A Capehart Scatchard Blog

Special Education/504

N.J. District Court Affirms Dismissal of Parent’s Special Education Case as Time-Barred

By on February 25, 2020 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

In a case decided on February 11, 2020 by the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, Camden Vicinage, the Eastampton School District (“District”) successfully dismissed a parent’s lawsuit brought under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) on the basis that it was filed beyond the two-year statute of limitations. In McLean v. Eastampton School District, the parent of a special education student initiated a due process petition in August 2018 against the District alleging that an individualized education program (“IEP”) developed by the District in June 2016 failed to provide the student with a free […]

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Court Affirms Dismissal of Parent’s Suit Challenging School’s Communication Plan Setting Reasonable Limits on Father’s Constant, Aggressive E-mails

By on January 28, 2020 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

In the world of special education, parents come in all shapes and sizes in terms of their mode of interaction with the child study team and school personnel.  Some parents of special needs children are cordial, while others are friendly and appreciative.  Some are matter-of-fact, while others can be much more emotional or animated.  Special education parents come with varying degrees of how engaged they are or wish to be in the process of planning and communicating with the school district child study team.  For the thousands of child study team members around the country who serve as case managers, […]

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Third Circuit Clarifies Law on Independent Evaluation Requests & Need for Disagreement with District Eval

By on December 16, 2019 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

Occasionally, school district child study teams (“CSTs”) are faced with special education parents who are resistant to allowing the CST to evaluate their child, yet demand independent evaluations from an outside evaluator at the school district’s expense.  In such circumstances, districts were often faced with a dilemma – either acquiesce to such demands, or file for due process themselves and incur legal fees to resist such requests, or deny the parent’s request without filing for due process and risk an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) finding that the district committed a procedural violation.  This is because previous decisions of the Office […]

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OSEP Clarifies: Parental Consent Not Required to Conduct Post-Secondary Transition Assessments if Child Study Team not Reevaluating

By on April 22, 2019 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

By: Cameron R. Morgan, Esq. and Nicole Crincoli, Law Clerk The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) requires informed parental consent to be provided prior to a child study team performing any number of different actions in the course of the special education process.  Whether a school district needs to obtain written parental consent prior to administering postsecondary transition assessments had been a question of some debate.  In a recent guidance letter from the Office of Special Education Programs (“OSEP”), Letter to Olex, 119 L.R.P. 8445, 74 I.D.E.L.R. 22 (Feb. 22, 2019), OSEP indicated that individualized education program (“IEP”) teams generally […]

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Special Education Settlement Subject to 6-Year Statute of Limitations

When boards of education resolve disputes with parents of special education students, they often enter into settlement agreements with the parents which are approved by an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) of the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law (“OAL”). On February 27, 2019, the New Jersey Appellate Division in L.A. v. South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education issued a decision affirming that parties to a settlement agreement approved by the OAL are subject to a six-year statute of limitations to enforce that agreement. In 2000, the parent of a special education student initiated litigation against the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education (“Board”) seeking reimbursement […]

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District Court Denies Parents’ Request for IEE

Parents of special education students have the right to request an independent educational evaluation (“IEE”) at the expense of the school district if they disagree with any assessment conducted as part of an initial evaluation or a reevaluation conducted by the school district. However, that right is not unfettered. On January 31, 2019, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey in S.S. and M.S., o/b/o H.S. v. Hillsborough Township Public School District overturned an Administrative Law Judge’s decision and determined (1) parents are only entitled to an IEE at the district’s expense when they disagree with an evaluation or reevaluation […]

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Parents Not Entitled to IEE at Public Expense Due to Minor Flaws in Reevaluation

By on October 10, 2018 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

In the realm of New Jersey special education, it is not a rare occurrence for parents to request an independent educational evaluation (“IEE”) of a special education student at public expense in response to an evaluation of the student conducted by the child study team.  Each year, New Jersey school districts are faced with hundreds of requests for IEEs at public expense.  The vast majority of these are granted voluntarily by the district, sometimes on the basis of a cost-benefit assessment that has little to do with whether the evaluation was appropriately conducted or whether the IEE will shed any […]

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Attorney’s Fees Relevant to Ten-Day Offers in IDEA Cases

A major concern for school districts in special education cases is the potential for parents to recover attorney’s fees if they are considered prevailing parties under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”). School districts may limit exposure by extending a “ten-day offer” in which it makes an offer of settlement to the parents at least ten days before an administrative due process hearing. If the parent rejects the ten-day offer, the parent may only recover attorney’s fees for work done after the time of the offer if (1) the hearing leads to more favorable relief than the offer included, […]

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ALJ Grants IEE Due to District’s Failure to File for Due Process

The New Jersey regulations under N.J.A.C. 6A:14-2.5(c) address the rights of a parent of a special education student to an independent educational evaluation (“IEE”) at the school district’s expense. A decision issued by a New Jersey Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) on January 9, 2018 in S.S. and M.S. o/b/o H.S. v. Hillsborough Township Public School District highlights the importance of complying with procedural requirements if a school district wishes to deny a parent’s request for an IEE. On June 6, 2017, the parents in this case requested an IEE performed at the Hillsborough Township Public School District’s (“District”) expense. The District notified […]

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Third Circuit Upholds Dismissal of Parents’ Complaint for Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies – Again

By on February 27, 2018 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

In the last year, our federal courts have addressed the exhaustion of administrative remedies requirement for parents who bring claims against a school district on behalf of a disabled student under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (“Section 504”). Notably, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in February 2017 in Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools that parents are required to exhaust administrative remedies under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) when the heart of their complaint alleges a denial of a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”). The Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which applies to New Jersey, recently applied the […]

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