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Judge: Crestwood must pay woman $331K

Ex-administrator won discrimination suit

SCRANTON – A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the Crestwood Area School District to pay $331,258 to a former school administrator who won a gender discrimination lawsuit against the district last year.

U.S. District Judge James M. Munley determined Carole L. Jeckell was entitled to $83,700 in back pay; $243,150 for future earnings and $4,408 in interest.

The award is in addition to $10,000 in compensatory damages a jury awarded to Jeckell after a several-day trial in February 2007. The district will also be responsible to pay attorney’s fees to Jeckell’s attorney, Cynthia Pollick, of Pittston.

Pollick has filed a separate court motion seeking nearly $130,000. A determination on the amount she will be paid will be made at a later date by Munley.

Pollick did not immediately return a phone message left at her office late Wednesday afternoon.

Jeckell sued the district in 2004, alleging her gender was the basis of the board’s 2002 decision not to hire her for the position of assistant superintendent. The job was instead given to a man, Richard Duffy. The board claimed it hired Duffy because he was more qualified.

The district later filed court papers seeking to overturn the verdict, but Munley dismissed that motion in September.

A separate hearing to determine the amount of back and future pay Jeckell was entitled to was held Monday. Jeckell presented the testimony of an expert economist, Andrew Verzilli, who calculated the difference between her actual earnings and what she would have earned had the district hired her as assistant superintendent.

Munley adopted Verzilli’s report in full, noting that the district failed to present an expert to counter Verzilli’s findings.

The district was represented in the case by attorney Walter Timby, who was hired by the district’s insurance carrier. Timby could not be reached for comment late Wednesday afternoon.

Attorney Jack Dean, solicitor for Crestwood, said Wednesday he wants to know why the insurance carrier did not hire an expert economist. He said he will discuss that matter with the board at its next meeting, as well as a possible appeal of the verdict to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

Dean said, should the verdict stand, the damages will be paid by the insurance company, less a deductible. Information on the amount of the deductible was not available Wednesday.

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