The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wexler, District Judge.
This action was commenced on behalf of a group of students in
the Central Islip Union Free School District (the "District" or
the "School District") against the District, the State of New
York (the "State" or "New York"), Richard Mills, the New York
State Commissioner of Education ("Commissioner Mills") and
George E. Pataki, the Governor of the State of New York
("Governor Pataki"). Plaintiffs have settled their claims
against the School District. Accordingly, the defendants that
remain are the State of New York, Commissioner Mills and
Governor Pataki (collectively the "State Defendants"). Presently
before the court is the motion of the State Defendants to
dismiss the remaining claims as presently set forth in
Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint (the "Complaint").
Plaintiffs style this case as a class action and describe the
members of the class as current and former students attending
school within the School District who were born between December
31, 1975 and January 1, 1990, and were classified as students
with disabilities by the Central Islip Committee on Special
Education as of October 10, 1996.
Federal claims are asserted pursuant to: (1) the Individuals
with Disabilities in Education Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1400-1485 (the
"IDEA"); (2) Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act,
29 U.S.C. § 794 ("Section 504") and (3) 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983").
Plaintiffs assert a state law claim pursuant to the New York
State Education Law §§ 4401-4410 (the "State Education Law").
Plaintiffs' claims detail several alleged failures of the
School District in their administration of special education
programs. It is alleged, inter alia, that the District failed
to: (1) timely forward referrals to the Committee on Special
Education; (2) properly evaluate special education students; (3)
include necessary information on Individualized Education Plans;
(4) retain certified teachers; (5) follow due process and
impartial hearing procedures; (6) properly group students and
(7) provide a guidance program for children in grades
kindergarten through six.
The factual basis for the Plaintiffs' claims against the State
Defendants focus on these defendants' alleged failure to monitor
and insure compliance by the School District with the laws
governing the education of students with disabilities.
II. The Settlement with the School District
In November of 2000, Plaintiffs settled their claims with the
School District (the "Settlement"). The Settlement provides for
the payment of damages in the amount of $735,000 along with
detailed injunctive relief. Among the many requirements of the
• the identification by the School District of
needed personnel on a short and long term basis;
• the training of school personnel regarding the
administration of the IDEA, Section 504, the
Americans With Disabilities Act and the State
• administrative reorganization of the District
Committee on Special Education;
• implementation of a plan for providing students
with an appropriate education in the least
• particularized percentages to be reached regarding
the number of students who may be classified as in
need of special education services, those who must
be educated in separate settings and particularities
regarding time spent outside of the regular
The parties to the Settlement agreed to appointment of a
Special Master for the purpose of monitoring and ensuring
compliance with all injunctive relief.
Despite the broad nature of injunctive relief set forth in the
Settlement, Plaintiffs continue to press their claims against
the State Defendants. As noted above, the State Defendants are
charged in the Complaint with failing to monitor and enforce the
School District's compliance with laws regarding the education
of children with disabilities. Plaintiffs state that each
violation by the School District has "existed and/or continues
to exist with the knowledge and acquiescence of the State
The Complaint seeks a declaration that the State Defendants
have failed to ensure that the School District complied with the
IDEA, the Rehabilitation Act and the New York State Education
Law. In addition to alleging violation of these statutes,
Plaintiffs seek to enforce compliance with the federal statutes
by way of an action pursuant to Section 1983.
As part of their claim for injunctive relief, Plaintiffs ask
the court to direct the State Defendants to identify those
students who have not been provided appropriate special
education and related services and to order the State Defendants
to provide the education required by law. Plaintiffs also seek
an order directing the State Defendants to design and submit a
plan for court approval that assures that children with
disabilities residing in the School District are timely and
appropriately evaluated and, if necessary, provided appropriate
special education and related services. This request seeks an
order requiring, inter alia, the School District to educate
students in the least restrictive environment, establish
adequate transition services and to group children according to
their needs. Appointment of a Special Master is sought to
monitor the State Defendants' implementation of any plan
required by an order of this court.
By way of damages, Plaintiffs seek compensatory special
education and related services pursuant to the IDEA and Section
504. They also seek compensatory money damages pursuant to
Section 504 and Section 1983. Finally, Plaintiffs seek, along
with the costs and disbursements associated with the litigation,
an award of reasonable attorneys' fees.
V. The State Defendants' Motion to Dismiss
The State Defendants attack Plaintiffs' claims on various
fronts. Complete dismissal of the complaint is sought on the
ground that Plaintiffs have failed, as required by the IDEA, to
exhaust their administrative remedies. The State Defendants also
seek complete dismissal by comparing the relief afforded by the
Settlement to the relief now sought from the State Defendants.
Specifically, it is argued that Plaintiffs are now obtaining
from the ...