A Capehart Scatchard Blog

Tag: U.S. District Court of New Jersey

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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Court Affirms Failing to Collaborate Gives Reason to Deny Tuition Reimbursement Under the IDEA

By: Sean P. Dugan, Law ClerkEditor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. On June 8, 2021, the U.S. District Court of New Jersey affirmed the ruling of an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) in I.G. et al. v. Linden City Board of Education that the parents of a student with a disability who unilaterally placed their child in a private school were not entitled to tuition reimbursement. In Linden City, the parents of the student sought reimbursement for the private school tuition. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), a parent who does not believe that their child is being provided a […]

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Second Circuit Holds FBAs Are Not “Evaluations” for Purposes of Special Ed Parents’ Independent Evaluation Requests

By on October 13, 2020 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

In a precedential opinion sure to make waves in the special education community, on September 17, 2020, in D.S. v. Trumbull Board of Education, 120 L.R.P. 133 (2d Cir. 2020), the Second Circuit Court of Appeals held that functional behavioral assessments (“FBAs”) of special education students conducted by a public school district are not “evaluations” capable of triggering a parent’s right to request an independent educational evaluation (“IEE”) from the district by an outside evaluator, at public expense.  The case puts front and center an issue of first impression that has rarely been addressed in the district courts of the […]

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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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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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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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District Court Addresses Issue Involving Waiver for Enrollment in Honors/AP Classes

By on September 26, 2017 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

The North Valley Regional High School District had a policy in which students could enroll in Honors or Advanced Placement classes by obtaining a teacher’s recommendation. Without a recommendation, a student could “waive” into such a class if the student and parents sign a document stating that they understand the requirements and demands of the course and that no accommodations would be made. Two parents of learning disabled students sued North Valley in federal court seeking injunctive relief. They claimed that the policy discriminated against the students in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. On September 6, 2017, the […]

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First Amendment Does Not Protect Student Speech That Amounts to HIB

By on November 1, 2016 in Students with 0 Comments

What is the connection between the First Amendment right to free speech and the New Jersey Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act? On October 20, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey in Dunkley v. Greater Egg Harbor Regional School District, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145389 (2016) answered this precise question: a student’s First Amendment right to free speech is not protected when that speech amounts to harassment, intimidation, or bullying (“HIB”). In December 2013, high school senior Bryshawn Dunkley was suspended for two days for his out-of-school conduct in which he posted a video on YouTube […]

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