Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

O'QUINN v. NEW YORK UNIV. MED. CTR.

July 23, 1996

MARY BETH O'QUINN, Plaintiff, against NEW YORK UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER, Defendants.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: MOTLEY

 On June 14, 1996, the jury in this case found that defendant had discriminated against plaintiff in the terms and conditions of her employment based on her sex in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq, (Title VII), and related State and Municipal Laws. The jury also found that defendant had retaliated against plaintiff by terminating her after she had complained that defendant had wrongfully denied her a promotion based on her sex. Plaintiff has moved now for an order granting pre-judgment interest and reinstatement with retroactive seniority. As is more fully set forth below, the motion is granted in part.

 BACKGROUND

 The basic facts of the underlying dispute are set forth in this court's previous decision in this case denying defendants' pre-trial motion to conduct a mental examination of plaintiff and familiarity therewith is assumed. See O'Quinn v. New York University Medical Center, 163 F.R.D. 226 (S.D.N.Y. 1995). Subsequent to that decision, a jury trial was held in which the jury returned a verdict for plaintiff on her claim that she had been denied a position as Project Manager in defendant's Plant Maintenance and Construction Department. *fn1" Additionally, the jury found that plaintiff's subsequent termination during a reduction-in-force carried out by defendant was in retaliation for plaintiff having complained about the sex discrimination she believed she had suffered. Plaintiff was awarded an amount of $ 158,000.00 in back pay. The jury found further that plaintiff was entitled to $ 150,000.00 in compensatory damages for the pain and suffering she had endured as a result of defendants' illegal actions. Plaintiff was also awarded $ 500.00 in punitive damages. At the close of the trial, the court ordered plaintiff restored to employment with defendants as Project Manager.

 Plaintiff now seeks (1) pre-judgment interest on her back pay and compensatory damages award, (2) to be reinstated at the salary level of the individual who was hired by defendant to fill the position of Project Manager to which plaintiff originally applied and (3) to enjoy seniority retroactive to February 1992 (the time she would have been promoted but for defendants' invidious discrimination).

 I. PLAINTIFF IS ENTITLED TO PRE-JUDGMENT INTEREST.

 A. The Award.

 "The purpose of prejudgment interest is compensatory." Zicherman v. Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd., 814 F. Supp. 605, 608 (1993)(citing United States v. Seaboard Surety Co., 817 F.2d 956, 966 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 855, 98 L. Ed. 2d 115, 108 S. Ct. 161 (1987)(citations omitted)), aff'd in part on relevant grounds and reversed in part on other grounds, 43 F.3d 18 (2d Cir. 1994), aff'd in part and reversed in part on different grounds, U.S. , 133 L. Ed. 2d 596, 116 S. Ct. 629 (1996). The decision to award pre-judgment interest is vested in the sound discretion of the trial court. Zicherman, 814 F. Supp. at 608.

 In Wickham Contracting Co., Inc. v. Local Union No. 3, International Brotherhood of Elec. Workers, AFL-CIO, 955 F.2d 831 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 506 U.S. 946, 121 L. Ed. 2d 302, 113 S. Ct. 394 (1992), the Second Circuit found that the award of prejudgment interest in a given case is a function of weighing the following factors:

 
(i) the need to fully compensate the wronged party for actual damages suffered, (ii) considerations of fairness and the relative equities of the award, (iii) the remedial purpose of the statute involved, and/or (iv) such other general principles as are deemed relevant by the court.

 955 F.2d at 834 (citations omitted).

 Taking the third of the Wickham factors first, the award of pre-judgment interest is appropriate in Title VII cases as part of plaintiff's "'complete compensation.'" Loeffler v. Frank, 486 U.S. 549, 558, 100 L. Ed. 2d 549, 108 S. Ct. 1965 (1988)(quoting West Virginia v. United States, 479 U.S. 305, 310, 93 L. Ed. 2d 639, 107 S. Ct. 702 (1987)). See also Saulpaugh v. Monroe Community Hosp., 4 F.3d 134, 145 (2d Cir. 1993)("Title VII authorizes a district court to grant pre-judgment interest on a back pay award."), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1164, 127 L. Ed. 2d 539, 114 S. Ct. 1189 (1994)(citing Clarke v. Frank, 960 F.2d 1146, 1153-54 (2d Cir. 1992). Indeed, "'it is ordinarily an abuse of discretion not to include pre-judgment interest in a back-pay award. . . .'" Clarke, 960 F.2d at 1154 (emphasis and alteration in original).

 Looking to other relevant factors, plaintiff suffered the initial discriminatory denial of promotion to Project Manager over four years ago. There is certainly no reason to withhold pre-judgment interest on claims for back pay where plaintiff has proven that she would have received such pay but for defendants' discriminatory actions. Denial of such relief would not only result in a windfall to ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.