The Malverne Union Free School District, Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Hunderfund and Assistant Superintendent RoseLinda Ricca received a verdict in their favor by a federal jury in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Central Islip on Dec. 9. The jury rendered a complete verdict for defendants in the case brought against them by plaintiff Kenneth Smith, a mathemathics teacher at Malverne Middle School who sued the district, superintendent and assistant superintendent claiming discrimination on the basis of his race when he wasn’t promoted.      

The eight-person jury was asked to determine whether the District and its administrators’ actions violated federal anti-discrimination laws.  The jury unanimously found that Mr. Smith’s race was not a motivating factor in the decision not to promote him or to reassign him an additional class.

The case was tried in three days before United States District Judge Joan M. Azrack. The lawyer who represented Kenneth Smith was Steven A. Morelli of Garden City, New York.  The District and its administrators were represented by Melissa L. Holtzer and Susan H. Odessky of Sokoloff Stern, LLP of Carle Place, New York.

“We are grateful that the jury carefully examined all the evidence and came to what we believe was the correct decision,” said Dr. Hunderfund.

Two similar cases filed against the district and administrators are still pending.