A school district may sue its board members, employees, former board members and former employees for alleged mismanagement or misconduct

A school district may sue its board members, former board members, employees, and former employees for alleged mismanagement or misconduct
Roslyn Union Free Sch. Dist. v Barkan, 2012 NY Slip Op 07652, Appellate Division, Second Department

The Roslyn Union Free School District initiated a lawsuit  against Michael Barkan, Karen Bodner, William Costigan, Mary Ann Combs Ronna Niederman, Ellen Siegel, and Patricia Schissel to recover damages for alleged breaches of fiduciary duty and negligence.

Supreme Court denied their respective motions to dismiss the complaints insofar as asserted against each of them and they appealed the Supreme Court’s ruling to the Appellate Division.

The Appellate Division sustained the lower court's decision, rejecting their argument that, in the absence of specific enabling legislation, a school district may not commence an action against current or former members of its board of education.

Citing a decision by the Court of Appeals in a prior appeal in this action, Roslyn Union Free School Dist. v Barkan, 16 NY3d 643,the court explained that the plaintiff here – the Roslyn Union Free School District -- is a "corporation" and a corporation has the right to sue and be sued.

Accordingly, said the court, the school district has the right to prosecute an action "for injury and damages sustained by it by reason of mismanagement or misconduct in its affairs, waste of assets, or derelictions in duty by the directors, officers, agents or employees of the corporation."

Finding that the school district’s complaint “adequately alleges causes of action to recover damages for breach of fiduciary duty and negligence,” the Appellate Division dismissed the appeal.

The decision is posted on the Internet at: