I had a 70gig partition running Ubuntu that I deleted from Disk utility (was gonna reinstall with Kubuntu instead). However, once the operation was complete, I was just left with the Mac partition (~170 gig out of 256) and the formatted Linux partition was not visible. I tried to repair it from recovery mode, but it keeps telling me to open first aid in recovery mode (which I am).
If I'm understanding you correctly, you are trying to format a linux partition from your OS X diskutil app. Far better would be to access it via an external linux boot device, either USB or DVD. Since what you do to that partition as far as a reinstall of linux should (fingers crossed) only mess with the linux partition, your ability to later on reboot into OS X should be (fingers crossed) fine. As I am finding out myself, deleting partitions within one or the other systems may well befoul everything. But reinstalling to one of them should have less risk involved. BACKING UP the OS X partition first would be a stellar idea.
I say this as someone running a MacBook late-2011 15" with Mint Linux as first partition and MacOS as second.