Title VII and ADEA treatments of front pay are not binding upon this case. Each statute is a legislative response to a specific problem. Each provides remedies that are labelled "equitable," but at bottom these remedies are legal, as they flow from Congress's powers. This case by contrast is equitable, as it is a civil contempt proceeding under the Shakman decree. See Wzorek, 708 F. Supp. at 959. Nevertheless, Title VII and ADEA cases are instructive, as they indicate the interests which the court should consider in fashioning remedies for a person who has lost his or her job.
This court thus should balance Wzorek's interest in being compensated as he would have been had he remained an employee of the City with the interest of the citizens of the City in encouraging Wzorek to find alternative employment. The record of this case reveals that Wzorek might not achieve this latter goal; nevertheless, the court must fashion a remedy designed to move him toward it.
As found above Wzorek must obtain more intensive psychiatric treatment if he is to return to the work force. This could last one to two years. Based on the evidence presented, the court believes that Wzorek's desire to obtain treatment and return to work will hasten Wzorek's recovery. The court thus will award front pay to Wzorek for one year, which has a present value of $ 33,518.17. If his treatment ends up taking longer than one year, he can petition this court for further relief.
This leaves the court with one last question: who should pay for Wzorek's treatment? The court had hoped when it awarded Wzorek back pay, prejudgment interest, and medical and prescription expenses that Wzorek would have the resources to get the care he desperately needs. Had he begun treatment sooner, his condition might have been corrected more easily, and with less expense. The court did not anticipate that Wzorek would be caught in the throes of an argument over when equitable remedies are final -- as if equity in a case such as this one is ever once and for all.
Wzorek and the City share responsibility for Wzorek's future care. As noted in this court's previous ruling, the City's willful violation of the Shakman decree entitles Wzorek to recover damages resulting from that violation. See Wzorek, 708 F. Supp. at 960. By this point, however, it is not clear to what degree Wzorek's present condition is the result of the City's original violation. The violation has contributed to his condition, but now inadequate care looms as a significant cause. The reason for this inadequate care is lack of resources, but that only begs the question: why does Wzorek lack resources? In part, because the City fired him. See id. at 959. In part, because Wzorek has not obtained money on account of any ruling of the courts. Another reason could be that Wzorek has not sought public assistance, although his eligibility for that assistance is a matter of speculation. Even if he were eligible, there is no evidence that these programs would provide him with the care that he requires.
The parties have separate proposals. Wzorek asks for $ 150,000, the higher limit of what his care would cost. The City argues that if it should pay anything toward Wzorek's future care, it should be an amount equal to Wzorek's premiums for substitute insurance coverage -- an amount which is zero, as Wzorek has not purchased alternative insurance. Neither party attacks the method that the other uses for preparing its proposal, but it is apparent that each has its flaws. It is not clear, for example, whether Dr. Fawcett's estimated cost of care was a present value, which would be lower than $ 150,000. The parties also did not propose a package of, for example, public and private care, coordinated either by Dr. Fawcett or a special master, which could achieve the same result for less. The City for its part avoids confronting the reasons for Wzorek's failure to purchase substitute insurance. Wzorek has no money to buy insurance, see id., and the City never has proven that Wzorek is even insurable. Its proposal is a non-proposal.
The court has to work with the tools which the parties have provided, crude as they may be. Accordingly, this court orders the City to provide for Wzorek's psychiatric treatment for the next two years up to the amount of $ 150,000. This is not an award of damages; rather, it is an equitable means of providing for Wzorek's psychiatric care. If Wzorek chooses not to avail himself of this coverage, the City will end up paying nothing.
For the reasons stated in this opinion, the court increases the award of back pay entered March 21, 1989 by $ 14,500.00 and its award of prejudgment interest by $ 362.50. The court further awards front pay in the amount of $ 33,518.17. The court orders the City to provide for Wzorek's psychiatric treatment for the next two years, beginning from the date of this order, up to the amount of $ 150,000.00.
DATE: September 6, 1989
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