Court Upholds Officer’s Bias Claim

PERTH AMBOY – An appeals court upheld a jury verdict that determined that a Perth Amboy police officer of Mexican descent was the victim of workplace discrimination last week. The appellate court also upheld the trial court’s decision to reduce a $1.9 million jury award to $300,000.

Guadalupe Munoz sued the Perth Amboy Police Department and Michael Kohut, who was the police chief at the time, for subjecting Munoz to a hostile workplace based on his national origin. In 2007, a jury awarded Munoz $1.9 million. Superior Court Judge Phillip Paley, who presided over the trial, reduced the award to $300,000. and awarded Munoz $76,010 in attorney’s fees.

Munoz and his attorney are planning to go forward with a second lawsuit against Kohut, alleging that he failed to investigate a claim that that Acting Perth Amboy Police Chief E.J. McDonald pressured a sergeant to change her testimony during Munoz’s original trial. The suit also alleges that Kohut asked Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan to charge Munoz with perjury.

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