Carrion v. AGFA Construction


, New York Law Journal


Circuit Judge José Cabranes

Carrion is of Puerto Rican descent. He sued sometime employer Agfa Construction for discriminating against him, contrary to 42 USC §1981 and state law, by giving more work opportunities and greater pay to "Asian Indian" employees and by not paying the prevailing wage as required by the Davis-Bacon Act. The jury awarded Carrion $1 in nominal damages and $5,000 in punitive damages for his discrimination claims. Second Circuit affirmed district court's amended judgment dismissing Carrion's Davis-Bacon claim, denying him punitive damages for his §1981 discrimination claim, and denying him a new trial as to damages on his discrimination claim. Second Circuit noted that Grochowski v. Phoenix Construction—holding that the Davis-Bacon Act does not "confer a private right of action on an aggrieved employee for back wages"—remains the controlling law within the circuit, and foreclosed Carrion's prevailing wage claim. As to punitive damages the circuit, citing Tepperwein v. Entergy Nuclear Operations, agreed with the district court's conclusion that there was no evidence from which the jury could reasonably find Agfa's conduct driven by malice or reckless indifference to Carrion's federally protected rights.

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