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Trivedi v. Cooper

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18715 (S.D.N.Y. 1996)


Vipin Trivedi (plaintiff) worked as a scientific researcher in the New York State Office of Mental Health from 1982 to 1995. Thomas Cooper (defendant) supervised Trivedi. In 1995, Trivedi sued Cooper in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York for employment discrimination under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983 and N.Y. Exec. Law § 296 (McKinney 1996). Trivedi was of East Indian national origin and claimed that on this basis Cooper harassed him, prevented him from being promoted, and retaliated against him for attempting to vindicate his legal rights. In rebuttal, Cooper offered evidence that Trivedi behaved bizarrely and suffered from mental illness. Cooper moved for a directed verdict on the retaliation and failure to promote claims at the end of Trivedi’s case in chief, which was denied. The jury returned a verdict for Trivedi and awarded damages of $700,000 for pain and suffering, compensatory damages for back pay, and nominal damages of $1. Cooper then moved for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) or a new trial.

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Holding and Reasoning (Cote, J.)

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