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Former Skating Instructor at Winterhurst Files Lawsuit Against the City, Ice Arena

Skating teacher files wrongful termination suit after he was asked not to return to the facility.

Correction: Patryk Szalasny was the only plaintiff named in the complaint.

A former teacher at filed a lawsuit against Ice Land USA and the city of Lakewood in US District Court in Cleveland last week.

Patryk Szalasny claims he and his wife were wrongfully terminated from their positions as ice-skating instructors, according to correspondence between their attorney, the city of Lakewood and Ice Land USA.

The letters were obtained through a public records request.

The issue begins with a July 2011 letter from Winterhurst general manager Mike Shockley sent to the skating instructors, informing them that they could no longer teach at the arena.

Shockley cited a conflict of interest, after the Szalasnys promoted their lessons at other facilities.

However, Patryk Szalasny was named as only complainant in the lawsuit.

Richard Panza, the attorney representing him, contends that the couple was wrongfully terminated. Last month, he asked that the teachers be reinstated to their positions.

In a response, the said that the city doesn’t oversee the arena — or the company Ice Land USA that manages it.

The city hasn’t managed the facility since 2008.

Lakewood Law Director Kevin Butler, who said he hasn’t yet seen the complaint, said that an operating agreement, referred to in Panza’s claim, is “not in force.”

“Instead, the contract that governs the relationship between the city and Iceland USA is a lease agreement signed in August 2008  —with full city council approval — giving authority to Iceland to operate the rink going forward,” Butler said. “We do not control Iceland USA’s operations, including who instructs its students.”

The city of Brooklyn was also named in the suit.

“If (the lawsuit) is based on any of the arguments they’ve already made, I don’t think it’s going to have much merit against the city of Lakewood,” Butler said.

Alexandra August 07, 2012 at 12:51 PM
oy! I used to coach there as well. Everything changed when Iceland came to manage. Most of the original coaching staff left. I am glad Jessica is not in the suit, she used to coach my eldest daughter. I haven't set foot on Winterhurst's ice since the remodel. I thought this was still the war between Glyn and Carol....

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