Practice Areas > M.G. Class Action

The M.G. v. New York City Department of Education Class Action 

Friedman & Moses (“F&M”), along with our co-counsel, is currently representing children who live in New York City who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (“ASD”) or classified with autism on an IEP, as well as children with significant disabilities who attend state-approved non-public schools (the “plaintiffs”), in a class-action lawsuit against the New York State Education Department and the New York City school district (the “defendants”).  This case is called M.G., et al. v. N.Y. City Dep’t of Educ., et al., Index No. 13-cv-4639.  On behalf of the plaintiffs (children with disabilties and their parents), we are fighting to remedy flawed educational policies and practices that cause substantial harm to these and other similar children year after year.

Among other allegations, plaintiffs allege that defendants fail to provide adequate special education services and accommodations to children, in violation of federal and state law, and instead unlawfully instituted and continue to implement systemic policies, procedures and practices that deprive children with disabilities (including those with ASD) of substantive educational services and procedural protections to which they are entitled.

Proposed class members are at risk of losing (or have already lost) special education services to which they are entitled or were never afforded appropriate special education services that they require.

 In addition, the lawsuit seeks to improve the delivery of educational services to children diagnosed with ASD.

The lawsuit was filed under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (“IDEA”), the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the New York State Constitution, and various sections of the New York State Education Law.

The case is currently pending before the Honorable Judge Sidney H. Stein in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.   Elisa Hyman, Of Counsel, is litigating the case for F&M. Robbins, Geller, Rudman & Dowd LLP is serving as co-counsel for the classes.

Class Action Status Granted

On January 6, 2016, the Court granted the Plaintiffs' request to certify two Classes and subclasses.

Autism Services Class & Due Process Autism Subclass

The Autism Services Class consists of all (i) children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder . . . under the [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders], or classified as autistic by the City Defendants under the IDEA, who (a) reside in New York City; (b) have IEPs; (c) have been subject to the Defendants’ Autism Services Policies and Practices; and (ii) those who will, in the future, meet the criteria of (i).    

For the purposes of the class action, “Autism Services Policies and Practices” relate to (a) 1:1 instruction with a teacher for all or part of the day; (b) Applied Behavioral Analysis (“ABA”); and (c) extended school day, after school or home-based services (for students attending a school-day program) (the “Modified Autism Services”).

Plaintiffs allege that the IEP process is “improperly influenced by blanket policies, as well as limitations on services,” and that IEP teams are not permitted to recommend certain services on a child’s IEP.

The Court also certified the Due Process Autism Subclass defined as “members of the Autism Services Class who have won or will win [Impartial Hearing Officer (“IHO”)] or [State Review Officer (“SRO”)] decisions, court orders, or entered into resolution agreements for Autism Services and who have been or will be subject to the Autism Services Policies and Practices.

NPS Class & Due Process NPS Subclass

The NPS Class is defined as “all (i) children with disabilities under the meaning of the IDEA who (a) reside in New York City; (b) have IEPs; (c) were recommended for or attended an “NPS Program” and (d) have been subject to the NPS Directive and (ii) those who will, in the future, meet the criteria of (i).”

The "NPS Directive" (according to the Class Certification decision) is defined as follows: Plaintiffs allege that on July 2, 2012, the State Defendants issued a directive, by letter, stating that NPS students “would no longer be able to receive special education and related services unless those services were offered by or available directly through the particular NPS Program the child was or would be attending."

The Due Process NPS Subclass consists of: “(i) members of the NPS Class who are, or were, receiving and will receive [Related] NPS Services; and (ii) who invoked or will invoke their due process [rights] and obtained stay-put rights under 20 U.S.C. § 1415(j).”

M.G. Documents 

Fourth Amended Class Complaint in MG. v New York City Department of Education

Class Action Decision  - M.G. v. New York City Dep't of Education 

April 8, 2016 FERPA Order

Stipulation of Confidentiality and Protective Order