University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Gary B. v. Snyder ED-MI-0006
Docket / Court 2:16-cv-13292-SJM-APP ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Education
Case Summary
On September 13, 2016, seven school children, represented by a California public interest law firm, filed a class action suit against Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and state education officials in the Eastern District of Michigan under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs alleged that the state denied ... read more >
On September 13, 2016, seven school children, represented by a California public interest law firm, filed a class action suit against Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and state education officials in the Eastern District of Michigan under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs alleged that the state denied students their constitutional right to literacy.

The plaintiffs are students at five of Detroit’s lowest performing schools: Hamilton Academy, Experiencia Preparatory Academy, Medicine and Community Health Academy at Cody, Osborn Academy of Mathematics, and Osborn Evergreen Academy of Design and Alternative Energy. The student proficiency rates in these schools hover near zero in core subject areas. At Hamilton, for example, 100% of the 6th graders scored below proficiency in both reading and math.

The lawsuit documents what it alleges to be pervasive conditions that deny children the opportunity to attain literacy, including lack of books, classrooms without teachers, insufficient desks, buildings plagued by vermin, unsafe facilities, and extreme temperatures.

The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants violated the Fourteenth Amendment under Due Process and Equal Protection Clause, by denying them the access to literacy, as compared to other students in Michigan, and by functionally excluding plaintiffs from Michigan’s statewide system of public education. Second, the defendants affirmatively created or increased the risk that plaintiffs would be exposed to dangerous conditions, which placed plaintiffs specifically at risk, and plaintiffs were harmed as a result, although the defendants knew or should have known their acts or omissions specifically endangered the plaintiffs. Third, the defendants intentionally discriminated against the plaintiffs, or responded with deliberate indifference, on the basis of the plaintiffs’ race. Fourth, the defendants violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when the defendants utilized criteria or methods of administration which have the effect of subjecting individuals to discrimination because of their race, color, or national origin. Fifth, the defendants sought a a judicial declaration that the defendants have violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The plaintiffs asked the court to order the State to provide relief that includes appropriate, evidence-based literacy instruction at all grade levels and to address physical school conditions that impair access to literacy.

This case is ongoing.

Soojin Cha - 10/03/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.
Defendant(s) Richard D. Snyder
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are seven school children, represented by a California public interest law firm.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Unknown
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
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 ]

Docket(s)
2:16-cv-13292 (E.D. Mich.) 09/26/2016
ED-MI-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint 09/13/2016
ED-MI-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Murphy, Stephen Joseph III (E.D. Mich.)
ED-MI-0006-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Anderson, Joshua E. (California)
ED-MI-0006-0001
Caminker, Evan H. (California)
ED-MI-0006-0001
Chemerinsky, Erwin (California)
ED-MI-0006-0001
Eidmann, Kathryn A. (California)
ED-MI-0006-0001
Flint, Tacy F. (Illinois)
ED-MI-0006-0001
Haddad, Mark E. (California)
ED-MI-0006-0001
Hartz, Alisa Louise (California)
ED-MI-0006-0001
Hudson-Price, Anne M. (California)
ED-MI-0006-0001
Kelley, Michael C. (California)
ED-MI-0006-0001
Lassar, Scott R. (Illinois)
ED-MI-0006-0001
Miller, Bruce A. (Michigan)
ED-MI-0006-0001 | ED-MI-0006-9000
Phillips, Carter G (District of Columbia)
ED-MI-0006-0001
Rosenbaum, Mark Dale (California)
ED-MI-0006-0001
Wheeler, Jennifer M. (Illinois)
ED-MI-0006-0001 | ED-MI-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bennett, Katherine J. (Michigan)
ED-MI-0006-9000
Haynes, Timothy J. (Michigan)
ED-MI-0006-9000
Smith, Joshua S (Michigan)
ED-MI-0006-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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