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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Virginia district court makes substantial attorney fee award and grants interest to parents

JP ex rel. Peterson v. County School Bd. of Hanover County, Va., 641 F.Supp.2d 499 (E.D.Va. 2009): Parents lost at hearing on their private school reimbursement claim. The district court reversed in favor of the parents; the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated and remanded for reconsideration finding that the district court had failed to accord sufficient deference to the hearing officer’s decision. Upon reconsideration, the district court again found for the parents. The court awarded interest and credit card transaction fees to compensate for tuition payments made on their credit cards. The court also found that the parents were substantially justified in rejecting the district’s offer of judgment due to the inadequacy of the amount of attorney fees offered. The court ultimately awarded the attorneys over $300,000 in fees. The court’s attorney fee analysis is worth reading.