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Case Name Methelus v. School Board of Collier County, Florida IM-FL-0024
Docket / Court 2:16-cv-00379-SPC-MRM ( M.D. Fla. )
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection DOJ Civil Rights Division Statements of Interest
Attorney Organization Southern Poverty Law Center
Case Summary
On May 18, 2016, a group of parents and guardians of noncitizen children who had recently arrived in the United States filed this class action suit against the School Board of Collier County, Florida. The claim was filed in the U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida. The plaintiffs alleged ... read more >
On May 18, 2016, a group of parents and guardians of noncitizen children who had recently arrived in the United States filed this class action suit against the School Board of Collier County, Florida. The claim was filed in the U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida. The plaintiffs alleged that the noncitizen children were systematically excluded from enrolling in the local public high school because they did not speak English fluently. Instead, plaintiffs claimed that the County was funneling these students into the local technical college, which does not provide instruction in basic subject areas or provide credit towards a high school diploma. Plaintiffs sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Specifically, the complaint alleged that the School Board’s actions violated the students’ fourteenth amendment rights to equal protection and due process, as well as violated the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Opportunities Act of 1974. The complaint also alleged that the School Board violated the Florida Educational Equity Act. The plaintiffs were represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

As a part of the suit, plaintiffs sought class certification. The complaint defined the class as, “all recently-arrived, foreign-born, English Language Learner (ELL) students ages fifteen (15) and older who, after May 18, 2012, resided or will reside in Collier County, sought or will seek to enroll in a Collier County public school, and were or will be denied enrollment by the Defendants.”

On July 21, 2016, Judge Mac. R. McCoy denied without prejudice the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification. In response, on August 8, 2016, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief. The amended complaint sought immediate relief to plaintiff children and similarly situated students, including an injunction requiring the School Board to enroll in school all English Language Learners identified in the class.

On September 9, 2016, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint. On September 26, 2016 the United States filed a Statement of Interest, arguing that the issue of providing high-quality education to English Language Learners was a matter of critical national importance. The Statement of Interest supported the plaintiffs’ claims and asked that the court deny defendants’ motion to dismiss. On December 5, 2016, the defendants responded to the Statement of Interest. On December 12, 2016, Judge McCoy granted plaintiffs leave to respond to the the defendants’ response.

This case is ongoing.

Jamie Kessler - 01/30/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Recordkeeping
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Discrimination-basis
Immigration status
Language discrimination
General
Education
Juveniles
Language/ethnic/minority needs
School/University policies
Language
Spanish
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
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) The School Board Of Collier County, Florida
Plaintiff Description Class: all recently-arrived, foreign-born, English Language Learner (ELL) students ages fifteen (15) and older who, after May 18, 2012, resided or will reside in Collier County, sought or will seek to enroll in a Collier County public school, and were or will be denied enrollment by the Defendants.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Southern Poverty Law Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
2:16−cv−00379−SPC−MRM (M.D. Fla.)
IM-FL-0024-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/09/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-FL-0024-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/18/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Report and Recommendation [ECF# 26]
IM-FL-0024-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/21/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and for Damages [ECF# 30]
IM-FL-0024-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/08/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Interest of the United States [ECF# 38]
IM-FL-0024-0003.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 09/26/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Chappell, Sheri Polster (M.D. Fla.)
IM-FL-0024-9000
McCoy, Mac R. Court not on record [Magistrate]
IM-FL-0024-0004
Plaintiff's Lawyers Galloni, Tania (Florida)
IM-FL-0024-0001 | IM-FL-0024-0002 | IM-FL-0024-9000
Lapointe, Michelle R. (Georgia)
IM-FL-0024-0002 | IM-FL-0024-9000
Wallace, Jessica Zagier (Florida)
IM-FL-0024-0001 | IM-FL-0024-0002 | IM-FL-0024-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Fishbane, Jonathan D. (Florida)
IM-FL-0024-9000
Fox, James Donald (Florida)
IM-FL-0024-9000
Other Lawyers Bentley, A. Lee III (Florida)
IM-FL-0024-0003
Gupta, Vanita (District of Columbia)
IM-FL-0024-0003
Hill, Eve L. (District of Columbia)
IM-FL-0024-0003
McCarthy, Emily H. (District of Columbia)
IM-FL-0024-0003
Medina, Anna Maria (District of Columbia)
IM-FL-0024-0003 | IM-FL-0024-9000
Pettis, Yohance Asim (Florida)
IM-FL-0024-0003 | IM-FL-0024-9000
Simons, Shaheena S. (District of Columbia)
IM-FL-0024-0003
Stoneman, Christine (District of Columbia)
IM-FL-0024-0003

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