Nassau cleared in discrimination lawsuit

Willie Warren, Nassau Co. Dept of Public Works

Willie Warren, Nassau Co. Dept of Public Works Equipment Operator, answers questions with County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi at a press conference to announce the firing of DPW Supervisor Linda Alberti for making racial slurs directed at Warren. (Nov. 4, 2002) (Credit: Jim Peppler)

A federal jury in Brooklyn on Friday decided that Nassau County did not discriminate against a former equipment operator because he is black and dismissed his multimillion-dollar lawsuit.

Jurors deliberated for less than five hours before ruling against Willie Warren, 47, of Farmingdale, who alleged Nassau violated his civil rights when it allowed racial discrimination and retaliation against him to continue after he was transferred to a new job.

Attorney Paul F. Millus, representing the county, said the supervisors whom Warren alleged made racially insensitive remarks toward him had either been fired or dead for about a decade.

"Fighting against these ghosts was an uphill battle from the start, but we were able to prevail," Millus said Monday.

In 2003, Warren received $150,000, a promotion and a transfer to settle a claim of discrimination against the county after it was revealed that a department supervisor, Linda Alberti, was caught on tape making racist remarks about him. Alberti was fired.

In 2006, Warren sued the county alleging that the discrimination -- including lug nuts on his work truck were loosened and a hangman's noose was found at the garage where he worked -- continued after he signed the settlement agreement.

The jury, two women and five men, handed up its verdict about 9 p.m.

"We're very, very disappointed with the outcome and we're reviewing our options," said Warren's attorney, Frederick Brewington.

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