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COVID-19 moves Morris trial date to 2022

Former State Rep. Bruce Morris (D-140). (File photo)

NORWALK, Conn. — The trial in the lawsuit filed by Bruce Morris against Norwalk Public Schools and the City of Norwalk has been pushed to next year.

Morris, former Norwalk Public Schools Human Relations Officer, has accused NPS of discrimination and retaliation against him in the elimination of his position. The lawsuit was filed in mid-2017.

Morris’s attorney Daniel Angelone has argued that evidence shows racist and discriminatory attitudes towards Morris and other black Norwalkers.  Angelone cited emails in which then-BoE Chairman Mike Lyons called Morris a “snake” who needs to be eliminated, after building a strong case so as to “avoid a race war.”

Defendants say Morris’ job was cut strictly for budgetary reasons, that it was then-Superintendent Steven Adamowski’s decision, and that he did not consider the opinion of Board of Education members in doing so.

The defendants tried to get the case dismissed in mid-2019, asking Judge Alex Hernandez to issue a summary judgement in their favor. Hernandez denied that request.

A trial was tentatively scheduled for October 2019, then this was pushed back to early 2020. In January 2020, it was postponed to that May. The courts closed due to the pandemic, before that trial date.

Court documents indicate that an alternative dispute resolution session was held in July. Adamowski was expected to participate.

Just over a month ago, the trial was rescheduled to March 23 – next year.

“We are not yet conducting jury trials due to the pandemic, so the initial trial date was continued.  I checked with the clerk, and he does not know why that particular date was chosen,” Rhonda Hebert, Program Manager of Communications for the Connecticut Judiciary said.

Angelone did not reply to an email asking why the trial was set for that date. Attorney Dennis Durao, representing the defendants, had no comment.

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