United States District Court, E.D. New York
FAMIGHETTI & WEINICK, PLLC, MATTHEW WEINICK, ESQ.
Attorneys for Plaintiff
SILVERMAN & ASSOCIATES, LEWIS R. SILVERMAN, ESQ., GERALD
S. SMITH, ESQ. Attorneys for Defendants
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
LEONARD D. WEXLER, United States District Judge
the Court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment,
pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Plaintiff opposes the motion. For the following reasons,
Defendants' motion is granted and Plaintiffs claims are
a civil rights action arising out of a report by Defendants
to Child Protection Services ("CPS") regarding
Plaintiffs care of her minor daughter. In June 2013,
Plaintiffs minor child, N.M., was a first-grade student at
Steele Elementary School ("Steele"), which is
operated by Defendant Baldwin Union Free School District (the
"District"). Defendant Lori Presti
("Presti") is the Principal of Steele and Defendant
Carrie Bilitzki ("Bilitzki") is Steele's social
worker. The relevant facts, which are largely undisputed, are
taken from the parties' Local Civil Rule 56.1 Statements,
unless otherwise noted.
began attending Steele Elementary in 2011. While N.M. was in
first grade, both Presti and Bilitzki met with Plaintiff
several times regarding N.M.'s behavior and emotional
well-being. In June 2013, Plaintiff and her husband met with
Presti and Bilitzki concerning an event that occurred with
respect to N.M. During this meeting, Plaintiff complained
about Bilitzki's treatment of her daughter at the
School's Field Day on June 5, 2013. (Weinick Decl.,
Ex. 4; Smith Decl., Ex. E at 39-40.) While Presti disagreed
with Plaintiff and her husband's characterization of the
events that led to the meeting, all parties considered the
Maldonado ("Maldonado") - who is not named herein
as a Defendant - was N.M.'s second grade teacher during
the 2013-2014 school year. N.M. had behavioral issues that
were addressed all throughout her second grade year.
April 8, 2014, Maldonado emailed Plaintiff twice, advising
Plaintiff that N.M. was feeling sad and depressed and
recommending that "we all sit down to help her through
this."Maldonado further advised Plaintiff that
N.M. was being "defiant" and had falsely accused
Maldonado of hurting her.
upon the emails Plaintiff received, Plaintiff removed her
daughter from school at lunch time on April 8, 2014,
representing that N.M. had an appointment to
attend. Plaintiff brought N.M. home that day and
discussed her behavior with her. In addition, Plaintiff
struck N.M. with both her hand and a belt. While Plaintiff
does not recall how many times she struck N.M. with her hand,
she believes it was more than once. Plaintiff further
believes that she struck N.M. with the belt once or twice.
This was not the first time Plaintiff physically disciplined
her daughter. Plaintiff then returned N.M. to school.
N.M. returned to school, she informed Maldonado that
Plaintiff struck her with a belt in the face during lunch.
Upon learning this information, Maldonado contacted the
School Nurse. Thereafter, Presti spoke with N.M., who advised
Presti that Plaintiff struck her repeatedly with a belt and
her hand. Presti also had the School Nurse examine N.M.,
which revealed no marks or injuries.
then spoke with Bilitizki about what had occurred. Bilitizki
informed her that, based upon the information they had, a
report should be made to CPS. At approximately 1:51 p.m. on
April 8, 2014, a report was made to CPS concerning Plaintiff
and N.M. via telephone call. The issue of suspected physical
abuse was raised with CPS at that time, as well as the fact
that counseling had been previously recommended for N.M. to
address her behavioral issues.
April 9, 2014, CPS contacted Bilitzki and asked her to check
with N.M.'s teacher to see if she was completing homework
assignments and projects. CPS also requested that Bilitizki
fax copies of progress reports and report cards. Bilitzki
advised CPS that N.M. had missed eight homework assignments
since January and that her grades had declined in homework
and neatness. The report card provided to CPS by Bilitzki
also indicated that some of N.M.'s grades had dropped
recently and that the issue of incomplete homework
assignments had been raised.
a CPS social worker met with and examined N.M. CPS also met
with Plaintiff and her husband, as well as Presti. On April
29, 2014, the CPS ...