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Former Arlington principal, teacher to get $250,000 in settlement of wrongful termination suit

Posted by Your Town  December 10, 2013 06:44 PM

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An Arlington school teacher and principal fired six years ago will receive $250,000 to settle a wrongful termination lawsuit they filed against the town of Arlington, the town announced Tuesday.

Plaintiffs Charles Coughlin and Stavroula Bouris, who were fired in 2007 by then-superintendent Nathan Levenson, originally sued the schools for $7 million, alleging they were wrongfully terminated based on suspicions they were having an affair.

The settlement announced Tuesday was reached a week after the trial started before Judge Mark L. Wolf in U.S. District Court.

Coughlin and Bouris said officials fabricated the affair as retaliation for Levenson's failed attempts to oust Bouris earlier in 2007. Their lawsuit alleged that Levenson began monitoring emails between Coughlin and Bouris in March 2007.

The dispute between Coughlin, Bouris and the school system has dragged on for years. Coughlin won his job as technology teacher back with full benefits and back pay in 2009, but a Superior Court Judge overturned the ruling in 2010. That ruling had an impact on a subsequent hearing about Bouris' position as principal of Ottoson Middle School, and she was not reinstated, said lawyer for the plaintiffs Frank Mondano.

Mondano said neither Bouris nor Coughlin ever returned to work in the schools, and neither of them received any back pay or benefits. They said talk of an affair was untrue.
Levenson, who resigned in 2008, did not return a request for comment before press time.

Both sides expressed relief that this longstanding legal issue has reached a conclusion.

"The real positive aspect all the way around is that it is finally over. Everybody gets to move on," Mondano said.

The town expressed similar sentiments.

"This settlement avoids what would likely have been years of appeals regardless of the outcome of the trial and resolves not only this lawsuit but all ongoing litigation involving Mr. Coughlin and Ms. Bouris," said Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine and Superintendent Kathleen Bodie in a press release. "As a result, the town and all parties involved will be able to move forward."

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