A Capehart Scatchard Blog

Tag: FAPE

Third Circuit Holds Parents Entitled to Attorneys’ Fees on IDEA Procedural Issue

By on November 14, 2017 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

Special education cases can be quite expensive for school districts to litigate. This is especially so when parents are prevailing parties and the fee-shifting provision of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) requires the school district to reimburse the parents for attorneys’ fees. Typically, parents are only entitled to attorneys’ fees if they are successful on the underlying merits of the case, not when they succeed on procedural or interlocutory issues. However, on October 11, 2017, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in H.E. v. Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter School held that parents can recover attorneys’ […]

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Stay-Put Shake-up: Third Circuit Holds Parents Entitled to Attorneys’ Fees for Non-Compliance with Stay-Put

By on August 30, 2017 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

By: Cameron R. Morgan, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has issued an important decision finding that parents in special education litigation with school districts will be considered “prevailing parties” entitled to an award of attorneys’ fees in the event the district ignores or fails to comply with its obligations under the “stay-put” provision of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”).  M.R. & J.R. ex. E.R. v. Ridley Sch. Dist., No. 16-2465, 117 L.R.P. 34473 (3d Cir. 2017).  On August 22, 2017, the Third Circuit issued its decision substantially altering the landscape of […]

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District Court Denies Parents’ Claims Against School Board Involving Nursing Issue

The parents of a disabled student brought claims against the Voorhees Township Board of Education (“Board”) alleging various violations, including violations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), for failing to place a nurse onsite at the school building the student would have attended for his extended school year (“ESY”) program. On June 5, 2017, the District Court for the District of New Jersey in R.G. v. Hill, found no violations and affirmed the Administrative Law Judge’s decision dismissing the parents’ claims. Neither the student’s individualized education plan (“IEP”) nor his medical needs required a nurse to be physically […]

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ALJ Finds Student Entitled to Section 504 Plan for Celiac Disease

By on April 25, 2017 in Special Education/504 with 1 Comment

On March 7, 2017, an Administrative Law Judge in K.I. o/b/o K.I. v. Moorestown Township Board of Education found that the Board violated Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act of 1973 by failing to offer a Section 504 plan to address the student’s celiac disease. The ALJ held that the Board failed to offer a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) under Section 504 when it offered an individualized healthcare plan (“IHP”) instead of a Section 504 plan to address the student’s medical condition. The student was in elementary school when she was first diagnosed with celiac disease, an autoimmune disease in […]

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U.S. Supreme Court Decides Substantive Standard for FAPE to Special Education Students

By on March 23, 2017 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

By: Cameron R. Morgan, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. For many months now, those involved in the world of special education have been patiently awaiting the issuance of one of the most important legal decisions in special education in the past 35 years, since the seminal Rowley decision was handed down in 1982. On March 22, 2017, the United States Supreme Court decided the case of Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, 580 U.S. ___ (2017), in which it confronted the difficult issue of the appropriate substantive standard for determining whether special education students have been provided with […]

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies Not Required in Non-FAPE Cases

In a long awaited case involving a student requesting the use of a service dog in school, the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled on February 22, 2017 in Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools that parents are not required to exhaust administrative remedies under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) when the heart of their complaint does not allege a denial of a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”). This case involved a student with cerebral palsy who qualified for special education and related services under the IDEA when she attended a public school in Michigan. As a result, she […]

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

By on September 21, 2016 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

Parents who bring claims on behalf of a disabled student under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (“IDEA”) against a school district are first required to follow the administrative process. In New Jersey, IDEA claims must first be filed with the State’s Office of Special Education Programs, and then the case is transmitted to the Office of Administrative Law for a due process hearing and disposition. A parent who disagrees with the Administrative Law Judge’s decision may then file an appeal in federal court. Are parents required to exhaust this same administrative process when they allege violations under Section 504 but not […]

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School District Granted Emergent Relief to Conduct Psychiatric Evaluation and Place Student in an Alternative Interim Setting

On November 23, 2015, Administrative Law Judge Caridad F. Rigo granted the Clifton Board of Education’s Request for Emergent Relief to complete a psychiatric evaluation of a special education student and to place her in an alternative interim educational setting due to escalating behaviors.  Clifton Bd. of Educ. v. K.M. o/b/o K.M., OAK Dkt. No. EDS 18260-15, Agency Dkt. No. 2016-23665, 2015 N.J. AGEN LEXIS 576 (Nov. 23, 2015).  K.M. was an eighth grade female student classified as emotionally disturbed eligible for behavior plans, counseling, among other interventions.  K.M. exhibited significant behavioral and discipline issues.  K.M. had been suspended from […]

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IDEA Does Not Limit Compensatory Education Claims to Two Years

On September 22, 2015, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision that will have widespread implications for New Jersey school districts in defending against claims brought by parents of special education students pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”).  The IDEA authorizes the courts to award compensatory education as remedy to a special education student who is successful in his or her claim that a public school district deprived the student of a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”).  For numerous years, school districts relied upon the two-year statute of limitations set forth in §1415(f)(3)(C) of the […]

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