The opinion of the court was delivered by: BAER
HAROLD BAER, JR., United States District Judge.
Plaintiff Richard Lightfoot commenced this action against his former employer, Union Carbide, and Union Carbide executives A.W. Lutz and W.E. Shackelford (collectively, the "defendants") alleging, inter alia, wrongful termination based on age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq ("ADEA"), and under the New York State Executive Law § 296 (McKinney 1993) ("NYSHRL"). After trial, the jury found in favor of Lightfoot and awarded him $ 750,000 in compensatory damages under the NYSHRL.
Lightfoot now moves for attorneys' fees under section 626(b) of ADEA. The defendants move for a new trial, pursuant to Rule 59(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and in the alternative, for a new trial on the issue of damages, or for a remittitur.
For the reasons that follow, Lightfoot's motion for attorneys' fees is denied; the defendants' motion for a new trial is denied; the defendants' motion for a new trial on the issue of damages is denied; and the defendants' motion for remittitur is granted in accordance with this opinion.
Traced to its origins, Lightfoot's suit alleged a panoply of claims against the defendants including breach of contract, quantum meruit, unjust enrichment, tortious interference with contract, as well as age discrimination under ADEA and the NYSHRL. Judge Patterson dismissed all of Lightfoot's claims except for those brought under ADEA and the NYSHRL. See Order and Opinion, 92 Civ. 6411 (RPP), May 12, 1994. Regarding Lightfoot's discrimination claims, Judge Patterson held that
Defendants' motion for summary judgment on plaintiff's ADEA and New York State Human Rights claims is denied . . . Although plaintiff may pursue his federal and New York State age discrimination claims he cannot recover damages for lost wages because he continued to receive full pay as a severance benefit after he was offered his job back. Summary judgment is granted in the defendants' favor in all causes of actions as to Carbide's liability for backpay.
Id. at 8-12. In a subsequent opinion, Judge Patterson further ruled that Lightfoot was not entitled to damages for front pay. See Order and Opinion, 92 Civ. 6411 (RPP), July 28, 1993, at p. 3.
Because Judge Patterson's rulings stripped Lightfoot of any compensable damages under ADEA, I dismissed that claim, over the objection of the plaintiff. See Trial Tr. at pp. 2-5. Accordingly, the only claim Lightfoot presented to the jury was age discrimination under the NYSHRL. It was that claim on which the jury on June 29, 1995 awarded Lightfoot $ 750,000 in compensatory damages.
A. Lightfoot's Motion For Attorneys' Fees and Post-judgment Interest.
Lightfoot argues that in his view, the ADEA claim was never dismissed and he is entitled to attorneys' fees as a prevailing party under that statute. 28 U.S.C. § 626(b).
Although Lightfoot correctly notes that Judge Patterson did not dismiss ...