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Technical glitch results in lawsuit dismissal

A legal mistake by a plaintiff's former lawyer resulted in the dismissal of a lawsuit for sexual discrimination against the New York City Department of Education. The lawsuit charged a male assistant principal with making inappropriate sexual references that embarrassed the plaintiff to the point where she took leave and eventually resigned. She claimed the harassment was so obvious that even students noticed it. She later returned to work but was given too many classes and felt overwhelmed with work. However, the judge ruled that her former lawyer did not file a required notice with the Department before filing the sexual harassment lawsuit.

The notices of public claim are required within 90 days when a lawsuit is filed against a public agency, including the Department of Education. Her former attorney submitted the required paperwork to the city comptroller's office but not to the Department, which argued it was a separate legal entity from the city, necessitating a separate filing. Her lawyer countered that the case would benefit others, but the judge disagreed despite a ruling from a state appellate court that there were limited exceptions to the filing requirement.

The teacher plans to appeal the case, according to the attorney she has now. She feels that she will overcome the obstacles before her and thinks she will be successful in securing a favorable outcome. Her lawyer also believes the dismissal will be reversed. A city official reported that the city was happy about the ruling.

Filing a civil lawsuit against a government agency involves careful adherence to legal and administrative requirements. An employment attorney might ensure compliance with technicalities so that the case can proceed.

Source: silive.com, "Former intermediate school dean's sexual-harassment lawsuit dismissed on technicality", Frank Donnelly, August 07, 2014

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