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Bronx VA Hospital Is On Religious Trial Amid Questions of $400,000 Pay Ceiling

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Nov 4 – Moshe Wagh sued the Secretary of Veteran Affairs, says that at the Bronx V.A. Hospital he was paid disparate ages "on account of the fact that he is an Orthodox Jew."      

     On November 2 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Magistrate Judge Robert W. Lehrburger began a jury trial. Inner City Press went up to the 26th floor to cover it. 

 Wagh was in the plexiglass witness box, explaining on direct examination what the Sabbath is, and his two years of medical school in Mexico, two in Santo Domingo.   

Judge Lehrburger, after he let the jurors go, asked why he had not been told during summary judgment briefing of another doctor at the Bronx VA who is an Orthodox Jew. Wagh's lawyer said he dispute that the other is, in fact, an Orthodox Jew.

The Assistant US Attorney said if she had been on the case earlier, she would have made Judge Lehrburger aware.

At the end on November 3, with Doctor Schwartz leaving the stand, Judge Lehrburger suggested to the parties that they avoid cumulative presentation. Plaintiff's counsel asked to end on Friday at 4, for this client's religious observance. That's what the case is about.

On November 4 mid-day, Judge Lehrburger asked the lawyers about the pay scale. It emerged it imposes a maximum payout cap of $400,000 a year. To be less than the U.S. President? Judge Lehrburger pointed out that something can be considered, as required, but then rejected in full. Then he called the lawyers' lunch break.

The case is  Wagh v. Wilkie, 18-cv-7726 (Lehrburger)


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