California Supreme Court Denies Review in Vergara

The California Supreme Court today declined to review the California Court of Appeal’s unanimous decision in Vergara et al. v. California et al., Case No. B258589, which reversed a Los Angeles Superior Court decision invalidating five statutes governing the employment of California public school teachers.

The Vergara plaintiffs sued the State of California, several state officials, and three school districts in 2012, alleging that five statutes that provide California public school teachers with certain job security protections after a two-year probationary period violated the equal protection provisions of the California Constitution by causing students to be assigned to “grossly ineffective teachers” in violation of their fundamental right to educational equality. The California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers, represented by Altshuler Berzon LLP, intervened to help the State defend the statutes’ constitutionality.

After an eight-week trial, the trial court invalidated all five statutes. The Court of Appeal unanimously reversed that decision and ordered judgment to be entered in favor of the State and the teacher union intervenors and against the plaintiffs. The Court of Appeal held that the plaintiffs’ equal protection theories were fundamentally flawed, and that the challenged statutes do not violate equal protection, because the statutes do not require different treatment of any identifiable groups of students, do not cause any school district to hire, fire, or assign any particular teacher to any particular student, and do not result in disproportionate assignment of less effective students to low-income or minority students. Plaintiffs filed a petition requesting that the California Supreme Court review the Court of Appeal’s decision, but the Supreme Court today denied that petition. As a result, the case is now over.

Altshuler Berzon LLP represented the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers in the Superior Court, the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court.