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McGarry v. Pielech

Supreme Court of Rhode Island

January 14, 2015

Roderick A. McGarry
v.
Marilyn Pielech et al

Page 999

Providence County Superior Court. (PC 00-4170). Associate Justice Kristin E. Rodgers.

For Plaintiff: William T. Murphy, Esq.

For Defendant: Marc DeSisto, Esq.

Present: Suttell, C.J., Goldberg, Flaherty, Robinson, and Indeglia, JJ.

OPINION

Page 1000

Flaherty, Justice.

The plaintiff, Roderick A. McGarry, appeals from the denial of his motion for a new trial after a jury verdict entered in favor of the defendant, Marilyn Pielech, in her capacity as Treasurer and Finance Director of the Town of Cumberland (town), in a suit alleging age discrimination in hiring.[1] This case came before the Supreme

Page 1001

Court for oral argument on October 29, 2014, pursuant to an order directing the parties to appear and show cause why the issues raised in this appeal should not be summarily decided. After hearing the arguments and examining the memoranda filed by the parties, we are of the opinion that cause has not been shown and we shall proceed to decide the appeal at this time, without further briefing or argument. For the reasons set forth in this opinion, we affirm the judgment of the Superior Court.

I

Facts and Travel

In this appeal, we address the issues arising from the second trial of plaintiff's claim of age discrimination arising from the failure to hire him for one of two positions as an English teacher at Cumberland Middle School.[2] The first time these parties were before this Court, we affirmed the grant of a new trial for defendant, pursuant to Rule 59 of the Superior Court Rules of Civil Procedure, on the discrimination claim.[3] On remand to the Superior Court, plaintiff again litigated the claim of discrimination to a jury, but this time a verdict was returned in favor of defendant. After the verdict, the trial justice denied plaintiff's motion for a new trial. The plaintiff now appeals from the adverse jury verdict.

The events that give rise to the facts underlying plaintiff's one remaining claim took place more than fifteen years ago.[4]McGarry v. Pielech,47 A.3d 271, 275-79 (R.I. 2012) (McGarry I). McGarry had been employed as a substitute teacher with the Cumberland school system during the 1997-1998 school year. In July 1998, plaintiff applied for two openings at Cumberland Middle School, both in the English department, for the 1998-1999 school year. The plaintiff was interviewed for both positions, but ultimately the town appointed other candidates. The various candidates, including plaintiff, were interviewed by a committee that consisted of Joyce Hindle-Koutsogiane (Koutsogiane), the principal of the Middle School, and two teachers from the English department. At the interview, members of the committee took notes, rated each of the candidates' responses to a series of questions, and made other general observations that would be helpful in making the hiring decision. In August 1998, after he was not ...


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