University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name J.L. v. Mohawk Cent. Sch. Dist. ED-NY-0008
Docket / Court 6:09-cv-00943-DNH-DEP ( N.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Education
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
EEOC
Case Summary
On August 18, 2009, the plaintiff, a high school student verbally and physically harassed due to his sex and sexual orientation brought suit against Mohawk Central School District in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York (The Honorable David N. Hurd). The plaintiff, ... read more >
On August 18, 2009, the plaintiff, a high school student verbally and physically harassed due to his sex and sexual orientation brought suit against Mohawk Central School District in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York (The Honorable David N. Hurd). The plaintiff, represented by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the New York Civil Liberties Union, alleged denial of equal protection on the basis of sex and sexual orientation in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983; discrimination based on sex and sexual orientation and negligent supervision under New York state law; and sex discrimination in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. Based on these claims, the plaintiff requested a declaratory judgment, preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, attorneys' fees and costs, and compensatory, punitive, and statutory damages.

The plaintiff claimed that from 2007 to 2009, he suffered physical and emotional harms due to the defendant's deliberate indifference to a pattern of severe, persistent, and violent harassment of the plaintiff at the hands of fellow students based on his sex and sexual orientation. These physical and emotional harms also affected the plaintiff's ability to learn and caused him to leave school for two weeks at the end of the 2009 school year. The plaintiff and his parents informed school administrators and teachers of the harassment on many separate occasions, but no effective measures were taken by the school to remedy the situation.

On August 19, 2009, the plaintiff moved for a preliminary injunction. The Court issued a consent order granting the preliminary injunction on August 27, ordering the defendant to immediately put in place a number of safeguards to protect the plaintiff and to comply with school sexual harassment policies.

The United States (U.S. Attorney's Office) moved to intervene on behalf of the plaintiff in the action on January 14, 2010. The court denied the motion on March 29, 2010 as it granted the parties' stipulation and settlement agreement. Under the agreement, the defendant was required to pay the plaintiff $50,000 in addition to attorney's fees and costs ($25,000) and the cost of obtaining counseling services up until June 30, 2013. The agreement also required that the defendant retain an expert to review the defendant's policies and practices regarding discrimination and harassment, to review these procedures themselves, and to record compliance with harassment and discrimination complaints.

The case was dismissed with prejudice on April 27, 2010.

Stella Cernak - 03/15/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Goals and Timekeeping
Hire
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Preliminary relief granted
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Discrimination-basis
Gender identity
Sex discrimination
Sexual orientatation
General
Aggressive behavior
Counseling
Failure to discipline
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq.
State law
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Mohawk Central School District
Plaintiff Description A student who was harassed by peers based on his sex and sexual orientation, enabled by practices and policies of Mohawk Central School District in violation of his civil rights.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
EEOC
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
Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2010 - 2013
Case Closing Year 2013
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 Dear Colleague Letter: Athletic Activities Counted for Title IX Compliance
http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html
Posted: Sep. 17, 2008
By: United States Department of Education—Office of Civil Rights (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
6:09-cv-00943-DNH-DEP (N.D.N.Y.) 04/01/2011
ED-NY-0008-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [PACER] 08/18/2009
ED-NY-0008-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Order Granting Plaintiff's Preliminary Relief 08/27/2009 (N.D.N.Y.)
ED-NY-0008-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint [PACER] 09/10/2009
ED-NY-0008-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Entering Stipulation/Settlement Agreement 02/16/2014
ED-NY-0008-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Hurd, David N. (N.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate]
ED-NY-0008-0003 | ED-NY-0008-0004 | ED-NY-0008-9000
Peebles, David E. (N.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate]
ED-NY-0008-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Dunn, Christopher (New York)
ED-NY-0008-0001 | ED-NY-0008-0002 | ED-NY-0008-0004 | ED-NY-0008-9000
Eisenberg, Arthur (New York)
ED-NY-0008-0001 | ED-NY-0008-0002 | ED-NY-0008-0003 | ED-NY-0008-0004 | ED-NY-0008-9000
Faiella, Matthew J. (New York)
ED-NY-0008-0001 | ED-NY-0008-0002 | ED-NY-0008-0003 | ED-NY-0008-0004 | ED-NY-0008-9000
Larkin, William F. (New York)
ED-NY-0008-9000
Sanghvi, Ami T. (New York)
ED-NY-0008-0001 | ED-NY-0008-0002 | ED-NY-0008-0003 | ED-NY-0008-0004 | ED-NY-0008-9000
Shatz, Naomi R. (New York)
ED-NY-0008-0001 | ED-NY-0008-0002 | ED-NY-0008-0003 | ED-NY-0008-0004 | ED-NY-0008-9000
Stoughton, Corey (New York)
ED-NY-0008-0001 | ED-NY-0008-0002 | ED-NY-0008-0003 | ED-NY-0008-0004 | ED-NY-0008-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Lawlor, Miles G. (New York)
ED-NY-0008-0003 | ED-NY-0008-0004 | ED-NY-0008-9000
Miller, Frank W. (New York)
ED-NY-0008-0004 | ED-NY-0008-9000
Symons, Charles E. (New York)
ED-NY-0008-0004 | ED-NY-0008-9000
Wilson, Eric J. (New York)
ED-NY-0008-0003 | ED-NY-0008-0004 | ED-NY-0008-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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