728 F.2d 160 (2nd Cir. 1984), 338, Cohen v. Board of Educ., Smithtown Cent. School Dist. No. 1

Docket Nº:338, 339, Dockets 83-7513, 83-7515.
Citation:728 F.2d 160
Party Name:Harvey L. COHEN, Plaintiff-Appellee-Cross-Appellant, v. BOARD OF EDUCATION, SMITHTOWN CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT, NO. 1, Defendant-Appellant-Cross-Appellee.
Case Date:February 27, 1984
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
 
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Page 160

728 F.2d 160 (2nd Cir. 1984)

Harvey L. COHEN, Plaintiff-Appellee-Cross-Appellant,

v.

BOARD OF EDUCATION, SMITHTOWN CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT, NO.

1, Defendant-Appellant-Cross-Appellee.

Nos. 338, 339, Dockets 83-7513, 83-7515.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

February 27, 1984

Argued Nov. 17, 1983.

Martin J. Crowley, Smithtown, N.Y. (Craig F. Meltzer, Smithtown, N.Y., of counsel), for defendant-appellant-cross-appellee.

Frederic Block, Smithtown, N.Y. (Block & Costa, Smithtown, N.Y., of counsel), for plaintiff-appellee-cross-appellant.

Before KAUFMAN, VAN GRAAFEILAND and HAYNSWORTH [*], Circuit Judges.

Page 161

VAN GRAAFEILAND, Circuit Judge:

The Board of Education, Smithtown Central School District, No. 1, appeals and plaintiff, Harvey Cohen, cross-appeals from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Mishler, J.), which ordered the Board to reinstate Cohen as a tenured English teacher with back pay and employment benefits, but awarded him no damages for the emotional and mental distress associated with his unlawful discharge.

On September 1, 1971, the School District employed Cohen as an English Department Chairman under an employment contract which terminated in 1975. Although Cohen and the Board entered into another five-year contract in 1975, the Board eliminated the position of Chairman in 1979, and on April 10, 1979, appointed Cohen to a full-time teaching position. Because Cohen previously had had teaching tenure in the New York City School System, he needed to complete only a two-year probationary period with Smithtown before becoming eligible for tenure in that district. N.Y.Educ.Law Sec. 2509(1)(a). On March 27, 1981, Cohen's employment as teacher was terminated. Because less than two years had elapsed since Cohen was appointed as a full-time teacher, he was not eligible for tenure unless he could be found to have served as a teacher during his term as Chairman.

Cohen contends in this suit that the major portion of his time as English Department Chairman involved teaching English and, consequently, that he had acquired tenure as a teacher before he was discharged. He contends further that he was deprived of due process because his termination from tenured employment was effected without a hearing. The case was bifurcated for trial. The first jury found, in response to special interrogatories, that, in...

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