The attorney for former Lynn Comptroller and Interim CFO John Pace, has filed a motion in Superior Court, seeking to have the award to his client tripled, as a “deterrent to future misconduct.”
If granted, the award to Pace could jump to more than $4 million, a debt the city will be required to pay.
Attorney Harold Lichten of Boston, wrote in his motion for “treble damages” that his client deserves the award because the jury in the case found that, “…Fortucci was individually liable for interfering with Pace’s employment relationship with the city,” and that even had he not been found liable individually, the Whistleblower’s Act was established, “…to protect public employees from retaliation for voicing their opposition to wrongful government conduct.”
Pace was awarded nearly $1 million by a jury on May 29, after his attorney was able to successfully argue that Pace was fired in 2011 by then Lynn CFO Richard Fortucci, whom Pace had testified against in city disciplinary hearings.
After the City Council re-appointed Fortucci as CFO in January 2011 and placed Pace back into his Comptroller’s role, Pace continued to sign for and accept his Interim CFO pay, which ultimately was determined by Fortucci to be an “overpayment” of some $2,839.76, and grounds for dismissal.
In siding with Pace, the jury awarded him $325,000 in lost wages, 360,000 in lost pension compensation, and $250,000 in “emotional distress damages.”
According to the city’s outside legal counsel, Thomas Dreschler, the judge in the case can hold a hearing before ruling on the motion or simply file a ruling on the motion, if he feels he has sufficient evidence and information to make a determination.
Dreschler also said that the city will file a motion opposing the “treble damages” request in Superior Court as well.