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Barrella v. Vill. of Freeport

United States District Court, E.D. New York

October 29, 2014

CHRISTOPHER BARRELLA, Plaintiff,
v.
VILLAGE OF FREEPORT and ANDREW HARDWICK, as both Mayor and in his individual capacity, Defendants

For the Plaintiff: Amanda M. Fugazy, Esq., Adam C. Weiss, Esq., Of Counsel, Fugazy & Rooney LLP, Glen Cove, NY.

For Village of Freeport, Defendant: Keith M. Corbett, Esq., Kadion D. Henry, Esq., Of Counsel, Harris Beach PLLC, Uniondale, New York.

For Andrew Hardwick, Defendant: Kenneth A. Novikoff, Esq., Scott Green, Esq., Of Counsel, Rivkin Radler, LLP, Uniondale, NY.

Page 170

DECISION AND ORDER

ARTHUR D. SPATT, United States District Judge.

Familiarity with the factual and procedural history of this case is presumed.

By way of background, on May 30, 2014, following a trial, the jury returned a verdict against both the Defendants the Village of Freeport and Andrew Hardwick, former Mayor of the Village of Freeport, for the sum of $150,000 in back pay damages, $1,000,000 in front pay damages, and $200,000 in punitive damages as against Hardwick only.

On June 11, 2014, the Plaintiff Christopher Barella (the " Plaintiff" ) moved pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(d) and 28 U.S.C. § 120 for an award of attorneys' fees and costs.

On June 25, 2014, the Plaintiff moved for an order (1) upwardly adjusting the back pay and front pay award to account for the negative tax consequences he would suffer as a result of receiving the damages award in a lump sum; (2) awarding pre-judgment interest on his back pay and costs; and (3) awarding post-judgment interest on the entire award he ultimately receives, including his attorneys' fees and costs.

On June 25, 2014, Hardwick filed a notice of appeal from the May 30, 2014 judgment. On June 27, 2014, the Village filed a separate notice of appeal from the May 30, 2014 judgment. Those appeals are currently pending before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

On June 27, 2014, Hardwick moved pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(b) for judgment as a matter of law on all claims for which the jury rendered a verdict in favor of the Plaintiff. Alternatively, Hardwick moved

Page 171

pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(a) for a new trial. That same day, the Village moved pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 50 for judgment as a matter of law, and alternatively, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(a), for a new trial or reducing the jury's award against the Village.

By Memorandum of Decision and Order dated August 28, 2014, the Court (1) denied the Defendants' Rule 50 motions for judgment as a matter of law and Rule 59 motions for a new trial; (2) granted the Plaintiff's motion for attorneys' fees and costs to the extent that the Plaintiff was awarded $661,139 in attorneys' fees and $26,612.42 in costs; and (3) granted in part and denied in part the Plaintiff's motion to amend or mold the jury verdict. In particular, the Court granted the motion insofar as the Plaintiff was awarded (1) pre-judgment interest on the back pay award of $150,000 to be calculated by the Clerk of the Court at the rate prescribed in 28 U.S.C. § 1961(a), compounded annually, from August 1, 2012 through the date of the judgment, May 30, 2014; (2) pre-judgment interest on the costs award of $26,612.42, at the rate prescribed by 28 U.S.C. § 1961(a), compounded annually, from August 1, 2012 through the date of the judgment, May 30, 2014; and (3) post-judgment interest on the judgment amount of $1,350,000, plus costs of $26,612.42 from May 30, 2014, at the rate prescribed by 28 U.S.C. § 1961(a) compounded annually, until paid. The Court denied the motion insofar as the Plaintiff sought (1) an upward adjustment of the jury award to account for negative tax consequences and (2) post-judgment interest on the attorneys' fees award. Judgment was entered on August 29, 2014.

On September 11, 2014, the Plaintiff moved pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d) and 28 U.S.C. § 120 for an award of supplemental attorneys' fees and costs on the basis that (1) he is the " prevailing party" on his racial discrimination claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and 42 U.S.C. § 1988; and (2) he is entitled to recover his attorneys' fees incurred in opposing the Defendants' post-trial motions; (3) he is entitled to recover those fees he incurred after June 9, 2014 in making his initial fee application; and (4) he is entitled to recover the cost of purchasing the trial transcript for the purpose of opposing the Defendants' post-trial motions. According to the Plaintiff, his attorneys' fees for opposition to the Defendants' post trial-motions are $37,990.00 and for work on the attorneys' fees motion after June 9, 2014 the sum is $20,860.00.

Also, that day, the Village filed notices of appeal from those parts of the August 29, 2014 judgment denying its motions under Fed.R.Civ.P. 50 and 59 and granting the ...


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