Court rules against Chieffo challenge to firing
This has been a week of extremes for Christopher Chieffo, the former Niles City Schools teacher who was fired by the board of education last year. The positive: Chieffo won election earlier this week to the board that fired him. The negative: he just lost his lawsuit against the district in a ruling by Trumbull Common Pleas Judge Ronald Rice.
Chieffo had been fired by the board several months after calling off sick from his teaching position in Niles when it was determined he was coaching the Howland High School golf team in a tournament at the time. Chieffo and the Niles Education Association, the teachers' bargaining representative, filed suit in November 2018, arguing that his grievance over his termination should have gone to binding arbitration, a point contested by attorneys for the board of education who said arbitration did not apply in this case.
Judge Rice Thursday apparently agreed with the district as he granted a motion for summary judgment in the board's favor and denied a similar request from the attorney representing the NEA and Chieffo. Attempts to reach attorneys representing both sides for comment were unsuccessful Friday while a message left for Chieffo was not returned.
Earlier in 2018, Chieffo and his wife, a Niles teacher, dismissed a $4 million lawsuit they had filed against the board and Superintendent Ann Marie Thigpen that had accused the defendants of fraud and defamation. The fired teacher and the NEA followed with the arbitration lawsuit one month later.
Still pending is a lawsuit against Chieffo filed by Michael Thigpen, the superintendent's husband, who claims his excavating business was damaged by Chieffo's allegations.