A Capehart Scatchard Blog

Tag: FAPE

District Court Affirms Failure to Strictly Implement “Door-to-Door” Transportation Did Not Violate IDEA

By: Becky Batista, Law Clerk Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. On March 17, 2022, the U.S. District Court of New Jersey affirmed the ruling of an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) in S.W. v. Elizabeth Board of Education that “transportation to and from the corner bus stop rather than from the disabled child’s home did not rise to the level of a denial of a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”), did not significantly impede the parents’ opportunity to participate relative to his education and did not cause a deprivation of educational benefits.” In S.W., the parents of a disabled student sought […]

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Court Approves Settlement Agreement Involving Incarcerated Disabled Students and NJDOC and NJDOE

By: Becky Batista, Law Clerk Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. On March 3, 2022, the U.S. District Court of New Jersey approved a settlement agreement between a class of incarcerated students with disabilities and the New Jersey Department of Corrections (“DOC”) and New Jersey Department of Education (“DOE”) in Adam X. v. New Jersey Department of Corrections. The plaintiffs filed a civil rights class action lawsuit on behalf of incarcerated disabled students in DOC adult prisons. These students were eligible for special education. They alleged that the DOC and DOE failed to provide special education or related services and equal […]

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Third Circuit Clarifies that Decisions Approving Voluntary Special Education Settlements are Appealable Under IDEA

By: Becky Batista, Law Clerk Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) permits any aggrieved party of an administrative finding to file an appeal in federal district court. Typically, an administrative finding is a final decision by an Administrative Law Judge on the substance and merits of an underlying due process petition brought by parents of a special education student against a public school district. On March 16, 2022, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued a precedential opinion in G.W. v. Ringwood Board of Education clarifying that the entry of a “Decision Approving Settlement” […]

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Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies May Not Apply to Section 504 Claims

By on September 29, 2020 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

On September 23, 2020, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in McIntyre v. Eugene School District that the exhaustion of administrative remedies is not required when the claims do not allege a denial of a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”). The case involved a student with attention deficit disorder who alleged that her school district violated Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act when it did not provide her with disability-related testing accommodations and failed to follow an emergency health protocol. In the complaint, […]

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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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Proactive Representation Part II: Proving a Case for Emergent Relief on Behalf of a School District

By on February 6, 2018 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

By: Cameron R. Morgan, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. In last week’s segment, we discussed the importance of filing for due process and seeking emergent relief on behalf of a school district when the parents of a child receiving special education and related services take action, or refused to take action, in a way that prevents the district from fulfilling its legal obligation under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) to provide the child with his or her right to a free and appropriate public education (“FAPE”). Today, we discuss the mechanics of doing so and highlight the […]

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Proactive Representation Part I: Knowing When to File for Due Process or Seek Emergent Relief on Behalf of a School District

By on January 30, 2018 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

By: Cameron R. Morgan, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. In the increasingly litigious world of special education, New Jersey school districts and Board attorneys are generally accustomed to being on the receiving end of lawsuits with parents. Yet, understanding how and under what circumstances to file for due process or seek emergent relief can be just as important to ensuring your district is legally compliant as defending a due process petition filed by a parent. Special education practitioners representing districts that are facing uncooperative parents would do well to remember one thing: when parents place the child study team […]

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U.S. DOE Issues Q&A on Endrew F. Case

By on December 19, 2017 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

On March 22, 2017, the United States Supreme Court decided the case of Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District in which it revised the national standard for determining whether a special education student has received a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”). On December 7, 2017, the United States Department of Education (“DOE”) issued a Questions and Answers (“Q&A”) document on this important case. In short, the Endrew F. Court held, “To meet its substantive obligation under the IDEA, a school must offer an [individualized education program] reasonably calculated to enable a child […]

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Parent’s Untimely Notice Does Not Automatically Bar Tuition Reimbursement Claim

By on December 5, 2017 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

By: Cameron R. Morgan, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. One of the most common scenarios giving rise to special education litigation is a due process petition filed by parents against their school district in order to seek tuition reimbursement for the costs of a private school, after the parents have unilaterally placed the child in the out-of-district placement.  Bringing a motion to reduce or deny tuition reimbursement, if it can be shown that the parents failed to timely provide the notice, has traditionally been one of the simplest and most effective defenses a school district can assert in defending […]

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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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