Claudio seeks $200K in legal fees from district

09/23/2013 11:27 AM |
JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Anthony Claudio, right, and attorney Frank Blangiardo enter the federal courthouse in Central Islip last October.

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Anthony Claudio, right, and attorney Frank Blangiardo enter the federal courthouse in Central Islip last October.

The attorney for Mattituck-Cutchogue School District teacher Anthony Claudio has asked a federal judge to award his client tenure, an increase in seniority and salary, and more than $200,000 in legal fees from the district.

Last October, an eight-member jury awarded Mr. Claudio $70,000 in back pay at the conclusion of a trial in which it found the district liable of age discrimination

In a motion filed in the Eastern District Court of New York last Monday, attorney Frank Blangiardo of Cutchogue also asked Judge Joseph Bianco to consider awarding Mr. Claudio, 51, more than $19,000 in front pay to cover the 11 months between the jury verdict and his reinstatement with the district.

In July, Judge Bianco ruled that Mr. Claudio should be reinstated to a teaching position. The Board of Education then appointed him last month as a probationary elementary teacher.

He began in his new role at Cutchogue East Elementary School this month.

Want the news to come to you? Follow The Suffolk Times on Facebook and Twitter.

In the motion filed last week, Mr. Blangiardo argued that Mr. Claudio was not treated fairly when he was appointed to an elementary position after had previously taught special education at the junior-senior high school, and that he should have been reinstated at the step-level pay he would currently be at — had he not been denied tenure in 2009.

“[Mr. Claudio] has missed four full years of employment with the district and has now been reinstated without the four years of retroactive seniority, step pay raises and retirement benefits to make [him] whole,” Mr. Blangiardo wrote in the motion.

Instead of the $65,000 step 5 pay he is currently receiving, Mr. Blangiardo argued his client should be paid $79,000, the rate of compensation he would be getting, had he received step increases the past four years. He also claims in the motion that due to state education law, Mr. Claudio is at risk of being excessed because he lacks seniority over other teachers in the elementary school.

“To leave [Mr. Claudio] in the elementary school without the protections of tenure and rightful-place seniority would be unjust and inequitable,” Mr. Blangiardo wrote in the motion.

The attorney also asks in the motion that Mr. Claudio be awarded $196,000 in attorney fees for the nearly 500 hours Mr. Blangiardo has worked on the case and another $6,000 in legal expenses.

The district’s attorney has until Oct. 4 to respond to Mr. Blangiardo’s motion.

Oral arguments in the matter have not yet been scheduled.

[email protected]

Comments

comments