Justice Philip Minardo in Richmond County Supreme Court agreed Thursday to merge two lawsuits seeking to challenge state tenure laws.The state attorney general's office had filed a motion to consolidate the two cases on grounds the issues were so similar, and the United Federation of Teachers had asked to intervene as a defendant.The court granted both requests. The cases were filed by the New York City Parents Union and Partnership for Educational Justice. Both groups charge that current tenure laws keep ineffective teachers in classrooms.The union argues that tenure guarantees due process to keep teachers from unjust terminations, and plans to file a motion to dismiss the case by Oct. 14, a spokeswoman said.
The WSJ ignored the circus at yesterday's festivities - the Daily News did not:
A judge consolidated a pair of lawsuits challenging teacher tenure in New York on Thursday — but the two people behind the cases couldn’t be farther apart.
Mona Davids, president of the New York City Parents Union, who filed the first legal action, made wild accusations Thursday against Campbell Brown, who filed the second.
“This is our lawsuit. We will not be bullied by Campbell Brown,” said Davids, who passed out fake dollars bearing Brown’s likeness at a bizarre press conference outside Staten Island Supreme Court.
Davids insisted that Brown, a former CNN anchor turned education advocate, had orchestrated a behind-the-scenes effort to undermine her suit. But Davids, despite the fire with which she made her accusation, did not produce evidence to back it up.
Capital NY nailed the circus-like atmosphere as well:
A would-be alliance in the battle over New York's teacher-tenure laws fell apart Thursday, as parent-activist Mona Davids held a press conference to attack CNN anchor-turned-education reformer Campbell Brown.
The drama between Davids and Brown, who are each suing to invalidate the state's tenure laws, threatens to delegitimize their shared legal argument which has, at least on its face, a chance of succeeding considering the positive result for anti-tenure reformers in the Vergara vs. California case earlier this summer.
State Supreme Court Justice Philip Minardo on Thursday ordered Davids and Brown to consolidate their lawsuits, meaning the two will be represented by the same firm and will have to work together.
The number of legal players involved in the case and Davids' dramatic pre-hearing press conference outside Richmond County Court on Staten Island turned what was supposed to be a mundane legal proceeding Thursday into an unexpectedly dramatic bit of political theater.
Davids, head of a group called the New York City Parents Union, accuses Brown of trying to steal the spotlight and divert resources away from her case.
"Campbell Brown is is trying to reform her image and make herself relevant on the backs of black and Hispanic children, our children. This is our lawsuit," Davids said at a press conference where members of her group held up fake $100 bills with Brown's screaming face in the middle and signs that read "Campbell Brown does not speak for NYC parents."
Davids claims Brown discouraged Gibson Dunn, the prestigious law firm that helped secure victory for the plaintiffs in Vergara vs. California, from helping Davids' case. Gibson Dunn said in early August it would be providing legal support to Davids' case, then abruptly dropped out several weeks ago, citing conflicts of interest.
Davids claims Brown, whose own group is called the Partnership for Educational Justice, asked lawyers at Gibson Dunn to drop their support for Davids' group and cited unpublished emails between Brown and lawyers at the firm.
Davids also claims Brown began "a bullying campaign" against her.
Charles Moerdler, a partner at the law firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, who is representing the U.F.T., said the union will seek to have the case dismissed.
Davids and Brown will be able to submit two separate complaints, Minardo said, but will have to act as a single plaintiff.
Minardo also told Gibson Dunn to file a formal motion asking to leave the case; Davids said she will most likely oppose the motion to show that she wants to retain legal help from the firm.
Moerdler indicated that formal legal proceedings are unlikely to begin until December, at the earliest.
What are the chances this lawsuit, a mess from the beginning, is going to be successful?
UPDATED - 8:08:
Also, it's interesting that the WSJ ignored the circus clowns and other distractions at yesterday's event.
Think the WSJ would have ignored them if the clowns had "UFT" on their shirts instead of "NYCPU"?