United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
brought this action, claiming he was placed on surplus status
by his former employer, defendant AT&T Services, Inc.,
because of his age in violation of the Age Discrimination in
Employment Act (“ADEA”), 29 U.S.C. §§
621-629 and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act
(“PHRA”), 43 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 951.
After the Court denied the defendant's motion for summary
judgment, the case was tried to the Court sitting with a
jury. After a five-day trial, the jury found, as indicated on
the verdict form, that plaintiff had proven by a
preponderance of the evidence that his age was the
determining factor in the decision to surplus his employment
in connection with a reduction in force. (ECF 91.) The jury
awarded plaintiff $288, 000.00 in back pay and $188, 000.00
in front pay. (Id.) The jury further found that
defendant had proven by a preponderance of the evidence that
plaintiff did not exercise reasonable diligence in his
efforts to secure substantially equivalent employment and, as
a result, deducted $53, 000.00 from the award of front pay,
leaving a total front pay award of $135, 000.00.
(Id.) Finally, the jury found that plaintiff had
failed to prove that defendant either knew or showed reckless
disregard for whether its conduct was prohibited by the age
discrimination law. (Id.) The Court then entered a
judgment in favor of plaintiff and against defendant in the
amount of $370, 000.00. (ECF 87.) Presently before the Court
is the motion of the plaintiff for prejudgment judgment
interest on the back pay award. For the reasons that follow,
the motion is granted.
does not dispute that plaintiff is entitled to prejudgment
interest on the back pay award. (ECF 108 at p. 2.) However,
the parties do not agree on the method to be used to
calculate prejudgment interest. Plaintiff argues that the
Court should award prejudgment interest at Pennsylvania's
legal interest rate of 6% as set forth in 41 P.S. § 202.
Defendant counters that the Court should award prejudgment
interest at the rate contained in the federal post-judgment
interest rate statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1961(a), which equals
the Federal Reserve “weekly average 1-year constant
maturity Treasury yield.” 28 U.S.C. § 1961(a). The
difference is significant because under plaintiff's
method, plaintiff would be entitled to $17, 280 in
pre-judgment interest, while under defendant's method
plaintiff would be entitled to $854.49.
decision to award prejudgment interest is in the sound
discretion of the trial court. Booker v. Taylor Milk
Co., 64 F.3d 860, 868 (3d Cir. 1995). Awarding
prejudgment interest “serves to compensate a plaintiff
for the loss of the use of money that the plaintiff would
otherwise have earned had he not been unjustly
discharged.” Id. There is a “strong
presumption in favor of awarding prejudgment interest, except
where the award would result in unusual inequities.”
Court of Appeals has stated that in awarding prejudgment
interest a district court “may be guided by the rate
set out in 28 U.S.C. § 1961.” Sun Ship, Inc.
v. Matson Navigation, Co., 785 F.2d 59, 63 (3d
Cir. 1986). Indeed, this Court has repeatedly used the
post-judgment interest statute to calculate an award of
prejudgment interest on back pay in ADEA cases. See,
e.g., O'Neill v. Sears Roebuck and Co., 108
F.Supp.2d 443, 446 (E.D. Pa. 2000); Becker v. ARCO Chem.
Co., 15 F.Supp.2d 621 (E.D. Pa. 1998); Young v.
Lukens Steel Co., 881 F.Supp. 962, 977 (E.D. Pa. 1994);
Argue v. David Davis Enterprises, Inc., No. 02-951,
2009 WL 750197 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 20, 2009); Tomasso v.
Boeing Co., No. 03-4220, 2007 WL 2753171 (E.D. Pa. Sept.
21, 2007); Devore v. City of Phila., No. 00-3598,
2004 WL 834924 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 30, 2004); Anderson v.
Consolidated Rail Corp., No. 98-6043, 2000 WL 1622863
(E.D. Pa. Oct. 25, 2000).
directs the Court's attention to a recent decision
wherein this Court applied Pennsylvania's six percent
interest rate to calculate prejudgment interest on an ADEA
damages award. See Grieb v. JNP Foods, Inc., (E.D.
Pa. Dec. 23, 2015). In applying the six percent rate, the
Court in Grieb stated that “[w]hile T-Bill
interest rate might account for lost investment, it certainly
does not account for the plaintiffs' inability to access
these funds in daily life. This is particularly true here
where the plaintiffs would most likely have used their less
than $20, 000 annual salaries for subsistence.”
to the situation in Grieb, plaintiff has not
produced any evidence that he needed to use most of his
annual salary of $106, 500 for basic living expenses. Rather,
the Court finds that plaintiff is only entitled to recoup an
amount which would compensate him for lost investment. The
Court finds that the T-Bill interest rate adequately
compensates plaintiff for any lost investment.
1961(a) of Title 28 provides for post-judgment interest as
follows: “Such interest shall be calculated from the
date of entry of judgment, at a rate equal to the coupon
issue yield equivalent (as determined by the Secretary of
Treasury) of the average accepted auction price for the last
auction of the fifty-two week United States Treasury bills
settled immediately prior to the date of judgment.” 28
U.S.C. § 1961(a).
to defendant's calculations, “[u]sing the Treasury
Bill rate available for the period ending just prior to each
applicable year, and based on the jury's back pay award
of $288, 000, ” results in plaintiff receiving a total
prejudgment award on his back pay totaling $854.49. (ECF 108
at p. 5.) Plaintiff has not objected to this calculation.