New York State Supreme Court Issues Temporary Restraining Order in Brandeis High School Co-Location Litigation

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New York law firm Phillips Nizer LLP Represents Students in Fight Against NYC Department of Education Relocation Proposal of Charter Elementary School Education Department Reveals Plans to Conduct Asbestos Removal During School Term

We were stunned to learn today that the Department of Education thinks it is okay to potentially jeopardize the health of thousands of students by conducting an asbestos removal project during the school term.

Justice Carol R. Edmead of New York State Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order against the NYC Department of Education (“NYC DOE”) on May 12, 2011 in the matter of Steglich v. Board of Education of the City of New York (Supreme Court of the State of New York County of New York, Index # 104300-2011), restraining NYC DOE from performing construction at the Brandeis Educational Campus relating to the proposed co-location of the Success Academy Charter School. Phillips Nizer LLP filed suit on April 8, 2011 on behalf of students and parents from Frank McCourt High School, Global Learning Collaborative and Innovation Diploma Plus High School who oppose the proposed co-location of a charter elementary school at the Brandeis Educational Campus.

The Supreme Court opinion noted that the proposed co-location has not yet been approved by the State University of New York, and in any event would not take effect until the end of the school year. Lisa Steglich, president of the Frank McCourt High School parent-teacher association and a lead petitioner in the case, commented, “We are very gratified that the court has granted us a temporary restraining order.” Copies of the temporary restraining order and other court filings can be found at: http://www.scribd.com/my_document_collections/2963479

Marc Andrew Landis, an Upper West Side parent-activist and partner at Phillips Nizer LLP who is representing the petitioners – high school students and their parents – without charge since this is a public interest case, said, “We were stunned to learn today that the Department of Education thinks it is okay to potentially jeopardize the health of thousands of students by conducting an asbestos removal project during the school term. We are pleased that Justice Edmead agreed to temporarily restrain DOE from commencing unnecessary and expensive construction until our case is decided.”

The underlying proceeding, filed under Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules, alleges that NYC DOE failed to comply with substantive and procedural requirements set forth in the Education Law, its own Chancellor’s Regulations and state and city environmental statutes in approving the proposed co-location. The petitioners raised concerns about the loss of specialized high school facilities, concerns about protecting high school students with special needs, the waste of taxpayer monies and student safety and security as a result of the proposed co-location.

In addition to Marc Andrew Landis, the Phillips Nizer legal team includes Jon Schuyler Brooks, Paul A. Victor and Meagan A. Zapotocky. The petitioners are also supported by many Upper West Side elected officials and community leaders, including City Council Member Gail Brewer, State Assembly Members Linda Rosenthal and Daniel O’Donnell, State Senators Bill Perkins and Adriano Espaillat, Congressman Jerry Nadler and Charles Rangel, NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Community Education Council 3 and Community Board 7/Manhattan.

Supreme Court of the State of New York County of New York, Index # 104300-2011

Lisa Steglich, Ric Cherwin, et al., Petitioners, v The Board of Education of the City School District of the City of New York a/k/a The Panel for Educational Policy, The Department of Education of the City of New York, and Dennis M. Walcott, as Chancellor-Designate of the City School District, as Chancellor-Designate of the City School District of the City New York, Respondents.

About Phillips Nizer LLP:
Phillips Nizer LLP been engaged in a wide-ranging practice of domestic and international law for over 80 years. Established by world-renowned trial attorney Louis Nizer, the firm consists of lawyers who are well-respected leaders in their fields. The firm’s principal office is in New York City, with additional offices in Garden City, Long Island and Hackensack, New Jersey. To learn more about Phillips Nizer LLP, please visit: http://www.phillipsnizer.com.

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