This case was last updated from U.S. District Courts on 01/24/2023 at 03:44:05 (UTC).

THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA v. THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA et al

Case Summary

On January 20, 2023, the School District of Philadelphia (“Plaintiff”), represented by Danielle N. Bagwell, Garrett D. Trego, and Suzanne I. Schiller of Manki, Gold, Katcher & Fox LLP, filed a civil rights lawsuit against the City of Philadelphia, the City of Philadelphia Department of Public Health, and Managing Director Tumar Alexander (collectively, “Defendants”), seeking declaratory and injunctive relief for alleged promulgation of a bill that is allegedly vague and unconstitutional. This case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, with Judge Wendy Beetlestone presiding.

In the complaint, the plaintiff alleged, “On June 1, 2022, City of Philadelphia Bill No. 210685-AA was signed into law (the ‘Bill’).”

Plaintiff then alleged, “The Bill amends Section A-703 of the Philadelphia Administrative Code (‘Section A-703’) to require the School District of Philadelphia (the ‘District’) to obtain from the City of Philadelphia (the ‘City’) a ‘Special Certificate of Inspection’ (‘Certificate’) attesting to the District’s compliance with a set of undefined ‘best practices’ for asbestos and other unspecified ‘property-related hazards’ to be recommended by an advisory board composed almost entirely of appointees with no required scientific, technical, or environmental expertise, or relevant licensing.”

The plaintiff further alleged, “The Bill was enacted despite the fact that the District already is subject to state and federal standards associated with the management of lead, asbestos and other environmental hazards that are intended for protection of health, safety, and welfare.”

Plaintiff also alleged, “The Bill suggests that without the City’s approval and issuance of the Certificates, the District school buildings cannot be occupied for the coming applicable school year. Thus, the Bill and Section A-703 threaten to terminate in-person learning and support for the morethan-130,000 students attending District schools in Philadelphia based on vague, undeveloped, and unidentified practices adopted under the ambiguous authority and unspecified expertise of the City’s Managing Director.”

The plaintiff then alleged, “The Bill follows consecutive school years marred by the Covid-19 pandemic when the District was forced to close school buildings to in-person instruction, resulting in far reaching impacts on school children not only in a reduction of learning opportunities and advancement, but also in a loss of social, emotional and health supports.”

Additionally, the plaintiff alleged, “In a particularly counterproductive move, the City paired its enactment of the Bill with funding cuts to the District’s annual operating budget, thus limiting the funds the District could use to meet the newly imposed oversight requirements even if they were lawful, which they are not.”

The plaintiff alleged, “The Bill purports to provide the City with the unfettered ability to dictate the District’s operational decisions and close District school buildings with little to no notice to the District. The City lacks the authority for such a broad over-regulation of the District’s operations. For the reasons that follow, the Bill must be declared preempted, unconstitutional, and invalid, and the City and its co-defendants must be enjoined from enforcement of the Bill and Section A-703.”

Plaintiff presented six claims for relief, including for alleged conflict preemption, non-delegation, due process, unlawful regulation of public schools, declaratory judgment, and preliminary injunction.

In the prayer for relief, the plaintiff requested relief declaring that the bill is vague and unconstitutional as well as injunctive relief enjoining the defendants from enforcing the bill.

This is a summary of a legal complaint. All statements, claims, and allegations listed herein reflect the position of the plaintiff only and do not represent the position of UniCourt. Additionally, this case summary may not reflect the current position of the parties to this litigation or the current status of this case. To view the latest case updates and court documents, please sign up for a UniCourt account.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    2:23-CV-00238

  • Filing Date:

    01/20/2023

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Civil Right - State Statute Constitutionality

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

WENDY BEETLESTONE

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA

Defendants

THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA

THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH

MANAGING DIRECTOR TUMAR ALEXANDER

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

GARRETT DOUGLAS TREGO

Attorney at Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox, LLP

Three Bala Plaza East, Suite 700

Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004

SUZANNE ILENE SCHILLER

Attorney at Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox, LLP

Three Bala Plaza East, Suite 700

Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004

DANIELLE N. BAGWELL

Attorney at Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox, LLP

Three Bala Plaza East, Suite 700

Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004

 

Court Documents

#1

(#1) COMPLAINT against CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, CITY OF PHILADELPHIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH, CITY OF PHILADELPHIA MANAGING DIRECTOR ( Filing fee $ 402 receipt number APAEDC-16443359.), filed by SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA. (Attachments: #1 Case Management Track Form, #2 Designation Form)(SCHILLER, SUZANNE) (Entered: 01/20/2023)

1 #1

Case Management Track Form

1 #2

Designation Form

#2

(#2) NOTICE of Appearance by GARRETT DOUGLAS TREGO on behalf of SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA with Certificate of Service (Attachments: #1 Certificate of Service Certificate of Service)(TREGO, GARRETT) (Entered: 01/20/2023)

2 #1

Certificate of Service Certificate of Service

#3

(#3) NOTICE of Appearance by DANIELLE N. BAGWELL on behalf of SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA with Certificate of Service (Attachments: #1 Certificate of Service Certificate of Service)(BAGWELL, DANIELLE) (Entered: 01/20/2023)

3 #1

Certificate of Service Certificate of Service

#4

(#4) Summons Issued as to TUMAR ALEXANDER, THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH. (amas) (Entered: 01/23/2023)

 

Docket Entries

  • 01/23/2023
  • View Court Documents
  • Docket(#4) Summons Issued as to TUMAR ALEXANDER, THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH. (amas) (Entered: 01/23/2023)

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 01/20/2023
  • View Court Documents
  • Docket(#3) NOTICE of Appearance by DANIELLE N. BAGWELL on behalf of SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA with Certificate of Service (Attachments: #1 Certificate of Service Certificate of Service)(BAGWELL, DANIELLE) (Entered: 01/20/2023)

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 01/20/2023
  • View Court Documents
  • Docket(#2) NOTICE of Appearance by GARRETT DOUGLAS TREGO on behalf of SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA with Certificate of Service (Attachments: #1 Certificate of Service Certificate of Service)(TREGO, GARRETT) (Entered: 01/20/2023)

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 01/20/2023
  • View Court Documents
  • Docket(#1) COMPLAINT against CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, CITY OF PHILADELPHIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH, CITY OF PHILADELPHIA MANAGING DIRECTOR ( Filing fee $ 402 receipt number APAEDC-16443359.), filed by SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA. (Attachments: #1 Case Management Track Form, #2 Designation Form)(SCHILLER, SUZANNE) (Entered: 01/20/2023)

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less