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ROBINSON v. ELWYN

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania


January 7, 2004.

DAVID E. ROBINSON
v.
ELWYN, INC

The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN FULLAM, Senior District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

After a non-jury trial, I entered an Adjudication on February 6, 2003, finding in favor of the plaintiff on his claim that he had been fired for complaining about racial discrimination, and awarding him $24,000 in back-pay. Plaintiff promptly filed a Motion to Amend the Judgment and Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, seeking an increase in the amount of the award; but, for some unexplained reason, plaintiff's motion (and defendant's subsequent response) languished in the clerk's office and I was not made aware of their filing.

Plaintiff contends that there was no evidence to support my finding that, even if the retaliatory discharge had not occurred, plaintiff's employment by the defendant would likely not have continued for more than a year, because plaintiff would have been fired for some other, perfectly legitimate, reason. Plaintiff therefore argues that he should have been awarded back-pay for the entire period from the date of his retaliatory discharge until trial, and should have been awarded Page 2 front-pay and punitive damages. I reject these arguments. There was ample evidence in the record of plaintiff's frequent clashes with supervisory personnel, his constant insubordination and his general dissatisfaction with his employment by the defendant. Indeed, the manner in which plaintiff made the claim of racial discrimination which triggered his discharge was tinged with insubordination; my finding of retaliation was a close call. I adhere to the view that plaintiff's award should be limited to one year of back-pay.

  I do, however, agree with plaintiff on one point: Plaintiff is entitled to pre-judgment interest on the back-pay award. My failure to include pre-judgment interest was simply an oversight. The award will therefore be amended accordingly.

  An Order follows. Page 3

  AND NOW, this ___ day of January 2004, upon consideration of plaintiff's Motion to Amend the Judgment, Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, and defendant's response, IT IS ORDERED:

  1. Plaintiff's motion is DENIED, except to the extent that plaintiff seeks pre-judgment interest on the initial award.

  2. The judgment heretofore entered on February 5, 2003, in the amount of $24,000, is increased by the addition of pre-judgment interest in the sum of $6,376, for a total judgment in the sum of $30,376.

  3. Plaintiff may seek an award of counsel fees within ten days.

20040107

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