445 Hamilton Avenue, Suite 1102

White Plains, NY 10601

News 2018


Dismissal of Substantive Due Process Claims Following Student Fight

[Milton v Valley Stream Central High School District]


Silverman & Associates was granted summary judgment by the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, for our client, the Valley Stream Central High School District on plaintiff's Civil Rights claims, failure to protect, failure to adhere to established policy, and State claims of negligence and assault and battery.


Plaintiff was a student who was assaulted by another student  in the district while retrieving a book from his locker. We successfully argued that violations of policy or state law are not a basis for a Section 1983 claim, and the plaintiff could not show that defendant's conduct rose to the level of "egregiousness" that could sustain their claim. The Court granted summary judgment.






Second Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Civil Rights Action Arising from Child Protection Services Report

[Maco v Baldwin 3/7/2018]


Silverman & Associates represented the Baldwin Union Free School District in the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York and the United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit in a case where plaintiff claimed First Amendment Retaliation and defamation. The Second Circuit upheld the summary judgment dismissal of plaintiff's claims.


Plaintiff is a mother who brought action against the district and school officials after school officials made a report to child protective services (CPS) regarding her care of her minor daughter. Plaintiff's daughter was not permitted to participate in her school's field day as punishment for her behavior. The parents voiced disagreement with the punishment. Ten months later the daughter falsely accused her teacher of hurting her. Plaintiff brought her daughter home to discuss her behavior. She also stuck her with a belt. When the daughter returned to school that same day, she told her teacher that her mother had struck her. The teacher reached out to the nurse and on up the chain of command. A report was made to CPS.


Plaintiff brought forth her lawsuit alleging First Amendment retaliation and defamation violations stemming from the district submitting a report to CPS because plaintiff voiced disagreement of the daughter missing Field Day. Plaintiff failed to establish a First Amendment retaliation claim by showing the defendants acted against her in retaliation or chilled the exercise of her rights. Nor did the plaintiff show an inference of causation given the ten month gap between Field Day and the report to CPS. Given that the First Amendment claim failed, the Court declined to hear the state defamation claim. The District Court granted summary judgment to the district and dismissed plaintiff's claims of First Amendment retaliation and defamation. The Court of Appeals reexamined the First Amendment retaliation claim and affirmed the dismissal.






Dismissal of Defamation and Infliction of Emotional Distress Claims

[Saltarelli v Croton-Harmon Union-Free School District]


Silverman & Associates was granted dismissal by the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Westchester, for our client, the Croton-Harmon Union Free School District on plaintiff's claims of defamation and infliction of emotional distress.


Plaintiff was employed by the district as a teacher's aide. Her employment was terminated due to inappropriate comments the plaintiff made in the presence of and to students. Plaintiff brought this action alleging claims for defamation and infliction of emotional distress. Defendant successfully argued that: plaintiff was not compliant with pleading requirements, the defamation complaint did not include the required specificity, and that the intentional infliction of emotional harm claim was barred as a matter of public policy. Accordingly, the Court granted defendant's motion for dismissal.






Dismissal of Petition to Adopt a Two-Term Limit for Offices of Town Supervisor and Town Board

[Futia et al v Town of North Castle]


Silverman & Associates successfully obtained dismissal by the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Westchester on plaintiff's petition to adopt a two-term limit for the offices of Town Supervisor and Town Board. The petitioners argued that town laws provided them the authority to put forth a referendum to the electorate at a biennial or special election. The Court concluded that the petitioners could not derive the authority they required from the town laws for the referendum, and granted our motion to dismiss the petition.






Dismissal of Wrongful Death “Negligent Investigation” Claim Upheld on Appeal

[Juerss v Millbrook Central School District]


Silverman & Associates obtained a decision granting a motion to dismiss plaintiff’s claims for wrongful death in connection with a student’s suicide on the evening of the student’s suspension from school for misconduct.


As a result, the plaintiffs, as administrators of the decedent’s estate, sued the school district to recover damages for wrongful death alleging that the suicide was caused by defendant’s negligent investigation into the student misconduct as well as their negligent training of school staff in investigative procedures. Neither of the plaintiff’s claims are actionable in New York. The Appellate Division, Second Department agreed with the Supreme Court’s decision in granting a motion to dismiss the complaint.






Dismissal of Claims of Violations of New York State Human Rights Law and Civil Rights

[DC v Copiague Free School District]


Silverman & Associates was granted a motion to dismiss by the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York on plaintiff's claims of violations of the Civil Rights Act and the New York State Human Rights Law.  The claim arose from an allegedly racially charged statement made to the plaintiff by an unidentified school nurse. Defendants successfully argued that the plaintiff had neither identified nor served an individual defendant, having brought a case against an illusory “Doe” party. The plaintiff failed to present the court with a reasonable effort to discover the identity of the school nurse, and defendant's motion to dismiss was granted.






Dismissal of False Arrest and First Amendment Retaliation Claims Asserted by Student Against Teacher

[AF v. Potter et al]


Silverman & Associates obtained a dismissal of false arrest and First Amendment Retaliation claims against defendant client in decision handed down by United States District Court for the Southern District New York.


Plaintiff was an eighteen year old high school senior. She suffers from behavioral and learning disabilities, which have been diagnosed as Fragile X and Asperger’s Syndrome. She was assigned to defendant’s 11th grade English class. Defendant gives her students her email address so that they can correspond with her about class work. Plaintiff’s inability to understand social boundaries manifested in excessive verbal communication and emails between plaintiff and defendant. Defendant informed the school board and plaintiff was removed from defendant’s class. Defendant continued to receive emails from plaintiff so she contacted the town police department. Plaintiff was asked to cease communication with defendant. Plaintiff continued to email defendant, now in an angry tone, and was arrested.


Plaintiff claimed false arrest and First Amendment retaliation against our client, defendant in this action. In making the First Amendment claim Plaintiff argued that defendant was a state actor because of her position as a public school teacher. The court dismissed both claims because the defendant was not a state actor she cannot be held liable under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, which applies when someone acting at the state or local law level deprives Constitutional rights.






Second Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Discrimination Case

[Cantey v Mount Vernon City School District]


Silverman & Associates obtained a decision from the United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit granting defendants’ motion dismissing the plaintiff’s allegations of discrimination and violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


Plaintiff was an African American woman and a practicing Jehovah’s Witness who was employed by our client, the defendant, Mount Vernon School District (District) for over ten years resigned and executed a Settlement Agreement and General Release She sued the District claiming that she had been discriminated against because of her race and religious beliefs throughout the course of her employment in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We filed a motion to dismiss because plaintiff’s claims were barred by an executed Settlement Agreement and General Release. Plaintiff’s arguments that she signed the document under duress, and it was not signed knowingly and voluntarily both failed. Summary judgment was granted to defendant.






Dismissal of Complaint for Lack of Jurisdiction and Failure to State a Cause of Action

[Yvonne Frost v Dobbs Ferry Middle School]



Silverman & Associates successfully defended a school district against a parent of a middle school student who sought damages in negligence for the school allegedly interfering in plaintiff’s relationship with her son. It was undisputed that the plaintiff was served the summons and complaint solely by first class mail and plaintiff failed to serve a notice of claim on the school district prior to starting this action. The complaint was dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction and for failure to satisfy a condition precedent based on the failure to file a notice of claim.





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