender-based discrimination and, in the alternative, she lacked an objectively reasonable belief that she was subject to a hostile work environment based on sexual harassment.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Despots and their psychologically twisted compulsions find their way to government, no matter what size. It is worst, in the small pockets where no one shines light on despicable behavior.

Anonymous said...

How can the city commission not fire this guy for his cursing? That is abusive.

An Aventura City of Excellence Resident said...

OMG! This is so embarrassing. We should force this man out immediately. He does this to everyone at the city and no one complains? The court didn't acknowledge that there must not be anyone to complain to since he was her boss and there was no one higher. She did keep records of the incidents. The woman wasn't allowed to talk to the commissioners or the mayor, who could she complain to?

Anonymous said...

This is a pitiful embarrassment for the residents of the city.

This man is a sick bully. Not to mention a low-life and unprofessional.

I can't not believe the woman lost this lawsuit. She could not have possibly worked under these conditions. I think that it would have taken one time for him to curse at me and call me names ...

VP said...

The crowds that clamored for incorporation - insisting it would lead to better government, closer to the people, are getting what they deserve. It has predictably led to creation of a bunch of new little fiefdoms controlled by small-minded, power-greedy scumbags. I, for one, am glad to live in unincorporated Dade, where there is only one layer of govt to either do well or mess up and be held accountable.

Anonymous said...

Tape recorders. They're great. Why didn't someone just record this guy (in a public place of course) (which is where he was probably spewing this stuff) and pass it along to someone like defede or bob norman?

And if someone talked to me like that, my boss or not, they would get such an earful back that they might never open mouth to me again. No one deserves to be talked to like that.

Geniusofdespair said...

Apparently they are not disputing that he said it...they are just saying it wasn't so bad in the testimony.

A tape recording to DeFede would be useless, he couldn't air it - too many expletives. This is an area when a blog surpasses a newspaper. We can print it.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't thinking about recording in order to dispute he said it, but I could see someone like Michael Putney playing it, bleeping it out of course, and confronting the guy.
Was this a big story that I just missed? Maybe I'm just surprised that this is the 1st I'm hearing of this and wonder if the residents realize what a piece of slime they have as their city manager.

Geniusofdespair said...

I have never seen it reported.

North Miami Beach Ramsey said...

The slime are:

Holtzberg
Gottlieb
Weinberg
Because they are women and should know better.

The Men are just plain low lifes. Or as you call them G.o.D.:
Turds. I live in North Miami Beach - another snake pit, but never have we heard language like this.

Anonymous said...

so i take it that ms. Murphy is not a stupid shit?

South Florida Lawyers said...

Wow. Of course the 11th found the multiple curses to be "general vulgarity" as opposed to the gender-specific kind.

So at least he has that going for him.

Anonymous said...

Do you know that Eric's son (Anthony) works for the city's law firm?

Eric and his wife generate most of the work for this law firm.

It is my understanding they sponsored him when he was in law school and hired him full time immediately after graduation.

This is a violation of the "ethics Laws" in the county and state.

Anonymous said...

Not Ms. Murphy, Dr. Murphy. I don't know if she is a stupid shit or not...but I do know that a boss shouldn't say it.

Geniusofdespair said...

Re Eric's son - even more inbred than I thought.

Anonymous said...

this is the link where the son works

http://www.wsh-law.com/content/attorneys/anthony-soroka/

WOOF said...

You could contact your elected representatives and inquire as to Mr Soroka's employment.

Susan Gottlieb , Mayor
sgottlieb@cityofaventura.com

Zev Auerbach, Commissioner
zauerbach@cityofaventura.com

Bob Diamond, Commissioner
bdiamond@cityofaventura.com

Teri Holzberg, Commissioner
tholzberg@cityofaventura.com

Billy Joel, Commissioner
bjoel@cityofaventura.com

Michael Stern, Commissioner
mstern@cityofaventura.com

Luz Urbáez Weinberg, Commissioner
lweinberg@cityofaventura.com

Geniusofdespair said...

If you send emails to any of those addresses Woof, Theresa Soroka reads them. She reads all emails going to the city --- gatekeeper remember?

Anonymous said...

Just so GoD doesn't feel so alone, the Village of Palmetto Bay has a council person, Fiore, who has the same kind of mouth. He must have gone to the same school of governance as the Aventura city manager did - Fiore opens his mouth and the same potty language comes out.

It is disgusting that trash talk comes from someone "hired" to represent the people. I know of no man in my circle who speaks or treats women that way, so he doesn't represent me or anyone I know.

Far as the 11th district: Were there women judges on the panel? And would they want to have their daughters, wives and girlfriends exposed to "multiple general vulgarity" curses as opposed to the gender-specific kind"?

Does it matter? It is abusive by any standard for any sex.

Anonymous said...

If you send emails to any of those addresses Woof, Theresa Soroka reads them. She reads all emails going to the city --- gatekeeper remember?

That would not happen with my emails if I were Queen.

WOOF said...

Let Theresa read them.
Give her something to do beyond accessorizing her wardrobe.

Anonymous said...

This is a very clear case of creating a hostile work environment. Frankly, the courts blew it.

Anonymous said...

Gatekeepers must be the new trend. The City of South Miami just eliminated many publicly published administration email addresses and now has this "gatekeeper" concept in place with only a handful of generic department email addresses posted on its web site.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious! Is this April Fool's Day? LOL! Nice work!

youbetcha' said...

Blogger WOOF said...
Let Theresa read them.
Give her something to do beyond accessorizing her wardrobe.


I wonder if she has shield envy. Maybe that's why they are so nasty. Those folks need to gooooooooooooo.

Anonymous said...

The 3 judges CARNES, MARCUS and PRYOR are all men. What else would you expect?

Anonymous said...

the judges = all men who have never run a business that had women employees or men who were not crass working there?

Anonymous said...

AVENTURA - beautiful, but SLEEPY CITY for pensioners. After a sunset all parks are closed. The life in city comes to an end with sunset! Parents with children have no place to go to take a walk. The Aventura Recreation Center died out - is not present there a life (compare Sunny Isles Recreation Center - this is our neighbours).
City authority does not do any actions - cultural or entertaining. Aventura - the sample of sleeping area.
Сan we tell such about Sunny Isles?
No.
Because Sunny Isles Cityhall make all for their people and life in Sunny Isles is boils - many actions and concerts (every month !!), activities for family and children, movies are go free-of-charge for all peoples. Dear management of Aventura city, take an example from neighbours city Sunny Isles, please - study from them as it is necessary to make for people good that all will grateful. They our neighbours. Why do not learn good?
Remember please, that except for pensioners, in AVENTURA city there lives youth and children and they do not want go to sleep after sunset.

Anonymous said...

Having worked with Murphy and personally know her work style and this case, I can say from experience that she is a liar and there are very good reasons why she lost this case (she selfishly turned down a monetary settlement because she was sure that she would prevail and receive even more money). Summary Judgment doesn't come easily and the case was fully appealed, it really should have never been filed at all but for the greed of Murphy and her Svengali attorney Burton. She was fired and then claimed abuse. The woman has mental issues and is a supreme manipulator. The court saw right through her case and decided appropriately.

Geniusofdespair said...

No excuse for the city manager's abuses.

Anonymous said...

The lawsuit is not over.
The trial is set for the
month of October 2012 in Dade County.

Geniusofdespair said...

Let me know date, I want to go.

Anonymous said...

Trial docket says the case started on 10/9/12 in Judicial Section 27, which is Judge Rosa Rodriguez's courtroom. The case appears to be going on now.

Anonymous said...

MiamiDade jurors found in favor of Dr. Murphy on November 2, 2012 awarding her significant dollars in addition to $500,000 in punitives against City Manager Eric Soroka.

Geniusofdespair said...

GOOD! Where can I find this....

Anonymous said...

Here is the article:

http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/11/05/3082757/former-aventura-charter-school.html

Anonymous said...

When is Soroka getting kicked out of the city? He already failed in Miramar and North Lauderdale.

Anonymous said...

The entire case was thrown out by Judge Rosa Rodriguez. No evidence was found.

Anonymous said...

TRIAL JUDGE OVERTURNS MISTAKEN JURY VERDICT,
VINDICATES ACTIONS OF AVENTURA CITY MANAGER ERIC SOROKA CONCERNING 2006 DISCHARGE OF
CHARTER SCHOOL PRINCIPAL MURPHY

Finding that the multi- million dollar personal liability award of a Miami- Dade County jury was directly contrary to the evidence presented at trial, Circuit Court Judge Rosa Rodriguez struck down the erroneous jury award and entered Judgment in favor of Aventura City Manager Eric Soroka . The Trial Judge found that the evidence presented at trial did not support any of the claims made by the former Charter School principal Dr. Katheryn Murphy, and FOUND that the City Manager acted within the scope of his authority and immunity as City Manager of the City which he has served from 1996. Mr. Soroka was represented and successfully defended by Attorney Michael Burke of the Johnson Anselmo law firm. David Wolpin, of Weiss Serota Helfman, the firm that serves as City Attorney for the City, observed that “ this confirms the truth of what we have known all along, that the City Manager did not do anything wrong concerning Dr. Murphy, and has only acted in the best interest of the City which he steadfastly and honorably serves”.

Anonymous said...


Eric Soroka is a goon man and was a great boss to many people. In over 20 years I never saw him insult anyone. He would confront you when you, as a good leader will, when you were off track and it was not pleasant. He always made the issue about the action of behavior and not about the person.

Now she will appeal because a Judge concludes that the evidence does not support the claim.

Sad to see him being dragged into the mud by this drivel.

Anonymous said...

Commissioners voted in on Tuesday in The City of Aventura should take care to remove Eric Soroka as City Manager. He already controls the other commissioners.