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Gym Door Repairs, Inc. v. New York City Department of Education

United States District Court, Second Circuit

September 5, 2013

GYM DOOR REPAIRS, INC. and SAFEPATH SYSTEMS LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, DENNIS M. WALCOTT, as Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, NEW YORK CITY SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION AUTHORITY, THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE NEW YORK CITY SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION AUTHORITY, THE CITY OF NEW YORK, JOHN T. SHEA, as chief Executive Officer of New York City Department of Education Division of School Facilities, VOLKERT BRAREN, as Director of Program Management of NYCDOE, CHRIS COYLE, as Construction Project Manager of New York City Department of Education, CHRIS D'ALIMONTE, as Borough Contract Manager of New York City Department of Education, THOMAS FANIZZI, as Manhattan Maintenance Planner of New York City Department of Education and Division of School Facilities and JOHN DOE NUMBERS 1 through 5, whose names are not presently unknown, as agents, servants and employees of THE CITY OF NEW YORK, Defendants.

Eric Su, Esq., Lisa M. McIntyre, Esq., Eva M. Young, Esq., TARTER KRINSKY & DROGIN LLP, New York, NY, Attorneys for Plaintiffs.

Scott Glotzer, Esq., MICHAEL A. CARDOZO, Corporation Counsel of the City of New York, New York, NY, Attorneys for Defendants.

OPINION

ROBERT W. SWEET, District Judge.

Defendants the City of New York (the "City"), New York City Department of Education ("NYCDOC"), Dennis M. Walcott, New York City School Construction Authority ("NYCSCA"), Board of Trustees of the New York City School Construction Authority, John T. Shea, Volkert Braren, Chris Coyle, Chris D'Alimonte and Thomas Fanizzi, and John Doe Numbers 1 through 5 (the "Individual Defendants", and collectively "Defendants"), have moved to dismiss the complaint of plaintiffs Gym Door Repairs, Inc. ("GDRI") and Safepath Systems LLC ("SSL" and collectively, the "Plaintiffs") pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b) (("Rule 12(b)(6)"). Upon the conclusions set forth below, the motion is granted.

Prior Proceedings

The Plaintiffs filed a complaint (the "Complaint") on October 2, 2012 in which they asserted claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("§1983") arising from, inter alia, the alleged deprivation of a protectable property interest without due process. On December 31, 2012, the Defendants moved to dismiss the Complaint. The motion was heard and marked fully submitted on March 13, 2013.

The Facts

In 2001, the New York State legislature enacted Education Law § 409-f (the "Statute") in response to the death of two students resulting from accidents involving electrically operated partitions used in school gyms. Compl. ¶ 15. The Statute mandated that

Every electrically operated partition or room divider shall be equipped with safety devices which, subject to standards established in rules and regulations promulgated by the commissioner, stop the forward motion of the partition or room divider... when a body passes between the leading panel of such divider and a wall, or when a body is in the stacking area of such partition or divider.

N.Y. Educ. L. § 409-f.

In furtherance of the Statute, the New York State Education Department promulgated and implemented Commissioner's Regulation § 155.25 (the "Regulation"), which required, inter alia, that the safety equipment installed pursuant to the Statue "shall not be tampered with, overridden or by-passed" and "must be maintained in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, including the manufacturer's recommended service interval." Compl. ¶ 17.

Plaintiffs are manufacturers, installers and service contractors of safety system called the Safepath System ("SPS" or the "System"), which is designed to prevent accidents involving electrically operated partition doors. In or around 2007, defendant NYCSCA, which is responsible for ensuring the safety of New York City's school facilities, issued the New York City School Construction Authority Manual (the "Specifications"), which set forth details and instructions regarding the design, construction and maintenance of electrically operated partitions in the City's schools. Section 4(a) of the Specifications mandated that "[t]he infra-red safety detection system shall be "Safe-Path" as manufactured by [GDRI]...."

According to Plaintiffs, the combined effect of the Statute, the Regulation and the Specifications is to require the City's schools to utilize Plaintiffs' Safepath System on all electrically operated partition doors subject to the Statute, and to utilize Plaintiffs' services to install, service, repair and maintain the System, and to train and certify maintenance technicians and/or contractors to perform those duties. Compl. ¶ 39. Plaintiffs believe that these requirements have the effect of conveying a property interest to Plaintiffs for all revenue and business opportunities generated from the labor, materials and/or services required in order to comply with the parameters of the Statute, Regulation and Specifications. Id.

Although there are more than 1, 000 electrically operated partitions that require a safety system pursuant to the Statute, Plaintiffs have not installed their Safepath System on more than half of those locations. Id . ¶¶ 41-44. Moreover, the Safepath Systems that have been installed have not been regularly inspected, services, repaired and/or maintained exclusively by Plaintiffs. Id . ¶¶ 45-46.

Beginning in 2004, Plaintiffs repeatedly advised Defendants concerning their alleged property interest vested by the Statute, Regulation and Specifications, and demanded that Defendants adhere to the requirements of these mandates by exclusively utilizing Plaintiffs' products and ...


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