(CN) – The 2nd Circuit ruled that a New York board of cooperative educational services is not entitled to 11th Amendment immunity from a harassment case, because it’s not an arm of the state.
The court allowed Carrie Gordon, a counselor and recruiter at the Sullivan County BOCES, to proceed with a lawsuit accusing a fellow teacher of repeatedly harassing her.
Under New York law, supervisory school districts can create cooperative boards to help distribute educational services throughout the district.
After weighing six factors, including how the board is funded, U.S. District Judge Robinson concluded that the board is not an arm of the state. Robinson also considered mitigating factors, including whether a federal lawsuit against the board would threaten the state’s integrity and expose its treasury to risk.
The federal appeals court in New York agreed with the judge’s “thorough and well-reasoned opinion,” and affirmed the denial of immunity to the board.
“Sullivan County BOCES is a locally run entity affiliated with local school districts; its liability would not reflect adversely on New York,” the court wrote.