Leigh Castergine, left, has accused Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff...

Leigh Castergine, left, has accused Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon of firing her for having a baby out of wedlock. Credit: AP 2012, Bloomberg

Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, accused of discriminating against and firing a former senior executive for having a baby out of wedlock, denied the accusation in court papers Friday.

Wilpon and the Mets, also named as defendants in the lawsuit, say in the court filings that former Mets ticket executive Leigh Castergine "was treated fairly and without regard to her gender, marital status, pregnancy or leave."

Castergine, the former head of Mets ticket sales and service operations from 2010 until this August, filed her lawsuit in Brooklyn federal court Sept. 10. She accused Wilpon of saying in a meeting that he was "morally opposed" to her giving birth out of wedlock.

Castergine also said she was fired three minutes after her lawyer sent the team an email claiming she was being discriminated against. But Wilpon and the Mets said in the court filings that she was fired before they received the email and that it "was based on legitimate business reasons."

They cited "business issues and conflicts" among Castergine, her supervisor, Lou DePaoli, and other executives, which began before they knew she was pregnant. DePaoli fired her "despite the longstanding support that plaintiff received from Wilpon," according to the filing.

Castergine's attorney did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Lawyers for both sides are scheduled to meet in court next Friday for the first time.


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