New York, NY – The parent plaintiffs in the Wright v. New York case filed new submissions in court this week, pushing to keep the case moving forward despite repeated delay tactics by the defendants. The case has been pending for four years, with plaintiff victories at each stage.
“When this case was filed, my son was just starting elementary school. Now he is graduating and will be starting middle school in the fall. All we are asking is for our day in court. Justice delayed is justice denied,” said Nina Doster, a mother from Queens and plaintiff in Wright v. New York.
“In its 2015 decision, this trial court said it would ‘not close the courthouse door to parents and children with viable constitutional rights.’ Since that time, the viability of the Wright parents and children’s rights has been affirmed by the higher court, but the plaintiffs are still waiting for the litigation to move forward. To open the courthouse door in a meaningful way, the defendants’ delay efforts must be rejected. The defendants will not be harmed by litigating the case on the merits, but make no mistake – if this delay continues, the harm to New York public school children will continue.” said Alissa Bernstein, Executive Director of Partnership for Educational Justice.
On June 5, 2018, the defendants filed motions in the trial court to stay further proceedings in the case until their request for a further appeal has been decided. If approved, this could prevent the case from proceeding to litigation on the merits for even longer.
Since the defendants filed their appeal to the intermediate appellate court in 2015, the case has been stayed that entire time. After the plaintiffs won the appeal, the parties returned to the trial court. Now, the defendants are seeking to again have a stay put in place to further delay the case from being litigated on the merits.
The plaintiffs argue that the court should reject the defendants’ request for a further stay in its entirety. However, the plaintiffs also argue that if the court believes a stay is warranted at this time, only a limited stay should be granted, and at the very least the defendants should be required to answer the complaint – that has been pending for four years – and that the parties should begin moving forward with fact discovery while the appellate proceedings are pending. Doing so would at least allow the less costly aspects of discovery to get underway while we await the appeals court’s decision. The plaintiffs’ filing in opposition can be found here.
The Wright v. New York case was first filed in 2014, when nine families from across the state brought suit against the State of New York and others, claiming that teacher tenure, dismissal, and quality-blind layoff laws deprive New York children of their right to a sound basic education as guaranteed under the New York State Constitution.
About Partnership for Educational Justice (PEJ)
PEJ pursues educational equity through legal action to improve the quality of public schools. PEJ utilizes a variety of legal actions to achieve its mission, including pursuing impact litigation, amicus brief filings, Freedom of Information Act requests, and other law-related avenues that seek to achieve meaningful reforms of education laws or policies that fail to prioritize students’ rights. PEJ is an affiliate of the national education nonprofit 50CAN: 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now, which advocates at the local level for a high-quality education for all kids, regardless of their address.