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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Settlement offer does not deprive the hearing officer or the Court of subject matter jurisdiction

A.O. v. EL PASO, 09-50332 (5th Cir. 3-3-2010): District offered parent all requested relief including reasonable attorney fees. Parent declined the offer wanting to go to hearing instead. The IHO dismissed the hearing request. The district court remanded the case for an impartial hearing and the 5th Circuit affirmed citing to its decision in Richard R. The 5th Circuit highlighted that the IDEA allows for limitation of attorney fees for rejection of a settlement offer when ultimately the parent attains relief no greater that that which was offered in settlement, but that the settlement offer does not deprive the IHO or the court of jurisdiction over the claim.