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April 04, 2016

An individual or organization must have “standing” in order to maintain an Article 78 action challenging an administrative decision


An individual or organization must have “standing” in order to maintain an Article 78 action challenging an administrative decision
Thomas v New York City Dept. of Educ., 2016 NY Slip Op 02154, Appellate Division, First Department

Michael P. Thomas, then a public school teacher, employed by the Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics (MCSM), filed allegations with the New York City Department of Education [DOE’ that the court characterized as involving “a misappropriation of federal funds received by MCSM under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Action of 1965, reauthorized as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001.”

DOE, following an administrative investigation, determined that Thomas’ allegations of misappropriation of Title I funds were unsubstantiated. Thomas then initiated the Article 78 action challenging DOE’s determination. Supreme Court dismissed Thomas’s petition; the Appellate Division affirmed Supreme Court’s decision.

The Appellate Division ruled that Thomas, although a member of MCSM's School Leadership Team lacks standing to challenge the results of DOE's investigation of his allegations he had brought pursuant to "No Child Left Behind Written Complaint and Appeal Procedures" adopted by the New York State Education Department.

The court explained that Thomas’ status as a complainant who initiated an administrative investigation did not give him standing to maintain “a private right of action to challenge the agency's determination” unless he could demonstrate that he had suffered an actual injury as a result of DOE’s decision. The court concluded that Thomas had failed to demonstrate that he had “suffered and actual injury” as a result of DOE’s administrative determination.

Another obstacle to Thomas' ability to maintain the action, said the Appellate Division, was that Thomas did not "fall within the zone of interests . . . sought to be promoted or protected" by Education Law §2590-h or the NCLB”

The decision is posted on the Internet at:


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