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BARBOUR v. MEDLANTIC MGMT. CORP.

February 7, 1997

MARTIN W. BARBOUR, Plaintiff,
v.
MEDLANTIC MANAGEMENT CORP., et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: GREEN

 This matter is before the Court to determine whether Plaintiff Martin W. Barbour ("Barbour") is entitled to front pay, and if so, the amount and duration of that front pay. While Barbour contends that he should be awarded front pay until the year 2005 (totaling over $ 2 million), Defendants Medlantic and Mark Merrill argue that Mr. Barbour's entitlement to front pay, if any, ended when he voluntarily left Columbia Hospital for Women ("CHW") in October of 1992 (justifying an award of only $ 8,865.91). Upon considering the evidence presented at the evidentiary hearing and the entire record in this matter, including the demeanor and credibility of the witnesses, Mr. Barbour will be awarded $ 36,239.86 in front pay plus post-judgment interest as provided by law.

 I. Background

 The defendants appealed the denial of their post-trial motion and the award of punitive damages, and Barbour cross-appealed the Court's dismissal of the conspiracy count against Defendant Gregory Walling on summary judgment, the calculation of back pay and the denial of front pay and prejudgment interest. The Court of Appeals affirmed on all grounds, save front pay and prejudgment interest. Barbour v. Merrill, 310 U.S. App. D.C. 419, 48 F.3d 1270 (D.C. Cir. 1995).

 Expressly noting that the plaintiff carries the burden to establish the value of lost salary and fringe benefits, the Court of Appeals upheld the back pay calculation fixing the base salary at $ 70,000 and the District Court's refusal to include a signing bonus and a $ 200 per month car allowance. 48 F.3d at 1274. The Court of Appeals held that Barbour was entitled to prejudgment interest and that, on remand, this Court was to determine whether Barbour was entitled to front pay and, if so, its duration and amount. The Court of Appeals stated: "The court had already weighed the evidence to establish a salary base when it calculated the back-pay award. All that remained was to incorporate any proper salary increases, and then to determine the award's present value, using an appropriate discount table." 48 F.3d at 1280. The Court of Appeals stated:

 
Factors that the Court may wish to consider include, but are not necessarily limited to: Barbour's age; Barbour's entirely reasonable intention to remain at Medlantic until retirement, had Medlantic hired him; the length of time Medlantic's Directors of Corporate Materials Management typically held that position; how long Rich [the person hired instead of Barbour] held that position; the length of time persons in similar positions at other companies generally hold those positions; Barbour's efforts at mitigation (including consideration of the current job market and industry conditions, as well as the amount of time reasonably required for Barbour to secure comparable employment); and whether Medlantic in any other way supported its claim that Barbour would not have remained at Medlantic until his retirement.

 48 F.3d at 1280.

 The defendants' suggestion for rehearing en banc was denied on May 16, 1995. See Order (per curiam), 48 F.3d at 1281; see also id. (Williams, J., concurring) ("Although the evidence supporting an inference of discrimination seems to me thin to the point of invisibility, such an intensely fact-bound issue is unsuitable for en banc review."). The defendants' petition for certiorari was granted in part, 116 S. Ct. 805 (1995), but, on February 28, 1996, certiorari was voluntarily dismissed. 116 S. Ct. 1037 (1996). On March 6, 1996, the Court of Appeals issued its mandate and the matter returned to this Court for action on remand. After granting additional discovery, the Court held a two-day evidentiary hearing on damages.

 II. Findings of Fact

 The following facts were established at the evidentiary hearing through the testimony of four witnesses offered by Barbour (including himself), five witnesses offered by the defendants (including Barbour) and various exhibits. Barbour holds both a Bachelor of Science degree and a Masters Degree in Business Administration. Barbour had a distinguished 25-year career in the United States Army during which he received training as a medical materials management officer, was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel (O-5), and held a series of materials management and executive-level positions for a variety of functions, including personnel, finance, accounting, general administration, and supply and services. In essence, Barbour served as the "chief operating officer" for several organizations, including Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Throughout his military career, he received highly favorable performance evaluations.

 In 1987, at the approximate age of 47, Barbour retired from the military. He accepted a position as Director of Materials Management at CHW where he was responsible for purchasing, inventory control, central duplicating, linen management services and transportation. His predecessor at CHW had held that position for approximately six years. Barbour's starting salary at CHW was $ 35,006.40. During his tenure, he received favorable annual evaluations and merit salary increases ranging between four and six percent. His average percentage increase was 5.3% over the period of his employment. In 1992, his last year at CHW, his salary was $ 45,323. *fn1"

 In 1989, at the approximate age of 49, the plaintiff competed for the position at Medlantic, but was not selected, leading to his allegation of discrimination and this suit. The person Medlantic hired instead of Barbour was Mr. Terry Rich. *fn2" (Rich's predecessor had held the position of Director of Materials Management for three to five years.) Rich had previously held his position as Director of Materials Management at the Forbes Health System for approximately 14 years. On June 18, 1992, the jury rendered its verdict in favor of Barbour, awarding him compensatory and punitive damages.

 On October 27, 1992, at the approximate age of 52, Barbour voluntarily resigned from CHW for personal reasons unrelated to work. *fn3" At the time he left CHW, Barbour had no offers of employment or job interviews scheduled.

 During 1992, at an unspecified date and as part of a corporate restructuring, Medlantic ceased to employ anyone at all. Rich's position, the job that Barbour had sought in 1989, was among those eliminated. As a result of this reorganization, Rich no longer held the "multi-hospital" management responsibilities that the plaintiff desired in 1989 and continued to seek up to the instant evidentiary hearing. In 1992, Rich was offered, and accepted, a position as Assistant Administrator for Materials Management at the Washington Hospital Center where he was responsible for its printing operation, mail room, linen distribution, laundry operation, biomedical engineering department, telecommunications and laser safety programs. His selection for the new position, which paid a salary of approximately ...


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