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Garden City and ex-baseball coach in settlement talks, per court documents

Rich Smith, who has been the Garden City

Rich Smith, who has been the Garden City varsity baseball coach for 44 years, surveys the field during a game against Carey at Garden City High School on Monday, May 9, 2016. Photo Credit: James Escher

The age-discrimination lawsuit filed in March by longtime Garden City High School baseball coach Rich Smith is on hold while the two sides engage in settlement talks, according to a court filing.

Smith, 75, filed the federal age-discrimination lawsuit just as varsity baseball practice at Garden City High School was taking place without him for the first time since 1966. Smith began as an assistant coach in 1967 and became the head coach in 1973.

U.S. District Judge Sandra J. Feuerstein held a teleconference with attorneys last week and ruled that discovery not take place while Smith and the Garden City district discuss a settlement, the filing said.

The first in-court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 27 in federal court in Central Islip.

Smith’s attorney, Garden City-based Robert Sullivan, said in a brief telephone interview Monday that the judge ordered the settlement talks to be confidential and he declined further comment. A school spokeswoman declined to comment.

Smith’s lawsuit named superintendent Robert Feirson and athletic director Dawn Cerrone as defendants. The lawsuit does not specify how much money he is seeking.

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