This city, state, country has no place for discrimination. This New York jury awarded the Plaintiff $900K:
A deliveryman for the Midtown restaurant Mangia 57 has won a $900,000 jury verdict, payback for the anti-Semitic harassment heaped upon him by three supervisors at the eatery.
“It’s a very happy ending — I’m in another world,” said Adam Wiercinski, of Washington Heights.
“They would call him a ‘dirty Jew,’ and when he would say, ‘But I took a bath,’ they would laugh and say, ‘No, you still smell like Jew,’ ” said his lawyer, Matthew Blit.
Night-shift manager Artur Zbozien often “passed gas” in front of Wiercinski, and would then joke that the gas was Zyklon B, the poison used in Nazi gas chambers during the Holocaust, according to the Brooklyn federal court lawsuit.
“How can I explain to you — he passed wind, loudly,” Wiercinski told The Post of Zbozien.
“Everybody laughed, and then he said, ‘See, this is your Zyklon B, you stupid Jew.’
“My father had six siblings — only two of them survived in what is now the Ukraine,” Blit said.
“I had to explain to the members of the jury, what is Zyklon B,” he added. “Because they were very young; they do not know. When I explain how it was used in the gas chambers, they were very serious. Everybody [in the courtroom] was silent.”
Other supervisors would dock Wiercinski’s tips, call him a “Jewish pederast,” and throw pennies at him, again making anti-Semitic jokes, the lawsuit said.
Wiercinski worked at the West 57th Street restaurant from 1992 until 2008, staying despite the abuse because, “He was 50 years old,” explained Blit. “He said, ‘Who else is going to hire a 50-year-old deliveryman.’ He was afraid.”
Jurors heard just three days of testimony last week, including supporting accounts from three of Wiercinski’s outraged co-workers. Much of the testimony was in Polish, the language used by many of the restaurant’s employees. The jury reached a verdict Thursday in just four hours, Blit said.
“He’s in shock,” the lawyer said of Wiercinski’s reaction to the hefty jury award. “He was so happy. It’s a moral victory for him.”
Employees at the restaurant and caterer, which has three Manhattan locations, have denied the harassment took place. The restaurant is expected ask that the verdict be tossed out or that the award be reduced. Calls to its attorney were not immediately returned.
The verdict will be appealed, a lawyer for Mangia 57 said Tuesday, insisting that there was no evidence — besides Wiercinski’s own word — that upper management was ever made aware of any problems.
“Mangia 57 denies and Artur Zbozien denied at trial that anything like this [anti-Semiticism] occurred,” said the lawyer, Daniel Kaiser. “I’m going to ask that this be thrown out entirely, or at least that the award be reduced to a nominal amount.”
Jurors bought Wiercinski’s story despite evidence presented by the defense that between 2000 and 2008, Wiercinski was receiving Social Security disability checks while collecting his full delivery job paycheck under a fictitious name, Adam Jamroz. Wiercinski admitted as much during a pre-trial proceeding, but took the fifth at trial, both sides conceded Tuesday.
Mangia knew who Adam Jamroz was for the past 20 years — if they agreed to let him call himself Adam Jamroz and be paid under that name, the jury saw that they were just as guilty as he was,” countered Blit.
Brooklyn federal Judge Leo Glasser has ordered that the transcript in which Wiercinski described the alleged Social Security fraud be turned over to the US Attorney’s Office, Kaiser said.
As for management purportedly not knowing about the anti-Semitic attacks, “We put in evidence a statement from Artur Zbozien, a sworn affidavit, in which he said that upper management knew about the abuse and transferred him to a different location because of it,” said Blit. “Then, when Zbozien asked to go back, they let him go back” to Mangia 57, Blit added. “That’s what the jury found so outrageous.”
“I’m not sure the defense attorney was at the same trial we were,” Blit added. “The jury got it right.”