Claudio seeks reinstatement from Mattituck schools

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02/15/2013 9:00 AM |
JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Anthony Claudio enters the federal courthouse in Central Islip in October.

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Anthony Claudio enters the federal courthouse in Central Islip in October.

Former special education teacher Anthony Claudio and the Mattituck-Cutchogue School District will return to federal court today (Friday,) with the district seeking to overturn the Oct. 22 jury verdict in Mr. Claudio’s suit against the district, which fired him in 2009, and Mr. Claudio asking the court to order his reinstatement. 

The jury had rejected Mr. Claudio’s contention that he was the victim of gender discrimination, but did rule that district discriminated against him based on his age. Mr. Claudio was 47 when he was denied tenure and dismissed. Although it did not award payment for emotional distress, the jury ordered the school to pay him $70,000 in back pay.

The district has filed a post-trial motion to have the entire verdict overthrown, or in the alternative grant a new trial. Mr. Claudio’s attorney, Frank Blangiardo of Cutchogue, is expected to request that the district both reinstate his client and pay his legal costs.

The two sides will appear before United States District Court Judge Joseph Bianco at the federal courthouse in Central Islip.

In court papers school district attorney Jeltje DeJong of Smithtown argues that the verdict was based on “sheer speculation, resulting from [Mr. Blangiardo’s] bad faith antics and shenanigans.” She also filed an affidavit from Superintendent James McKenna opposing the reinstatement request, claiming the school doesn’t have any teacher vacancies.

Mr. Blangiardo filed motions seeking “front pay,” which is a form of compensation for victims of discrimination who aren’t able to find comparable employment, from the district if it fails to rehire Mr. Claudio, according to court documents.

Oral arguments are scheduled to take place at 3 p.m.

Check back for updates.

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