Articles Posted in New York Court of Appeals

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Certain records compiled by Respondent, New York State Education Department, relating to municipalities’ plans for auditing special education preschool provider costs, as redacted, are exempt from disclosure under N.Y. Pub. Off. Law 87(2)(e)(i). Petitioner submitted a request to Respondent pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law seeking disclosure of documents relating to municipalities’ plans for auditing special education preschool provider costs. The Department initially denied the request but, after Petitioner commenced this proceeding directing the Department to provide her with the records sought, eventually released fifty-five pages. Supreme Court granted Petitioner's petition to the limited extent of requiring the Department to disclose two previously redacted pages, upheld the remainder of the redactions, and otherwise dismissed the proceeding, concluding that the majority of the Department’s redactions were appropriate under section 87(2)(e). The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed as modified, holding (1) the redactions at issue fit within the exemption permitting an agency to deny access to records compiled for law enforcement purposes where their disclosure would interfere with an investigation; and (2) the Appellate Division erred in denying Petitioner’s request for attorneys’ fees. View "Madeiros v. New York State Education Department" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed two actions - the NYSER action and the Aristy-Farer action - contending that the State had violated the Education Article by failing to provide students with a sound basic education. Supreme Court denied Defendants’ motions to dismiss Plaintiffs’ respective complaints. In the NYSER action, the Appellate Division affirmed as modified to dismiss Plaintiffs’ third cause of action. In the Aristy-Farer action, the Appellate Division modified to dismiss the second and third causes of a action. The Court of Appeals held (1) the NYSER plaintiffs’ first and second causes of action did not survive a motion to dismiss; (2) the third cause of action in the NYSER action survives as to New York City and Syracuse school districts; (3) the fourth cause of action in the NYSER action is sufficiently pleaded as to New York City and Syracuse; and (4) all causes of action in the Aristy-Farer are dismissed. View "Aristy-Farer v. State" on Justia Law

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The Statewide Central Register maintained by the State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) received information alleging educational neglect by Petitioners. OCFS referred the report to the Westchester County Department of Social Services, Office of Child Protective Services (CPS). CPS decided that the case was eligible to proceed under the Family Assessment Response Track (FAR track) but submitted the case for closure in the month after the report was received, without recommending services. Thereafter, Petitioners wrote to OCFS to request expungement of the FAR records and report. The Director of the OCFS Central Register stated that OCFS could not comply with Petitioners’ request because Petitioners had been placed on the FAR track rather than the standard investigative track. Petitioners then commenced this N.Y. C.P.L.R. 78 proceeding against OCFS and the Director, challenging OCFS’s denial of the opportunity for Petitioners to seek early expungement of the educational neglect report. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the statutory procedure allowing for early expungement of reports relating to alleged child abuse does not apply when the parents are not formally investigated but instead are assigned to the FAR track pursuant to N.Y. Soc. Serv. Law 427-a. View "Corrigan v. New York State Office of Children & Family Services" on Justia Law

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After achieving tenure at Food and Finance High School, Petitioner voluntarily resigned from his teaching position. Petitioner was later hired as a teacher at Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing and Visual arts. Petitioner received a rating of “unsatisfactory” for the school year and, consequently, was terminated. Petitioner brought this N.Y. C.P.L.R. 78 proceeding arguing that he was a tenured teacher upon his reappointment, and therefore, his termination without just cause and without following the procedures in N.Y. Educ. Law 3020-a was unlawful, arbitrary and capricious, or an abuse of discretion. Supreme Court denied the petition and dismissed the proceeding for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. The Appellate Division affirmed on a different ground, holding that when Petitioner was rehired, his tenure was not ipso facto restored. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) a tenured teacher who resigns, and who later seeks to return as a tenured teacher must strictly comply with paragraph 29 of New York City Board of Education Chancellor’s Regulation C-205 (C-205(29)) and submit a written request to withdraw his prior resignation; and (2) absent a request to withdraw his resignation, Petitioner failed to meet the requirements of C-205(29) for reinstatement with tenure. View "Springer v. Board of Education" on Justia Law

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Public school students filed complaints with the SDHR, claiming that their respective school districts engaged in an "unlawful discriminatory practice" under Article 15 of the Executive Law, Executive Law 290, et seq. At issue on these appeals was whether a public school district was an "education corporation or association" as contemplated by Executive Law 296(4). The court concluded that it was not, and therefore, SDHR lacked jurisdiction to investigate complaints made against public school districts under that provision. View "Matter of North Syracuse Cent. School Dist. v New York State Div. of Human Rights" on Justia Law

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This case arose when the superintendent of the school district preferred eight charges of misconduct and/or incompetence against petitioner, then the business manager for the school district. At issue was whether persons who have testified in a Civil Service 75 disciplinary hearing were required to disqualify themselves from subsequently acting upon any of the charges related to that hearing. The court held that, because the testimony of the testifying witnesses, concerning the charges levied pursuant to section 75, rendered them personally involved in the disciplinary process, disqualification was necessary. View "Matter of Baker v Poughkeepsie City School Dist." on Justia Law

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These cases called upon the court to decide whether petitioners were required to exhaust an available internal appeal procedure before challenging the termination of their probationary employment at the City of New York's Department of Education (DOE). The DOE was obligated by its collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the United Federation of Teachers and its own bylaws to afford probationary employees the opportunity for reconsideration of a decision to discontinue their employment. The court held that the DOE's decisions were "final and binding" within the meaning of CPLR 217(1) as of the dates when petitioners' probationary services ended. Petitioners awaited the outcome of the internal reviews provided for under the CBA and the DOE's bylaws before commencing suit. But these reviews "stem[] solely from the [CBA]" and constituted "an optional procedure under which a teacher may ask [DOE] to reconsider and reverse [its] initial decision, ... which was final and which, when made, in all respects terminated the employment of a probationer under Education Law 2573(1)(a);" they were not administrative remedies that petitioners were required to exhaust before litigating the termination of their probationary employment. As a result, petitioners' lawsuits brought more than four months after the dates when their probationary service ended, were time-barred. View "Kahn v New York City Dept. of Educ.; In the Matter of Doreen Nash v Board of Educ. of the City Sch. Dist. etc." on Justia Law

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This case arose when petitioner, a tenured assistance principal in the City's public school system, approached a principal at a middle school in the district to request favorable treatment for petitioner's son, a teacher at the middle school. Petitioner subsequently commenced a CPLR 78 proceeding, seeking to prohibit the Board and the City's Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) from proceeding with petitioner's scheduled administrative trial. The court held that the Board was authorized to enforce the Conflicts of Interest Law, NY City Charter 2600-2607, against a public servant who was subject to discipline under section 3020 and 3020-a of the Education Law. As a result, the lower courts improperly prohibited the Board and OATH from proceeding with the administrative trial against petitioner. View "Matter of Rosenblum v New York City Conflicts of Interest Bd." on Justia Law

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This case involved a longstanding dispute over who bore the burden of paying the educational costs for the children of St. Basil, a child car institution located within the boundaries of the school district and housed primarily Greek Orthodox children whose parents were unable to care for them due to certain circumstances. The court concluded that the Education Law specified that children living in such institutions were not deemed residents of the school district in which the institution was located purely by reason of their presence in the institution; the issuance of a license to operate a child care institution did not change the residence of the children living there; and there is nothing to suggest that the Legislature intended the local school district to bear the entire financial burden for those children living in a child care institution. Therefore, the court held that a school district was not obligated to provide a tuition-free education to those children determined to be nonresidents of the school district. View "Board of Educ. of the Garrison Union Free School Dist. v Greek Archdiocese Inst. of St. Basil" on Justia Law

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Respondent, a 36-year-old tenured high school teacher, was the subject of disciplinary charges pursuant to Education Law 3020-a as a result of her improper conduct with respect to a 15-year-old male student. Petitioner commenced this proceeding pursuant to CPLR 7511 to vacate the arbitration award, arguing that the penalty imposed was irrational and contrary to the public policy of protecting children. The court held that the arbitration award did not violate public policy where the award, on it's face, was neither prohibited by statute nor common law. The court also held that the award was not arbitrary, capricious, or irrational where the hearing officer engaged in thorough analysis of the facts and circumstances, evaluated respondent's credibility, and arrived at a reasoned conclusion that a 90-day suspension and reassignment was the appropriate penalty. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed. View "City School Dist. of the City of New York v McGraham" on Justia Law