Practice Areas > Special Education

 All students with disabilities have the right to a Free and Appropriate Public Education ("FAPE").  The New York City Department of Education ("DOE") is responsible for providing a FAPE to children who live in the five boroughs. Children with disabilities are entitled to receive special education services and programs designed to meet his or her individual needs in order to  prepare for an effective transition from school to post-secondary education, employment and independent living. 

Due to the complexity of the laws governing special education, many parents feel confused about how to obtain appropriate services and navigate the school and legal systems.  Ensuring that your child receives what he or she deserves can be a difficult, time-consuming, and extremely frustrating endeavor.  We have found that most parents do not understand their rights or the kinds of services that their child may be able to receive to support his or her progress.  These services can include, but are not limited to: private tutoring after school, private school, applied behavior analysis ("ABA"), individual (1:1 instruction), services at home, make-up services (called "compensatory education") for children who did not receive their IEP-mandated services or an appropriate education, RSAs, increased rates for related services, reimbursement and many other supports. 

Friedman & Moses offers a free phone screening to assess whether your child is receiving the services that he or she needs in school and/or at home. We represent children of all ages, as well as young adults and serve students with a wide variety of disabilities, including but not limited to children with learning disabilites, ADHD, Autism, PDD, hearing and vision impairments, chronic illnesses, asthma, expressive and receptive language disorders, and Cerebral Palsy.

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 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).”

For the M.G. Class Action decision click here

For the Stipulation of Confidentiality and Protective Order that applies to documents obtained through discovery click here

For the Fourth Amended Complaint click here 

For the Notice of Potential Disclosure of Student records click here

For the April 8, 2016 Order relating to FERPA click here