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New York Teacher-Protection Lawsuits Combined

A New York judge yesterday approved the merger of two civil lawsuits taking aim at the Empire State's rules for dismissing poorly performing teachers.

The combined suit is conceptually similar to the successful Vergara v. California lawsuit, in which a judge declared that the Golden State's tenure and dismissal rules unconstitutionally impinged on vulnerable students' rights to a quality public education.

The United Federation of Teachers, which had already acted to intervene as defendent in the first of the New York suits, will also become a party to the combined suit, Chalkbeat NY reports.

The move to combine the lawsuits was expected, but it also gave rise to an unusual disagreement among some of their proponents. The plaintiff and driving force behind one of them, New York parent Mona Davids, has accused the driving force behind the other, former CNN anchor Campbell Brown, of resorting to bullying tactics to make her own suit the marquee one. She said that Brown pressured Davids' high-powered legal team from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher—which successfully argued Vergara—to withdraw.

Brown, reached by telephone yesterday, contested the charge; she said she welcomed any and all legal assistance in the suit.

In any case, discovery and oral arguments in the suit are still a long way off. First up, the plaintiffs will have to counter the UFT's bid to have the case dismissed.

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