National Center for Youth Law

STRATEGIES

Martin A. v. Giuliani
also known as Martin A. v. Gross; consolidated for disposition with Cosentino v. Perales

This case was filed on behalf of children who had been reported as victims of abuse or neglect to New York City’s Child Welfare Administration (CWA) (now referred to as the Administration for Children’s Services), which failed to provide necessary services or to respond quickly and appropriately to reports of child abuse and neglect.

Overview

FILE NO., COURT AND DATE FILED

24388/85 (Supreme Court of the State of New York, Oct. 18, 1985)

CITATIONS

138 Misc.2d 212 (1987); l53 A.D.2d 8l2, 546 N.Y.S.2d 75 (N.Y. l989); 171 A.D.2d 491, 567 N.Y.S.2d 56 (N.Y. 1991); 194 A.D.2d 195, 605 N.Y.S.2d 742 (N.Y. 1993)

ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFFS

Marcia Robinson Lowry
Shirim Nothenberg
Children’s Rights, Inc.
330 Seventh Avenue, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10001
(212) 683-2210
Fax: (212) 683-4015
snothenberg@childrensrights.org

Robert Goodman
Debevoise & Plimpton
919 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10022
(212) 909-6000
Fax: (212) 521-7967
rgoodman@debevoise.com

HISTORY AND STATUS

This case was consolidated with Cosentino v. Perales because plaintiffs in both suits requested that city and state defendants provide sufficient services to enable families to remain together. State statutes and the constitutional right to family integrity formed the core of both actions.

On April 27, 1987, the court granted relief to the named plaintiffs and issued a preliminary injunction directing the city to develop and implement a plan for delivering preventive services consistent with its constitutional and statutory obligations. Defendants appealed the preliminary injunction. On September 29, 1989, the Appellate Division affirmed the preliminary injunction.

Plaintiffs filed four class certification motions between 1986 and 1992. The trial judge rejected all four without prejudice on the grounds that plaintiffs failed to present enough proof that the circumstances of the named plaintiffs exemplified systemic problems.

In 1994, it became apparent that the process of class certification was going to be extraordinarily protracted, so plaintiffs’ counsel proceeded with the damages claims for the individual plaintiffs, and withdrew the injunctive issues (which then became part of Marisol v. Pataki). The State Supreme Court then decided to separate the cases of each of the families and try them individually.

In 1996, plaintiffs won an award of $87,500 in the D case, in which three year-old twins were abused after placement in the infirmary of an adolescent group home because there were no adequate programs for children with AIDS.

The G case was brought on behalf of the surviving siblings of Adam Mann, a five year-old who was beaten to death by his parents in 1990 after the city failed to investigate adequately numerous reports that he and his siblings were being abused. The case was ready for trial in mid-summer 1996, when the city appealed pre-trial rulings. The Court of Appeals granted plaintiffs leave to plead claims under both substantive due process and negligence theories.

On August 31, 1999, the Court of Appeals ruled against plaintiffs’ claims, but allowed plaintiffs to submit the same claims in the State Supreme Court. Plaintiffs filed five separate amended complaints on behalf of A, B, C, F and G on October 14, 1999. All of these cases settled in 2000.