University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Eccleston v. Pine Bush Central School District ED-NY-0006
Docket / Court 7:12-cv-02303-KMK-PED ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Education
Case Summary
On March 28th, 2012, five former and current Jewish students filed a lawsuit in the District Court for the Southern District of New York under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against the Pine Bush School District. The plaintiffs, represented by public interest counsel, asked the court for declarative ... read more >
On March 28th, 2012, five former and current Jewish students filed a lawsuit in the District Court for the Southern District of New York under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against the Pine Bush School District. The plaintiffs, represented by public interest counsel, asked the court for declarative judgment, injunctive relief and damages, claiming that the school district had responded with deliberate indifference to the rampant anti-Semitic discrimination and harassment directed at the plaintiffs.

Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the students had been harassed from elementary school to high school, and had been physically and psychologically injured. These included anti-Semitic slurs, anti-Semitic graffiti, Hitler salutes and celebrations, direct threats of harm, and physical attacks. The plaintiffs claimed that the school district has been made repeatedly aware of the various acts of discrimination and has consistently ignored, minimized or dismissed the harassment.

The New York Times reported on the case on November 8th, 2013.

On December 6th, 2013, the school district moved for summary judgment. Judge Kenneth M. Karas heard oral arguments from both parties regarding summary judgment on July 14th. On November 3, 2014, the court granted in part and denied in part the motion for summary judgment. The court granted the motion to dismiss the plaintiff's claims against the individuals, holding they were redundant with the claims against the school district. The rest of the motion was denied. The defendants appealed the partial denial of summary judgment on November 24, 2014. On May 1, 2015, a Second Circuit panel dismissed the appeal, determining it lacked jurisdiction because a final order had not been issued by the district court per 28 U.S.C. § 1291.

On July 10, 2015, Judge Karas approved the parties' settlement agreement. Total damages amounted to $4.48 million: $3 million for compensatory damages and $1.48 million for attorney's fees. The injunctive part of the settlement required Pine Bush School District to revise and install policies to prevent or swiftly respond to incidents of anti-Semitism [see Exhibit 1 of the Settlement Agreement]. Additional measures included the continuance of a "No Place for Hate Committee," curriculum revisions to promote diversity and prevent bullying, professional development, and the appointment of an internal Title VI Coordinator.

Kathryn DeLong - 09/23/2014
Dan Hofman - 04/06/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
Religion discrimination
Language
Other
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Title IV, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000c et seq.
Defendant(s) Pine Bush School District
Plaintiff Description Five current and former Jewish students in the Pine Bush Central School District.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Courts and Kids: Pursuing Educational Equity Through the State Courts
By: Michael Rebell (Columbia University, and Campaign for Educational Equity)
Citation: (University of Chicago Press, 2009)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Links Swastikas, Slurs and Torment in Town’s Schools
New York Times
Posted: Nov. 08, 2013
By: Benjamin Weiser
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
7:12-cv-02303-KMK (S.D.N.Y.) 01/05/2016
ED-NY-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 03/28/2012
ED-NY-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint 01/07/2013
ED-NY-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 01/10/2013 (S.D.N.Y.)
ED-NY-0006-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order / Opinion [defendant's motions denied in part and granted in part] 11/03/2014 (S.D.N.Y.)
ED-NY-0006-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order: Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is granted in part and denied in part 11/03/2014 (S.D.N.Y.)
ED-NY-0006-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Appeal [Second Circuit] 11/24/2014
ED-NY-0006-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Mandate [motion to dismiss appeal denied] 05/01/2015
ED-NY-0006-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation of Settlement, Settlement Agreement, and General Release 06/29/2015
ED-NY-0006-0010.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 07/06/2015 (S.D.N.Y.)
ED-NY-0006-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Approval of Settlement Agreement, trusts approved] 07/10/2015 (S.D.N.Y.)
ED-NY-0006-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Davison, Paul E Court not on record [Magistrate]
ED-NY-0006-0003 | ED-NY-0006-0004
Karas, Kenneth M. (S.D.N.Y.)
ED-NY-0006-0007 | ED-NY-0006-0008 | ED-NY-0006-0009 | ED-NY-0006-9000
Wolfe, Catherine O'Hagan Court not on record
ED-NY-0006-0005
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Fraser Wilson, Ogilvie Andrew (New York)
ED-NY-0006-0004 | ED-NY-0006-0010 | ED-NY-0006-9000
Kimmel, Adele P. (District of Columbia)
ED-NY-0006-0002 | ED-NY-0006-0004 | ED-NY-0006-0010 | ED-NY-0006-9000
Maazel, Ilann M. (New York)
ED-NY-0006-0010 | ED-NY-0006-9000
Meth, Michael David (New York)
ED-NY-0006-0001 | ED-NY-0006-0002 | ED-NY-0006-0004 | ED-NY-0006-0010 | ED-NY-0006-9000
Salzman, Zoe Antonia (New York)
ED-NY-0006-0010 | ED-NY-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Gilbride, Joan M. (New York)
ED-NY-0006-0004 | ED-NY-0006-0006 | ED-NY-0006-0010 | ED-NY-0006-9000
Karabel, Aron Zwi (New York)
ED-NY-0006-0010 | ED-NY-0006-9000
Sneed, Maree F. (District of Columbia)
ED-NY-0006-0004 | ED-NY-0006-0006 | ED-NY-0006-0010 | ED-NY-0006-9000
Wong-Pan, Laura (New York)
ED-NY-0006-0004 | ED-NY-0006-0006 | ED-NY-0006-0010 | ED-NY-0006-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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