University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Pratt v. Indian River Cent. Sch. Dist. ED-NY-0009
Docket / Court 7:09-cv-00411 ( N.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Education
Attorney Organization Lambda Legal
Case Summary
On April 8, 2009, the plaintiffs, a student discriminated against and harassed based on his sex and sexual orientation and his sister who tried to form a gay-straight student alliance at their high school, brought a suit against Indian River Central School District, the District Board of Education, ... read more >
On April 8, 2009, the plaintiffs, a student discriminated against and harassed based on his sex and sexual orientation and his sister who tried to form a gay-straight student alliance at their high school, brought a suit against Indian River Central School District, the District Board of Education, and a number of individual administrative officials, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York (Judge Glenn T. Suddaby). The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel and Lambda Legal, sought a declaratory judgment, permanent injunctive relief, a jury trial, and nominal, compensatory, and punitive damages due to the defendants' viewpoint and content-based discrimination under the Equal Access Act, 20 U.S.C. § 4071, et seq. and freedom of speech and association under the First Amendment, denial of equal protection due to sex and sexual orientation under the Fourteenth Amendment, sex discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, U.S.C. § 1681, et seq., and violation of New York law.

Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that from September 1993 until January 2004, the defendants were deliberately indifferent and contributed to one of the plaintiff's severe, pervasive harassment based on his sex and sexual orientation, depriving him of equal access to educational programs and causing him to drop out of high school due to the emotional and physical harms he suffered. The plaintiffs also claimed that the defendant repeatedly denied students, including the plaintiffs themselves, permission to form a gay-straight student alliance in violation of their rights under the Equal Access Act and the First Amendment.

On August 13, 2010, the United States moved to participate as amicus curiae, as the suit involved Title IX and Equal Protection claims based on sex. The motion was approved on December 6, 2010. On March 29, 2011, the Court granted in part and denied in part the defendants' motion for summary judgment and motion to dismiss. See Pratt v. Indian River Cent. Sch. Dist., 803 F. Supp. 2d 135, 154 (N.D. N.Y. 2011). The Court dismissed two of the plaintiffs' New York law claims and the plaintiffs' claim for punitive damages against the School District, but left the rest of the claims standing against the defendants. See id.

The parties reached a private settlement agreement, which the Court recognized on June 21, 2013, and dismissed the action with prejudice on August 8, 2013. The settlement agreement required the District to: retain a consultant to advise them on how to better handle student harassment, share information about student bullying across the schools in the District, and follow certain guidelines set out in the agreement. See Lambda Legal, Lambda Legal Clients and Indian River Central School District Settle Antigay Harassment Lawsuit, Lambda Legal (August 8, 2013), http://www.lambdalegal.org/blog/pratt-v-indian-river-central-school-district-settlement.

Stella Cernak - 03/30/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Goals and Timekeeping
Hire
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Discrimination-basis
Gender identity
Sex discrimination
Sexual orientatation
General
Communication skills
Failure to discipline
Failure to train
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Record-keeping
Records Disclosure
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
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
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Indian River Central School District
Plaintiff Description students
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Lambda Legal
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration not on record
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)
7:09−cv−00411 (N.D.N.Y.) 08/08/2013
ED-NY-0009-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 04/08/2009
ED-NY-0009-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Attorney Declaration 06/12/2009
ED-NY-0009-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Affidavit of James Kettrick 06/12/2009
ED-NY-0009-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Statement of Material Facts 06/12/2009
ED-NY-0009-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint 02/18/2010
ED-NY-0009-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
United States Motion for Leave to Participate as Amicus Curiae 08/13/2010
ED-NY-0009-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum-Decision & Order 03/29/2011 (803 F.Supp.2d 135) (N.D.N.Y.)
ED-NY-0009-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judgment Dismissing Action By Reason of Settlement 06/21/2013 (N.D.N.Y.)
ED-NY-0009-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation of Dismissal With Prejudice 08/08/2013 (N.D.N.Y.)
ED-NY-0009-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Dancks, Therese Wiley (N.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate]
ED-NY-0009-9000
Suddaby, Glenn T. (N.D.N.Y.)
ED-NY-0009-0004 | ED-NY-0009-0005 | ED-NY-0009-0006 | ED-NY-0009-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chanda, Sudwiti (New York)
ED-NY-0009-0001 | ED-NY-0009-9000
Gorenberg, Hayley J. (New York)
ED-NY-0009-0001 | ED-NY-0009-0002 | ED-NY-0009-9000
Gretch, Robert A. (New York)
ED-NY-0009-9000
Humann, Adam T. (New York)
ED-NY-0009-0001 | ED-NY-0009-0002 | ED-NY-0009-0005 | ED-NY-0009-9000
Kavey, Michael (New York)
ED-NY-0009-0001 | ED-NY-0009-0002 | ED-NY-0009-9000
Klugman, Maura M (New York)
ED-NY-0009-0002 | ED-NY-0009-9000
Kolod, Alexandra P. (New York)
ED-NY-0009-9000
LeCointe-Cephas, Lisa V. (New York)
ED-NY-0009-9000
Reznik, Victoria (New York)
ED-NY-0009-9000
Ude, Thomas W. Jr. (New York)
ED-NY-0009-0002 | ED-NY-0009-0005 | ED-NY-0009-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Georgiady, Bryan N. (New York)
ED-NY-0009-9000
Livolsi, Michael J. (New York)
ED-NY-0009-9000
Miller, Frank W. (New York)
ED-NY-0009-0007 | ED-NY-0009-0009 | ED-NY-0009-9000
Spagnoli, Charles C. (New York)
ED-NY-0009-0005 | ED-NY-0009-9000
Symons, Charles E. (New York)
ED-NY-0009-9000
Other Lawyers Awad, Christopher S. (District of Columbia)
ED-NY-0009-0003
Berman, Amy I. (District of Columbia)
ED-NY-0009-0003
Hartunian, Richard (New York)
ED-NY-0009-0003
Juvvadi, Krishna K. (District of Columbia)
ED-NY-0009-0003
Larkin, William F. (New York)
ED-NY-0009-9000
McCarthy, Emily H. (District of Columbia)
ED-NY-0009-0003
Pease, William H. (New York)
ED-NY-0009-9000
Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)
ED-NY-0009-0003

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