Former Cobleskill Employee Prevails in Lawsuit Against Village

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Former sewage treatment plant superintendent to be reinstated to prior position and awarded back pay.

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Each step that I have taken in my career progression has been with the purpose of improving the village’s sewer plant. I’ve dedicated my career to Cobleskill

The former sewage treatment plant superintendent for Cobleskill has prevailed in his lawsuit against the village. A decision issued today by the State of New York Supreme Court found that the village of Cobleskill was in violation of Civil Service Law when they failed to reinstate Christian Pahls to his prior position once he was terminated from the superintendent position.

The decision orders the village to reinstate Pahls to his former position of assistant operator and award him back pay for restitution of lost wages and retirement benefits for the period of time he was displaced from employment.

The lawsuit, Pahls v. Village of Cobleskill, arose from Pahls' termination as the village’s sewage treatment plant superintendent in November 2008. Pahls was promoted to the superintendent position in 2007 and terminated just under a year later in relation to misconstrued comments regarding the denial of his request for a performance evaluation.

Prior to his termination, Pahls was employed by the village of Cobleskill for 19 years.

“Each step that I have taken in my career progression has been with the purpose of improving the village’s sewer plant. I’ve dedicated my career to Cobleskill,” said Pahls. ”I am elated that I have the opportunity to continue doing so and look forward to returning to work.”

Pahls’ attorney, Maria C. Tebano, Esq., supports the decision issued by the court.

“I am pleased that such an arbitrary termination and blatant violation of my client’s rights have not been overlooked by the judicial system,” said Tebano, who serves as a partner at the Albany law firm Tully Rinckey PLLC. “The rights afforded to municipal employees under Civil Service Law are essential to New York State and should be followed to their fullest extent.”

The lawsuit was commenced in March 2008 through the filing of an Article 78 petition, which is the document used to sue municipalities, in the State of New York Supreme Court in Schoharie County under the civil index number 2009-114. The decision was issued on April 20.

Tebano is available for comment on the decision. For more information or to speak with Tebano, please contact Caitlin Merrill at 518-755-2789 or via email at cmerrill(at)tullylegal.com.

Tully Rinckey PLLC is one of the fastest growing full-service law firms in the Capital Region and is dedicated to providing quality legal representation and customer service to individuals, families and businesses throughout New York’s Capital and Hudson Valley Regions. The team of attorneys, paralegals, and professionals helps clients in a wide range of practice areas. The firm maintains a website, http://www.tullylegal.com, with additional information about its attorneys, achievements, and news stories involving the firm’s work.

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Caitlin Merrill
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