Teaching Profession

Vergara Legal Team Signs On To N.Y. Lawsuit

By Stephen Sawchuk — August 06, 2014 1 min read
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The legal team that litigated the Vergara v. California lawsuit is signing on to represent plaintiffs in one of the two New York lawsuits challenging teacher protections in that state.

The suit, brought by the NY Parents Union, a nonprofit group, will now be handled by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher attorneys Theodore Boutrous and Randy Mastro. Boutrous was one of the main litigators in the California suit.

Students Matter, the Menlo Park, Calif., nonprofit that helped pay for Vergara and the expensive public-relations efforts surrounding it, will be aiding the New York group.

Below, you can read the amended petition filed with the New York State Supreme Court. You’ll note that many of the same research studies that helped bolster the Vergara case are cited here. And it draws on some of the conclusions from the California judge’s ruling.

For instance, the state “affords teachers ‘super’ due process rights—an astounding array of additional rights and privileges, which are significantly greater in scope and process than due process rights—before they can be terminated for poor performance,” the complaint reads.

But there are differences, too: The lawsuit doesn’t seem to say that poor and minority students are disproportionately affected by the laws.

(This is separate from the suit filed recently by the Partnership for Educational Justice, a group headed by former news anchor Campbell Brown. The court could decide to combine the two suits, since they are so similar in thrust.)

Legal experts, we’d love to have you weigh in: What do you make of the charges? Is there anything about New York’s laws that would make them harder to challenge? (Recall what I wrote yesterday about the state-by-state nuances in teacher-tenure laws.)

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.