John Tipaldo v Christopher Lynn, etc., et al.

Pursuant to Article 78, plaintiff appealed an order by the Supreme court that granted his back pay without interest in his Civil Service Law § 75-b action. The plaintiff is also asking for the court to grant his reinstatement to the prior position.

In August 1996, plaintiff, John Tipaldo, was promoted to the position of Acting Assistant Commissioner for Planning by the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT). Plaintiff, which was a salary of $55,000 and if the position became permanent, he would receive a $25,000 increase. Six months later, plaintiff was demoted from the new position. As determined in the Civil Service Law § 75-b action, the demotion was in retaliation for the plaintiff reporting a supervisor violated bidding rules. Due to the demotion, the plaintiff new position never became permanent and he never received the $25,000 salary increase.

At the trial court, plaintiff presented an expert economics testimony to establish the total amount of back pay the plaintiff was entitled to. The expert determined that if the plaintiff had not been demoted he would have received the $25,000 increase and would have been making $81,000. The expert also calculated the amount of money the plaintiff would have earned through the time of trial if he was not demoted by comparing two managers with similar position and salary to that of the plaintiff and applied a statutory interest rate of 9% to the lost earning. The expert arrived at a total of $662,721.

The Appellate Court found that the back pay calculated by the plaintiff’s expert had sufficient support and that the plaintiff was likely to have received the raise.

Therefore, it was determined that the predetermination interest is available for those who claim under the Civil Service Law § 75-b. Further, it Supreme Court granted an interested award because the defendants did not offer any counter argument as to why the plaintiff’s expert testimony is flawed. Finally, the Supreme Court order that the plaintiff be reinstated “to the same position held before the retaliatory personnel action, or to an equivalent position.”

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