A Naugatuck woman has lost her bid to boost her federal civil lawsuit award from a penny to a buck.

Rosemary Aquavia, a borough secretary, earlier this month was awarded 1 cent in her civil lawsuit against a borough official for a reprimand.

A post-trial motion filed on her behalf that sought to increase the award to $1 was denied by U.S. District Court Judge Janet Arterton on Sept. 11.

On Sept. 6, a federal jury ruled mayoral administrative assistant Jim Goggin had violated Aquavia’s First Amendment rights by reprimanding her for using a borough fax machine to contact the state building inspector’s office about the legality of a borough job posting.

Despite ruling in Aquavia’s favor, the jury awarded just 1 cent in nominal damages. Nominal damages are awarded to a plaintiff whose legal right has been violated, but who has proven no financial damage.

If Aquavia’s motion to increase the award had been granted, it would have helped her make a case for the court to reimburse her for $5,000 in legal fees.

The case began in October 1999, when Aquavia questioned the qualifications listed in a job advertisement for an assistant building inspector. She faxed a copy of the ad to the state building inspector’s office, and received a verbal reprimand from Goggin for what was termed “personal use of borough fax/phone lines” and for “investigating her office without going through proper channels.”

–Associated Press