General Education Law [Including General Municipal Law, Public Officers Law, Real Property Tax Law, Local Finance Law, Etc.]
All of the attorneys in our firm are knowledgeable and conversant in the myriad laws affecting School Districts. Our attorneys answer questions by telephone, facsimile machine and electronic mail, issue opinion letters, review a wide variety of contracts and leases, review policies and administrative regulations, agendas, minutes and other documents, as required. We have experience reviewing Official Statements and issuing obligations in the nature of Tax Anticipation Notes, Revenue Anticipation Notes, Bond Anticipation Notes and Renewals in the principal amount of up to $1,000,000. Our firm has great depth of experience in Education Law and Labor Relations Law matters. We pride ourselves on timely and, often immediate responses to telephone, electronic mail and written inquiries.
Labor Relations, Negotiations, and Arbitrations
Partner David S. Shaw has over 30 years of experience negotiating School District Taylor Law Agreements, litigating arbitration proceedings and appearing before the Public Employment Relations Board.
The attorneys in the firm negotiate numerous Taylor Law Agreements annually and appear in arbitration proceedings and PERB proceedings each year. The firm has an outstanding track record of favorable outcomes for our clients. We have experience negotiating under circumstances that include deficit reduction in the early 1990s, IBM downsizing and the contingency budget cap legislation.
Our firm has extensive experience in representing School Districts in proceedings before administrative agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, New York State Division of Human Rights, U.S. and New York State Department of Labor and the U.S. Family Policy Compliance Office.
Special Education and Pupil Personnel Services
The attorneys in our firm, primarily Mr. Shaw, Mr. Lambert, Mrs. Rusk and Mrs. Sims, have litigated numerous special education cases at the Impartial Hearing Officer, State Review Officer and Federal Court (District Court and Circuit Court) levels. Over the past decade, our firm has enjoyed unparalleled success in litigating these types of cases at all levels. The Second Circuit’s decision in Walczak v. Florida Union Free School District, that established a policy of court deference to education authorities in IDEA cases, upheld administrative proceedings successfully tried by our firm. Notwithstanding this litigation success, our firm’s philosophy involves proactive staff training and interventions designed to limit the number of litigations that the district is in involved in and to maximize the likelihood of prevailing if litigation proves necessary.
Given the extent of our practice as labor relations and general counsel to numerous School Districts, we have litigated hundreds of cases across all areas of the practice, including: Student Discipline, Special Education, Teacher Tenure, §3020-a Education Law, §75 Civil Service Law, Student Residency, Federal Civil Rights Litigations, Transportation, Validity of Propositions and/or Elections/Votes, Boundary Disputes, Construction, Open Meetings Law, Human Rights and Equal Employment Opportunity proceedings. The attorneys who would provide general litigation services may vary depending upon the nature of the litigation.
For example, our firm successfully defended the Newburgh Enlarged City School District in a precedent setting case in the Second Circuit Federal Court of Appeals regarding the unavailability of compensatory and punitive damages in IDEA based litigations, as well as requiring the exhaustion of administrative remedies in special education cases. Our firm also prevailed in two other cases in the Second Circuit and United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, both involving the application of the Walczak deference standard to cases in the Rhinebeck Central School District in which the parents sought multiple years of tuition reimbursement and substantial attorney’s fees for private educational placements. In addition, our firm successfully defended the Tuxedo Union Free School District in having a Federal District Court dismiss at the outset a parent’s Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) case based upon a principal revealing information about the educational progress of a student to a non-custodial birth parent.
Our firm has an Of Counsel relationship with John E. Osborn, P.C., one of the top construction law firms in New York City, allowing us to offer expert counsel in the areas of Construction Law, Environmental Law and Commercial Litigation at our hourly rates. Such services may include assisting School Districts in selecting Architects, Engineers, Construction Managers and Environmental Consultants and the negotiation of terms of agreement therewith; preparation of contractor bid packages and requests for proposal; conducting investigations of ongoing construction and renovation projects and working with School Districts in achieving project completion and claims resolution; representing School Districts in negotiations with bonding companies; prosecuting claims against Contractors in arbitration; prosecuting claims against Architects and Engineers for errors and omissions in design; and defending School Districts in claims relating to construction, renovation and environmental projects.
Mr. Osborn’s firm has achieved successful jury verdicts in multi-million dollar cases and has handled arbitrations, administrative hearings and complex commercial litigation in Federal and State Courts. He has published extensively on subjects relating to Environmental Risk Management and Regulations, Construction Law, effective contract drafting, real estate litigation and dispute resolution.
Tax Certiorari Experience
We have intervened and appeared in numerous tax certiorari proceedings on behalf of School Districts. For many of our School Districts, we monitor tax certiorari cases and litigate when a threshold amount of assessment reduction is at issue.