University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Tuyizere v. Utica City School District Board of Education IM-NY-0052
Docket / Court 6:15-cv-00488-DNH-TWD ( N.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Immigration
Public Benefits / Government Services
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
In early 2015, six refugees filed this class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York (Judge David Hurd). The plaintiffs sued the Utica School District under the Declaratory Relief Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201 and 2202, claiming violations of the Equal Educational ... read more >
In early 2015, six refugees filed this class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York (Judge David Hurd). The plaintiffs sued the Utica School District under the Declaratory Relief Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201 and 2202, claiming violations of the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974, 20 U.S.C § 1703; Section 601 of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.; New York Education Law § 3202(1); the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause; the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause; and the New York State Constitution’s Due Process Clause.

The plaintiffs, represented by the New York Civil Liberties Union, alleged that the defendants consistently denied Utica residents between the ages of 17 and 20 who were limited English proficient (LEP) and immigrants access to educational opportunity. Defendants diverted this largely refugee population to alternative education programs rather than allowing them to enroll at the only public high school in Utica. The alternative education programs provided either only English as a Second Language (ESL) classes or a combination of ESL and GED classes, both of which provided a substantially inferior education to normal high school courses. When students inquired as to the reason for the diversion, defendants indicated that the students were too old to enroll in the high school. In fact, under New York law, individuals have a right to attend high school until they reach age 21. The plaintiffs sued for declaratory and injunctive relief.

The case was litigated for several months, and after mandatory mediation did not result in a settlement, litigation continued until early 2016 when the parties commenced settlement negotiations.

On June 3, 2016, Judge Hurd ordered a consent decree stipulating the terms of the settlement between the parties. The terms included that the defendants were to provide any student between ages 17 and 20 with the opportunity to attend the public high school, while taking steps to overcome language barriers students may face. Defendants were to also train all Utica City School District employees on the enrollment process for LEP students, and take efforts to inform the community that all students between ages 17 and 20 can enroll at the public high school. The consent decree is set to expire on June 3, 2020.

The case is currently still open in order to ensure enforcement of the consent decree.

Virginia Weeks - 09/29/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Reporting
Required disclosure
Training
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Discrimination-basis
Immigration status
Language discrimination
General
Classification / placement
Education
Language/ethnic/minority needs
Pattern or Practice
School/University policies
Immigration
Constitutional rights
Refugees
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.
Defendant(s) Utica City School District
Utica School District Board of Education
Plaintiff Description Refugees living in Utica, NY between the ages of 17 and 21
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2016 - 2020
Case Closing Year 2016
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Threats to the Future of the Immigration Class Action
Washington University Journal of Law and Policy
By: Jill E. Family (Widener University School of Law)
Citation: 27 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 71 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
6:15−cv−00488−DNH−TWD (N.D.N.Y.) 08/04/2016
IM-NY-0052-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Amended Class Action Complaint 04/27/2015
IM-NY-0052-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Third Party Complaint 05/19/2015
IM-NY-0052-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Decree 06/03/2016
IM-NY-0052-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation and [Proposed] Order Concerning Attorneys' Fees and Costs 08/04/2016
IM-NY-0052-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Dancks, Therese Wiley (N.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate]
IM-NY-0052-9000
Hurd, David N. (N.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate]
IM-NY-0052-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Desgranges, Philip L. (New York)
IM-NY-0052-0001 | IM-NY-0052-0003 | IM-NY-0052-0004 | IM-NY-0052-9000
Eisenberg, Arthur (New York)
IM-NY-0052-0001 | IM-NY-0052-0003 | IM-NY-0052-0004 | IM-NY-0052-9000
Karteron, Alexis (New York)
IM-NY-0052-0001 | IM-NY-0052-0003 | IM-NY-0052-9000
Young, Samuel C (New York)
IM-NY-0052-0001 | IM-NY-0052-0003 | IM-NY-0052-0004 | IM-NY-0052-9000
Young, Susan M. (New York)
IM-NY-0052-0001 | IM-NY-0052-0003 | IM-NY-0052-0004 | IM-NY-0052-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Alweis, Kenneth M. (New York)
IM-NY-0052-0003 | IM-NY-0052-9000
Apter, Julie Pasquariello (New York)
IM-NY-0052-0003 | IM-NY-0052-9000
Gerace, Donald R. (New York)
IM-NY-0052-0002 | IM-NY-0052-0003 | IM-NY-0052-0004 | IM-NY-0052-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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