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Judge Lippman Redux

February 19, 2010

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New York's new Chief Judge continues to tilt toward plaintiffs and claimants, a trend we first reported in this space yesterday.
Now this. In 2006, a conductor on a NYC subway train assaulted a subway customer. Let's back up. The episode began when a rider complained about subway service. The conductor reacted to this complaint by calling the rider a "faggot." The rider responded by attributing some sexual ambiguity to the conductor's late father. So, the conductor grabbed the rider by the neck and slung him around for a bit.
The Transit Authority terminated the conductor. The case went to arbitration pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement between the Transit Authority and the union. The collective bargaining agreement provides that in cases of assault, the arbitrator shall affirm the Transit Authority's choice of punishment (i.e., termination in this case) unless there is "credible evidence that the action by the [Transit] Authority is clearly excessive......" The arbitrator here found that termination was "clearly excessive" and gave the conductor his job back. The Transit Authority appealed.
The Court of Appeals, in a decision by Judge Lippman, has now upheld the arbitrator's decision, and all New Yorkers are advised to keep their complaints about the subways to themselves.
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