NYC Department of Education 56.1 Statement
NYC Department of Education Motion For Summary Judgment
NYC Department of Education Summary Judgment
Letter to the Judge from Lillie Leon
Lillie Leon's Opposition to Summary Judgment
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials
1. We review de novo a district court's dismissal of a complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), construing the complaint liberally, accepting all well-pled factual allegations in the complaint as true, and drawing all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Chambers v. Time Warner, Inc., 282 F.3d 147, 152 (2d Cir. 2002). We also review de novo a district court's legal conclusion that a state proceeding's fact-finding of a legitimate basis for employment termination collaterally estops re-litigation of related issues in federal court. Matusick v. Erie Cnty. Water Auth., 757 F.3d 31, 45 (2d Cir. 2014).
Lillie LEON, Plaintiff,
The DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, a/k/a The City School District of the City of New York; Paula Cunningham, in her Individual and Official capacities; Nerida Urban, in her Individual and Official capacities; and Harvey Katz, in his Individual and Official capacities, Defendants.
DECISION AND ORDER
A. Plaintiff's Pre-2010 Allegations
B. The 2010-11 School Year
C. The 3020-a Proceeding
"Specification 3: Beginning on or about September 13-15, 2010, [Plaintiff] refused to `bathroom' the students in her assigned Kindergarten class 113, as directed.
Specification 4: On or about September 12, 2010, [Plaintiff] contacted parents of kindergarten class 113, without authorization from the Principal, regarding [Plaintiffs] claims against the school and told them in sum and substance that classroom 113 was:
2. Without a bathroom
3. Unsuitable for children
4. With furniture that was not age appropriate.
Specification 5: Beginning on or about September 13, 2010, [Plaintiff] informed parents around dismissal time, in sum and substance, that:
1. I will not take your children to the bathroom.
2. I am not a babysitter.
Specification 6: Beginning on or about September 20, 2010, [Plaintiff] refused the Principal's directive that [Plaintiff] teach newly assigned kindergarten class 133.
Specification 7: On or about November 22, 2010, [Plaintiff] refused the Principal's directive that [Plaintiff] conduct a tutoring teaching assignment called "Circular 6" in room 358.
Specification 8: [Plaintiff] failed to report to her designated assignment on or about September 20, 2010 through March 11, 2011, as directed."
• Plaintiff did not request an accommodation for air conditioning for the 2010-11 school year. Plaintiff was informed that she would need to do more than submit a letter to the principal and that an accommodation request needed to be made to the Medical Bureau. (Id. at 10).
• Plaintiff ignored numerous written and verbal directives that she was to bathroom her students. (Id. at 26). Plaintiff was in a classroom without a bathroom because the administration had attempted to defer to her health concerns about air conditioners. (Id. at 23). Plaintiff was physically able to monitor bathrooming and was aware that this was part of the responsibilities of a kindergarten teacher. (Id. at 24-25).
• The manner and substance of the messages left by Plaintiff to her students' parents were "alarming" and inappropriate because she did not advise the administration of her issues before reaching out to the parents. (Id. at 26-27). Those actions were "unprofessional and unbecoming her position and the [DOE] had just cause for discipline." (Id. at 27).
193*193 • Principal Cunningham moved Plaintiff to air-conditioned Room 133 because of Plaintiffs refusal to bathroom students and her contacting of the students' parents. (Id. at 28-29). Plaintiff was to blame for being put in Room 133 and nonetheless refused to provide instruction in Room 133, ignored directives to report to that classroom, and engaged in continuing insubordination. (Id. at 29). There were no safety issues with the classroom justifying Plaintiffs refusal to teach. (Id. at 29). "Although [Plaintiff] testified that air conditioning made her hoarse and that she had previously submitted a doctor's note to the prior principal, she did not apply for an accommodation for air conditioning from the Medical Bureau. Although the Principal initially deferred to [Plaintiffs] preference for the old wing, she was not prohibited from assigning [Plaintiff] to the new wing. In an attempt to appease her, Principal Cunningham offer to turn off the air conditioning in the room. Even so, [Plaintiff] still refused to teach in Room 133[.]" (Id. at 29).
• When Plaintiff was assigned and then refused a third teaching assignment in Room 358 during the 2010-11 school, "[t]he totality of the evidence support[ed] the finding that [Plaintiff] had no reasonable basis for her belief that assignment to Room 358 posed a threat to her health or safety." (Id. at 30). Plaintiff was given three warnings to report to her assignment in Room 358, and her failure to adhere to those directives constituted insubordination and warranted discipline. (Id. at 32-33).
• After being deemed fit for duty, Plaintiff was given the option to teach a tutoring course ("Circular 6") in the cafeteria. (Id. at 33). Plaintiff refused to teach there for "safety" reasons, even though there was no reasonable imminent harm. (Id. at 34). Plaintiff was found guilty of failing to report to any of her designated assignments between September 20, 2010 and May 11, 2011. (Id. at 35).
• Overall, Plaintiff attempted to justify her numerous insubordinate acts by claiming that there were health and safety reasons excusing her non compliance. However, those Plaintiffs excuses were "unsubstantiated and did not justify her refusal to bathroom her students, teach in Room 133[,] with or without air conditioning, Room 358[,] and the cafeteria because the assignments posed a threat of physical harm to her health or safety is not supported by the evidence." (Id. at 34).
• "From the time she did not get her first choice of Pre-K, the evidence established that Ms. Leon embarked on a collision course with the Principal and engaged in outright defiance and refused, not just [once], but disobeyed four teaching assignments. The terms of the assignments were clearly communicated to her verbally and, in writing, and she was repeatedly warned that her failure to perform her duties was insubordinate and 194*194 could lead to discipline. Her obstinate behavior remained unchanged despite the warnings and numerous opportunities to correct her behavior. With each and every assignment, [Plaintiff] showed no understanding that the Principal, and not she, was in charge with respect to teaching assignments, student welfare and building safety. However, when [Plaintiff] voiced concerns, the Principal attempted to give her options to allay her fears which she consistently rebuffed. At the end of the day, Ms. Leon was unable to identify a single classroom in a 53 room building in which she would be willing to teach other than in the Pre-K classroom." (Id. at 35).