Pro Bono Client Curran Principal Academy Wins Dismissal In Suit Brought By One Of Its Graduates

Judge agreed with Kaye Scholer’s argument that training program does not guarantee employment with Archdiocese of New York or Diocese of Brooklyn

October 15, 2013

NEW YORK, NY (October 15, 2013)—Kaye Scholer successfully obtained a dismissal of a breach of contract lawsuit brought against the firm’s pro bono client, The Curran Principal Academy, by one of the program’s former fellows. (Torres v. The Paul J. Curran Fund A/K/A The Curran Principal Academy, New York Supreme Court-Queens County.)

Non-profit organization The Curran Principal Academy (The Principal Academy) is a rigorous training program established in 2008 aimed at preparing teachers to serve as principals of Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese of New York or Diocese of Brooklyn. The plaintiff had applied for, and was accepted, as a Fellow into The Principal Academy, which required the plaintiff to enroll in an 18-month Master’s Degree program in Educational Leadership at St. John’s University. The tuition would be paid by the Principal Academy. Upon successful completion of the Master’s Degree, the plaintiff would be assigned to serve as Assistant Principal in the Archdiocese of New York or Diocese of Brooklyn for a one year period and would receive a salary of up to $50,000. 

The plaintiff’s acceptance letter to the Principal Academy had explained that “[I]n connection with your acceptance to The Principal Academy, you agree that after completion of the year of service as an Assistant Principal, you would serve for an additional three-year period as a principal or administrator in a school in the Archdiocese of New York or Diocese of Brooklyn.” In the event he was not immediately employed as a principal or administrator, the letter continued, teaching in a Catholic school would also be considered acceptable, upon approval of The Principal Academy and the Archdiocese of New York or Diocese of Brooklyn.

After completing his initial year of service, the plaintiff applied for, but did not receive any employment offers, from the Archdiocese of New York or the Diocese of Brooklyn. He brought suit, alleging that The Principal Academy had breached a contract to provide him with three more years of guaranteed employment.

New York Supreme Court Judge Augustus Agate agreed with Kaye Scholer that the plaintiff’s acceptance letter to The Principal Academy lacked the essential and valid terms required to constitute a valid contract. The court noted that, while the letter asked the plaintiff to agree to three years of continued service, nothing in the letter required The Principal Academy to “to place the plaintiff in such a position or to find a position for him.”

The Curran Principal Academy was founded in honor of former Kaye Scholer partner Paul J. Curran, who served as the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan (US Attorney for the SDNY), was appointed Special Counsel to investigate President Carter and Chair of the NYS Commission of Investigation, and who was recognized as one of the leading trial lawyers in the country. Paul’s contributions to the firm spanned nearly a half century. The Kaye Scholer litigation team consisted of Partner Andrew Solow and Associate Jennifer Taiwo.

Kaye Scholer's pro bono efforts reflect the firm's commitment to the community, and are essential to the development of our lawyers. This commitment led the firm to become a charter member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, which requires that at least three percent of our overall practice must consist of pro bono work. We meet or exceed this challenge each year by providing quality legal assistance to a diverse range of clients.

Email Disclaimer