224 F.3d 30 (1st Cir. 2000), 99-2113, Ramos v. Davis & Geck Inc.

Docket Nº:99-2113
Citation:224 F.3d 30
Party Name:RAFAEL RAMOS, PLAINTIFF, APPELLANT, V. DAVIS & GECK, INC., DEFENDANT, APPELLEE.
Case Date:August 23, 2000
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
 
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224 F.3d 30 (1st Cir. 2000)

RAFAEL RAMOS, PLAINTIFF, APPELLANT,

V.

DAVIS & GECK, INC., DEFENDANT, APPELLEE.

No. 99-2113

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

August 23, 2000

Heard June 6, 2000

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF PUERTO RICO [Hon. Heector M. Laffitte, U.S. District Judge]

David W. Roman, with whom Herbert W. Brown III, Jose Luis Ubarri, and Brown & Ubarri were on brief, for appellant.

Pedro J. Manzano-Yates, with whom Juan J. Casillas-Ayala and Fiddler Gonzalez & Rodriguez were on brief, for appellee.

Before Torruella, Chief Judge, Stahl and Lipez, Circuit Judges.

Lipez, Circuit Judge.

Rafael Ramos appeals from a decision of the district court for the District of Puerto Rico ordering that his award of damages against Davis & Geck, Inc., be subject to withholding for FICA and Puerto Rico income taxes because part of the damages

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represented back pay. See Ramos v. Davis & Geck, Inc., 64 F.Supp.2d 6, 8 (D.P.R. 1999). Ramos contends that the court erred in deciding what portion of the damages found by the jury was back pay. We agree.

I.

The underlying facts of this case are recited in our prior opinion, Ramos v. Davis & Geck, Inc., 167 F.3d 727 (1st Cir. 1999), and we sketch here only the facts relevant to this appeal. Ramos sued Davis & Geck, his former employer, alleging that he had been discharged because of his age in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq., and Puerto Rico's Law 100, P.R. Laws Ann. tit 29, § 146 et seq. The case was tried to a jury in January 1997. The jury found for Davis & Geck on the ADEA claim. On the Law 100 claim, the verdict form asked the jury:

Do you find that the Defendant constructively discharged the Plaintiff Rafael Ramos without just cause because of his age in violation of Law 100? .

If your answer is YES, state the amount of damages in the space below, double that amount, and write the total amount of damages.

The jury answered "YES" and found damages of $150,000, doubled pursuant to Law 100 to $300,000. The verdict form did not require the jury to specify what portion of the damages represented back pay and what portion was compensation for emotional distress.

Davis & Geck appealed and we affirmed. See 167 F.3d at 735. After our decision, Davis & Geck refused to pay Ramos the full amount of the judgment, contending that part of the jury's damage award represented back pay, from which it was required to withhold payments for Puerto Rico income taxes and federal social security (FICA) taxes. Ramos brought the issue before the district court, which agreed with Davis & Geck. The court calculated Ramos's lost wages as $178,062.30 by multiplying his monthly salary, $3,123.90, by the number of months between his termination and the jury verdict, fifty-seven. It then subtracted the $52,518.50 Ramos had received in social security...

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