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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Court holds against district for failure to evaluate in a timely fashion

Integrated Design and Electronics Academy Public Charter School v. McKinley, 570 F.Supp.2d 28 (D.D.C. Aug 08, 2008): The D.C. District Court held for the parent on a claim that the school failed to evaluate in a timely fashion. The Court also found that the parent was a prevailing party and was thus entitled to attorney fees. This case is of note given a recent history of courts forgiving district violation of procedural obligations. Also, it is of significance that the court awarded attorney fees without an ultimate determination that the child was eligible under the IDEA.

Court allows ADA/504 claim to proceed

Miles v. Cushing Public Schools, Slip Copy, 2008 WL 4619857: A severely disabled child fell twice from a changing table. The parents sued alleging deliberate indifference to the child’s safety. The Court concluded that “the record contains sufficient evidence to create material factual disputes with regard to Plaintiffs' claims that Defendants intentionally discriminated against C.M. by exhibiting deliberate indifference to the likelihood that their actions, or their failure to act, violated his rights under the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA.”

Court requires more detailed analysis

E.M. ex rel. E.M. v. Pajaro Valley Unified School Dist., Slip Copy, 2008 WL 4615436(N.D.Cal. Oct 17, 2008): This case would almost certainly fly under the radar screen, yet it zeroes in on an issue of significance in New York State. Parents in New York State are often subjected to adverse administrative decisions that appear to result from the whim of the SRO or, in some cases, particularly in New York City, an “impartial” hearing officer. Here, the Court remanded the case back to the ALJ finding that the ALJ’s findings were conclusory and failed to “articulate adequately their underlying reasoning.”

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Settlement agreement enforceable in federal court

Many special education cases do not fit neatly within the prescribed process. Here, the Court found that the parents had not exhausted the administrative process, but allowed them to proceed in federal court on the basis of a violation of a settlement agreement. The district did not schedule a resolution session. The Court, nevertheless, held that the agreement was enforceable in federal court pursuant to 20 USC §1415(f)(1)(B)(iii), the provision affording Court jurisdiction for resolution agreements. See J.M.C. ex rel. E.G.C. v. Louisiana Bd. of Elementary and Secondary Educ., --- F.Supp.2d ----, 2008 WL 2421108(M.D.La. Jun 13, 2008).