December 11, 2010 in City

Widower sues over wife’s firing

Jessie L. Bonner Associated Press

BOISE – An Idaho man is suing the Cambridge School District in federal court, saying administrators discriminated against his disabled wife in the months before her death in July 2008.

Patrick McCurdy’s wife suffered from Churg-Strauss syndrome, a rare vascular disease, and the school district was aware of her disability when she was hired in 2006, according to an amended complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court.

McCurdy’s wife, Shauna, became severely ill in January 2008 and requested a temporary leave on May 8 of that year, according to the complaint.

McCurdy claims the school district “embarked in a course of conduct to terminate her employment. A day after her request for temporary leave, McCurdy said his wife was targeted in a negative evaluation and was fired within weeks.

McCurdy claims the school district also prematurely canceled his wife’s insurance.

McCurdy’s lawsuit, which was first filed in March and amended this week after he retained an attorney, claims the district violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the Family Medical Leave Act.

The school district’s attorney, Brian Julian, filed a motion earlier this year seeking to dismiss the case, saying McCurdy is unlawfully representing himself while bringing claims on behalf of his wife’s estate.

In November, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill said McCurdy had a statutory right to represent himself but he could not bring claims on behalf of his wife’s estate unless he was the sole beneficiary.

Winmill ordered McCurdy to either secure an attorney or provide evidence that he is the sole beneficiary of his wife’s estate.

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