UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
June 11, 1986
Mabel A. KING, Plaintiff,
James F. PALMER, et al., Defendants
The opinion of the court was delivered by: OBERDORFER
OBERDORFER, District Judge.
Plaintiff, a nurse previously working at the District of Columbia Jail, in this Title VII action sues various officials of the District of Columbia Department of Corrections. She seeks injunctive relief and damages on the theory that she was denied a promotion which was given instead to another nurse who was sexually involved with the doctor who promoted her. By Memorandum of September 10, 1984, the District Court (Gesell, J.), entered judgment for defendants. See King v. Palmer, 598 F. Supp. 65 (D.D.C.1984). The matter now is before this Court on remand from the Court of Appeals. See King v. Palmer, 250 U.S. App. D.C. 257, 778 F.2d 878 (D.C.Cir.1985). The Court of Appeals stated:
we reverse the District Court's holding regarding the promotion and remand the matter to the District Court to enter judgment for Ms. King and to determine an appropriate remedy.
778 F.2d at 882. The Court of Appeals also stated that
Ms. King also alleged in her complaint and maintained during her trial that she was the victim of a discriminatory work environment and of reprisals for having filed a complaint with the EEOC. The District Court has yet to enter findings of fact or conclusions of law on these allegations. We therefore remand these matters to the District Court for further consideration and entry of appropriate findings, conclusions and judgment.
Id. at 883. With regard to remedy the Court stated:
At a minimum, it appears that the appropriate remedy in this case should include the promotion of Ms. King to the position in question, her receipt of backpay, and a full consideration of any further relief.
Id. at 882 n. 7.
Presently before the Court are plaintiff's motion for entry of judgment and for other relief, and her application for an interim award of attorneys' fees. A hearing was conducted on these motions on June 6, 1986.
Plaintiff contends that, in light of the Court of Appeals mandate, "this Court should grant Mrs. King a retroactive promotion to the position of Supervisory Forensic/Clinical Nurse, DS-12, effective September 20, 1981, the date the promotion was granted to Nurse Grant." Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Motion for Entry of Judgment and for Other Relief ("Plaintiff's Memorandum") at 2 (filed April 4, 1986). Plaintiff also contends that she is entitled to backpay reflecting the promotion that should have been granted, together with prejudgment interest thereon.
Plaintiff's contentions are well taken. Although defendants now suggest that a new trial is necessary in order to resolve whether plaintiff (rather than some other applicant) would have in fact received the promotion in the absence of the unlawful, discriminatory conduct, see Day v. Mathews, 174 U.S. App. D.C. 231, 530 F.2d 1083, 1085 (D.C.Cir.1976), defendants do not materially dispute that they did not press a Mathews defense at the original trial of this action. Indeed, it is not materially disputed that defendants first attempted to press the Mathews defense in their petition for rehearing en banc after the Court of Appeals decision of December 13, 1985. See Petition of Appellees for Rehearing [or], in the Alternative, for Rehearing En Banc at 4-5 (filed January 15, 1986, in Court of Appeals No. 84-5750). Even with the benefit of defendants' Mathews argument, the Court of Appeals denied the petition for rehearing, stating in a per curiam order of February 18, 1986, that:
The suggestion for rehearing en banc of appellees has been circulated to the full Court and no member has requested the taking of a vote thereon.
See 778 F.2d at 883. In light of the foregoing, the remand requires entry of judgment for plaintiff and the fashioning of a remedy that "at a minimum [, it appears,] . . . should include the promotion of Ms. King to the position in question, her receipt of backpay, and a full consideration of any further relief." 778 F.2d at 882 n. 7.
As discussed at the June 6 hearing, however, it appears that the position plaintiff originally sought no longer exists. Accordingly, the accompanying order will enter judgment for plaintiff and require plaintiff to submit an appropriate proposed order which will require the promotion of plaintiff to a DS-12 position and the award of backpay.
Plaintiff also claims, and is entitled to, prejudgment interest on her backpay award; defendants have not contested a prejudgment interest award should plaintiff receive retroactive promotion and backpay. See Defendants' Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Entry of Judgment and for Other Relief at 6 (filed April 18, 1986). In any event, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(g) authorizes a court to grant a prevailing plaintiff in a private Title VII case such "other equitable relief as the court deems appropriate," and prejudgment interest is necessary to make plaintiff whole. See Laffey v. Northwest Airlines, Inc., 238 U.S. App. D.C. 400, 740 F.2d 1071, 1102 (D.C.Cir.1984), cert. denied, 469 U.S. 1181, 105 S. Ct. 939, 83 L. Ed. 2d 951 (1985); Higgins v. State of Oklahoma, 642 F.2d 1199, 1203 (10th Cir.1981); Acosta v. University of District of Columbia, 528 F. Supp. 1215, 1224 (D.D.C.1981); compare Blake v. Califano, 200 U.S. App. D.C. 27, 626 F.2d 891, 895 (D.C.Cir.1980) ("An award of prejudgment interest would be consistent with the remedial purposes of Title VII," but prejudgment interest may not be awarded against a federal employer); compare also Schneider v. Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, 212 U.S. App. D.C. 87, 658 F.2d 835, 856-57 (D.C.Cir.1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 994, 102 S. Ct. 1622, 71 L. Ed. 2d 855 (1982) (District of Columbia law as codified at D.C.Code § 15-109 does not provide for award of prejudgment interest in tort actions). The denial of plaintiff's use of her money makes such an award appropriate in the circumstances here. Although such interest is authorized by Title VII, the rate of interest on a Title VII judgment against the District of Columbia or its officials is fixed at 4 percent by D.C. Code § 28-3302. See Turgeon v. Howard University, 571 F. Supp. 679, 688 (D.D.C.1983).
Following colloquy with counsel, however, plaintiff's request for further injunctive relief will be denied. The injunctive relief requested would be overly intrusive and largely duplicative of that accomplished by order entered in Bundy v. Jackson, 25 Empl. Prac. Dec. (CCH) P 31,70, No. 78-1359 (D.D.C. March 23, 1981) (Hart, J.) (pursuant to an order of the Court of Appeals, see Bundy v. Jackson, 205 U.S. App. D.C. 444, 641 F.2d 934 (D.C.Cir.1981)).
Plaintiff has also applied for an interim award of attorneys' fees and expenses for the period up to February 28, 1986. The amounts plaintiff seeks are:
$ 210,610.00 ("lodestar")
$ 65,103.00 (35% upward adjustment for risk)
$ 27,901.00 (15% separate enhancement for
"exceptional success and
$ 11,489.00 (costs)
$ 314,653.00 (Total)
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