University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
view search results
page permalink
Case Name S.S. v. Springfield ED-MA-0004
Docket / Court 3:14-cv-30116 ( D. Mass. )
State/Territory Massachusetts
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Education
Special Collection Olmstead Cases
Attorney Organization Bazelon Center
Case Summary
On June 27, 2014, the plaintiffs, a mentally disabled student and his mother, joined by the Parent/Professional Advocacy League, filed this class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The plaintiffs brought suit under the Americans with Disabilities ... read more >
On June 27, 2014, the plaintiffs, a mentally disabled student and his mother, joined by the Parent/Professional Advocacy League, filed this class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The plaintiffs brought suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) against the City of Springfield, the Mayor of the City of Springfield, the Springfield Public Schools and the Superintendent of Springfield Public Schools. The complaint alleged that the defendants operated a discriminatory public school system that consigned hundreds of children with mental health disabilities to the Public Day School. The plaintiffs sought injunctive and declaratory relief for ongoing violations of the ADA, including an order that the defendants provide the student plaintiff and the plaintiff class with school-based behavior services in neighborhood schools to afford them an equal educational opportunity and enable them to be educated in neighborhood schools with their peers without a disability.

On July 28, 2014, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The defendants asserted that the complaint did not meet Federal pleading standards and elements of the plaintiff’s ADA claim could not be proved. On August 14, 2014, The United States of America filed an amicus brief on the proceedings in support of the plaintiff. And on February 11, 2015, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, modifying their pleading to add Disability Law Center as a plaintiff in the case.

Judge Mark G. Mastroianni held a hearing on the defendants’ motion to dismiss on May 13, 2015. He denied the motion on November 19, 2015, ruling that, because plaintiffs pled sufficient facts to make a showing as to each element of their ADA claim, dismissal for failure to state a claim was inappropriate. 146 F.Supp.3d 414.

On October 16, 2015, the plaintiffs filed a motion for class certification to certify a class consisting of all students with a mental health disability who were or had been enrolled in Springfield Public Day School who were not being educated in a Springfield neighborhood school. Two months later, Judge Mastroianni denied the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification. The denial turned on the fact that although the named plaintiff had exhausted his administrative remedies under ADA and IDEA prior to litigation (the ADA ruling was appealed), the proposed members of the class had not. The Court held: "Exhaustion is not only required before a party can litigate issues arising under the IDEA; a litigating party must also exhaust before bringing suit “pursuant to a different statute so long as the party is seeking relief that is available under subchapter II of IDEA.”

On December 30, 2016, the plaintiffs filed an appeal on the District Court’s denial of class certification to the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

On April 8, 2017, the City of Springfield moved for judgment on the pleadings. This motion challenged that the organization plaintiffs—the Disability Law Center, the Massachusetts advocacy system, Parent/Professional Advocacy League—did not have standing to sue. After a few months, the court stayed discovery until the resolution of the defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings and the First Circuit's resolution of the plaintiff's class certification appeal. But on November 30, 2017, the parties agreed to dismiss the claims solely relating to S.S. as an individual, one of the named plaintiffs.

On March 8, 2018 the parties requested that the case be transferred to a court sponsored mediator for resolution. The court granted this motion and assigned the case to magistrate judge Neiman. On June 1, the magistrate judge found in favor of the defendants. Although the plaintiffs had associational standing, they had failed to exhaust the administrative remedies requires by the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act. 332 F.Supp.3d 367.

On August 8, the plaintiffs appealed this judgment to the First Circuit, which held oral arguments in June 2019. The case is ongoing.

Eric Wendorf - 10/06/2017
Keagan Potts - 03/19/2019


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Disability
Mental impairment
General
Classification / placement
Individualized planning
Special education
Medical/Mental Health
Intellectual/Developmental Disability
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Indv. w/ Disab. Educ. Act (IDEA), Educ. of All Handcpd. Children Act , 20 U.S.C. § 1400
Defendant(s) Springfield, Massachusetts
Plaintiff Description A mentally disabled student and his mother, joined by the Parent/Professional Advocacy League and Disability Law Center.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Bazelon Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2014
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  S.S. v. Springfield Public Schools
http://www.bazelon.org/springfield-massachusetts-school-system/
Date: 2017
By: The Bazelon Center
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
3:14-cv-30116 (D. Mass.)
ED-MA-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/15/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
ED-MA-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/27/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 33]
ED-MA-0004-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/28/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Statement of Interest of the United States of America [ECF# 40] (2014 WL 11209951)
ED-MA-0004-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/27/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 55]
ED-MA-0004-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/11/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Supplemental Memorandum in Law in Support of Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 157]
ED-MA-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/15/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Statement in Support of Class Certification [ECF# 158-1]
ED-MA-0004-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/15/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order On Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification and Defendants' Motions to Exclude or Limit and for Evidentiary Hearing [ECF# 191] (318 F.R.D. 210) (D. Mass.)
ED-MA-0004-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/16/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order on Defendants' Motion For Judgment [ECF# 265] (332 F.Supp.3d 367) (D. Mass.)
ED-MA-0004-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/19/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Mastroianni, Mark Gerald (D. Mass.) show/hide docs
ED-MA-0004-0006 | ED-MA-0004-0008 | ED-MA-0004-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Barkoff, Alison (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
ED-MA-0004-9000
Blanchard, Michael D. (Connecticut) show/hide docs
ED-MA-0004-0002 | ED-MA-0004-9000
Bohenek, Matthew T. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
ED-MA-0004-0002 | ED-MA-0004-9000
Bresnahan, Elizabeth M. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
ED-MA-0004-0002 | ED-MA-0004-9000
Burnim, Ira Abraham (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
ED-MA-0004-0001 | ED-MA-0004-0002 | ED-MA-0004-0007 | ED-MA-0004-9000
Delbasty, Jacqueline S. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
ED-MA-0004-0001 | ED-MA-0004-0002 | ED-MA-0004-0007 | ED-MA-0004-9000
Dorfman, Deborah A. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
ED-MA-0004-0001 | ED-MA-0004-0002 | ED-MA-0004-0007 | ED-MA-0004-9000
Fleischner, Robert D. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
ED-MA-0004-0001 | ED-MA-0004-0002 | ED-MA-0004-0007 | ED-MA-0004-9000
Goldman, Jeff (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
ED-MA-0004-0002 | ED-MA-0004-9000
Head, Carol E. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
ED-MA-0004-0001 | ED-MA-0004-0007 | ED-MA-0004-9000
Mathis, Jennifer (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
ED-MA-0004-0001 | ED-MA-0004-0002 | ED-MA-0004-0007 | ED-MA-0004-9000
McDonnell, Robert E. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
ED-MA-0004-0001 | ED-MA-0004-0007 | ED-MA-0004-9000
Miller, Samuel R. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
ED-MA-0004-0001 | ED-MA-0004-0007 | ED-MA-0004-9000
Sartori, Elizabeth M. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
ED-MA-0004-0001 | ED-MA-0004-0007
Staub, Sandra J. (Connecticut) show/hide docs
ED-MA-0004-0002 | ED-MA-0004-9000
Defendant's Lawyers deSousa, Lisa C. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
ED-MA-0004-9000
Kennedy, Mary J. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
ED-MA-0004-9000
MacDonald, Mary Ellen (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
ED-MA-0004-9000
Manganelli, Mary Ellen (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
ED-MA-0004-9000
Phelps, Melinda M. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
ED-MA-0004-9000
Pikula, Edward (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
ED-MA-0004-0004 | ED-MA-0004-9000
Wilson, Anthony I. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
ED-MA-0004-9000
Other Lawyers Goodwin, Karen L. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
ED-MA-0004-9000
Langford, Anne E. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
ED-MA-0004-9000
Leung, Michelle (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
ED-MA-0004-9000

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
view search results
page permalink

- top of page -