ITHACA, N.Y. — The City of Ithaca has settled a long-running lawsuit with former City of Ithaca Police Officer Chris Miller, ending nearly a decade of litigation between the city and its former employee.
Miller was awarded $420,000 –– in addition to the $534,000 in fees the city has agreed to pay Miller’s attorney, and the $20,000 Miller won in the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in January for related claims. The final total that puts the saga to bed comes in just under a million dollars, at about $970,000.
“This settlement was a business decision in the best interests of the city and its taxpayers. After nearly a decade of litigation including three federal trials and two appeals, settlement simply became cheaper than continued litigation that showed no signs of letting up,” Myrick said
Litigation revolves around Miller’s claims of “retaliation” by the city against him after he filed a Department of Human Rights complaint claiming he was discriminated against by IPD on the basis of race.
The lawsuit, which was first filed in 2010 against the IPD, former Chief Ed Vallely, the City of Ithaca and several police officers, claimed Miller was passed over for a promotion because of his race. Miller is white.
All parties besides the City of Ithaca have been dropped from the suit over the past 10 years.
Miller’s initial lawsuit asked for $17 million in damages, and in 2012, a jury awarded the former officer $2 million –– that decision was later thrown out by a judge. In 2015 the court ruled in favor of Miller again, for a settlement totaling $480,000 –– a ruling which Mayor Myrick described at the time “unjust,” vowing to fight the verdict.