ATLANTIC CITY — A U.S. District Court judge dismissed sexual-harassment charges made against an Atlantic City assistant superintendent three years ago and called the complaint “poorly drafted and factually muddled.”
In the complaint, Mary Bradley and Teresa Eldridge alleged inappropriate conduct by Barry Caldwell, the assistant superintendent of operations. They also claimed that retaliation within the school district began after they filed the complaint.
But Judge Joseph Irenas ruled recently that the complaint was not drafted or filed in “good faith.”
Despite the weak complaint, the judge previously had denied a motion to dismiss it, because of the legal theories the complaint was filed under.
“Those legal theories have morphed (or have simply been abandoned) over the course of this litigation,” the judge wrote.
Bradley alleged problems with Caldwell dated to about 1992, and she claimed in the complaint that he exposed himself to her.
Bradley did not want to involve the courts, according to the eight-count complaint, but “finally had to do so because of a series of actions taken against her by the Board of Education, (Superintendent Fredrick) Nickles and Mr. Caldwell, taking away her responsibilities and relocating (her) on multiple occasions.”
The suit also alleged that — after Bradley filed a tort claim indicating she would sue — Eldridge was forwarded a threatening letter advising that she could be sued for participating in any action by Bradley.
As a result of the tort claim notice, Bradley was countersued by Caldwell, who claimed that Bradley admitted in a telephone conversation that the sexual harassment never occurred.
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