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Town of Greenwich held liable for race discrimination

On Wednesday, July 29, 2009, a federal jury in New Haven returned a verdict against the Town of Greenwich and in favor of eight  minority police officers. Hardy et al, v. Town of Greenwich, 3:06-cv-00833 (MRK).

The police officers sued the Town of Greenwich for creating a hostile environment within the Greenwich Police Department and failing to promote and demote various officers between 2002 – 2006.     The case went to trial on July 13, 2009 and the verdict came in on July 29, 2009.  The Plaintiffs were represented by Lew Chimes and Rob Richardson.  There were 43 witnesses, 2 former Town First selectmen, and 2 former and one current police chief testifying about long history of discrimination and hostile environment.

The case was a Section 1981 case tried under a Monell theory.    Jury found that the Town (First selectman) was liable for tolerating a custom and practice of discrimination within the police department.  The jury specifically found that a hostile environment based on race existed for two of the plaintiffs, and that five of the plaintiffs were denied promotions or constructively demoted on the basis of race.  The jury found in favor of the defendant for three of the plaintiffs.

Damages were moderate, about $160,000 since all of the plaintiffs still work at the department and some of them were promoted after the suit was filed.

The Town spent in excess of $700,000 defending the case. A motion for attorneys fees and additional future economic damages is being filed shortly.  The total damages should be in seven figures.