Back to All Court Cases

Brevot v. New York City Department of Education (Challenging Department of Education’s role in terminating employee)

This case concerns the Department of Education’s (DOE) role in the termination of a contract between a former employee and a private agency based on allegations by the DOE which the employee was not given the opportunity to contest. In 1995, Dr. Marcia Brevot retired as a tenured supervisor with the New York City Board of Education after a distinguished career as a supervisor and innovative educator. A year later, the board asked her to supervise several developing schools in Brooklyn. Brevot accepted the position and served during the 1996-1997 school year, after which her contract was not renewed.

In June 1998, the Office of the Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City School District issued a report that accused Dr. Brevot of academic (but not financial) dishonesty and of extreme incompetence in the performance of her administrative responsibilities during the 1996-1997 school year. Because Dr. Brevot was not employed by the DOE at the time the report was issued, she was not given a meaningful opportunity to contest the report’s accusations, and the report’s allegations were never tested in any fair administrative or judicial proceeding. Moreover, on the basis of the report, Dr. Brevot was placed on a list of persons ineligible to work for the DOE. In 2004, Dr. Brevot was working for a private agency, New Visions for Public Schools, which administers charter schools under a contractual relationship with the city. Upon discovering that Dr. Brevot was working for that agency, in May and June 2004 the DOE discussed the substance of the report with individuals from New Visions for Public Schools. As a result of these discussions, New Visions terminated a consulting contract with Dr. Brevot.

On Oct. 8, 2004, the NYCLU filed a complaint on behalf of Dr. Brevot, claiming that the DOE’s actions damaged her good name and reputation and foreclosed her from practicing her profession without due process of law. The NYCLU further alleges that DOE officials engaged in the tortious interference with Dr. Brevot’s contractual relationships and behaved in an arbitrary and capricious manner. The plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive relief granting her a fair opportunity to contest both the allegations set forth in the report and also her placement on the DOE “blacklist” that resulted from such allegations. She further seeks monetary relief as compensation for the DOE’s role in the termination of her consulting contract with New Visions for Public Schools.

On April 17, 2006, both the plaintiff and the defendants moved for summary judgment. The District Court granted the defendants’ motion on March 7, 2007, finding that Brevot’s due process claim was time-barred by the statute of limitations. The NYCLU appealed to the United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. On Oct. 29, 2008, the Second Circuit affirmed the lower court’s ruling. 

S.D.N.Y., Index No. 04 Civ. 7959 (GEL) (MHD) (direct) 

As bold as the spirit of New York, we are the NYCLU.
© 2024 New York
Civil Liberties Union