United States District Court, N.D. New York
O'HARA, O'CONNELL & CIOTOLI, LLP Attorneys for
OF FRANK W. MILLER Attorneys for Defendant Board of Education
and Eric A. Schnabl.
HANCOCK & ESTABROOK, LLP Attorneys for Defendant Susan T.
COUNSEL: STEPHEN CIOTOLI, ESQ. FRANK W. MILLER, ESQ.
CHRISTOPHER M. MILITELLO, ESQ. WHITNEY M. KUMMEROW, ESQ.
MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER
D'AGOSTINO, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
commenced this action on January 16, 2017, asserting two
claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, arising out of a
student disciplinary proceeding that occurred while Plaintiff
was a student of the Sherburne-Earlville Central School
District (the "District") during the 2014-2015
school year. See Dkt. No. 1. The complaint alleges
that Plaintiff was deprived substantive and procedural due
process by the imposition of an out of school suspension
after Plaintiff was found in a superintendent's hearing
held pursuant to New York Education Law § 3214 to have
committed acts that violated the District's student code
of conduct. Plaintiff alleges that he was deprived of his
property interest in receiving his education without due
process. Plaintiff also contends that he was deprived of his
liberty interest in his good name and reputation by
wrongfully suspending him from school without due process.
Finally, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants' conduct
resulted in a violation of his substantive due process
March 9, 2017, Defendants Board of Education of
Sherburne-Earlville Central School District and Eric A.
Schnabl, as Superintendent of Schools,
("Defendants") moved pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for dismissal of the
complaint in its entirety. See Dkt. No.
After the motion was fully briefed, on April 20, 2017, the
Court held oral argument. As set forth below, Defendant
Schnabl and the Board of Education's motion for judgment
on the pleadings is granted and they are dismissed from this
to the complaint, Plaintiff was a student of the District who
was suspended from school through the remainder of the
2014-2015 school year. See Dkt. No. 1-8 at ¶ 8.
Plaintiff's suspension was initially imposed following a
hearing held pursuant to New York Education Law § 3214
on November 13, 2014, at which Defendant Susan Westling,
Esq., presided as hearing officer. See Id. at
¶¶ 11-21. Upon receiving notice of Defendant
Schnabl's decision to suspend Plaintiff after the
November 13 hearing, Plaintiff requested that the hearing be
reopened to consider additional evidence. See Id. at
¶¶ 20-23. The District granted Plaintiff's
request and a second day of testimony was held on January 27,
2015 during which additional evidence was entered into
evidence and Plaintiff, who was represented by counsel, was
provided the opportunity to testify in his defense. See
Id. After the rehearing, Defendant Westling issued
supplemental findings of fact and recommendations and
ultimately confirmed the findings and penalty recommended
after the November hearing. Defendant Schnabl accepted
Defendant Westling's recommendations and confirmed the
suspension by letter dated January 29, 2015. See Id.
at ¶ 22.
Plaintiff appealed Defendant Schnabl's decision to the
Board of Education, which heard the appeal on February 9,
2015. See Id. at ¶ 24. The Board upheld the
suspension to the end of the school year. See id.
February 16, 2015, Plaintiff appealed these adverse decisions
to the New York State Commissioner of Education
("Commissioner"). See Dkt. No. 15-5 at
1-19. On October 5, 2015, Plaintiff sent a letter to the
Commissioner indicating that, since Plaintiff graduated in
June of 2015, the appeal is now moot. See Dkt. No.
22 at 19. As such, Plaintiff indicated that he wished to
"withdraw this appeal, without prejudice, and [would]
proceed in Federal Court where his constitutional claims may
be heard." Id. In a letter dated October 8,
2015, the Commissioner accepted Plaintiff's request to
discontinue his appeal. See Id. at 22.
January 16, 2017, Plaintiff commenced this action alleging
procedural and substantive due process violations.
See Dkt. No. 1. Currently before the Court is
Defendant Schnabl's ...