Wednesday, April 26, 2006

No Fees!

The Ninth Circuit, in a split decision, affirmed the decision of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, which declined to award attorneys' fees to the parents of a child afflicted with the cri du chat genetic defect. The District Court had found that the school district had prevailed on the primary issues in the case and that the parents had only prevailed on minor issues. The parents, however, had prevailed in finding that their child had been denied FAPE for a period of time and the child had been awarded compensatory educational services. They had lost on a number of procedural challenges that they had made. Dissenting, Judge Wardlaw argued that the parents' success had been significant and warranted an award of attorneys' fees.

The decision in Park v. Anaheim Union High School District can be found here.

Not Exhausted

The V's claims that they were the victims of retaliation by the DeKalb County School District for asserting their child's rights under IDEA. They brought an action against the school district, asserting claims based on section 1983, the Americans with Disabilities Act, section 504, IDEA and the First Amendment. The District Court dismissed the action for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. The Elev enth Circuit affirmed, holding that the administrative procedures would give them the opportunity to present complaints with respect to any matter relating to the identification, evaluation or educational placement of their child, which would include the retaliation claims. The V's did not show that resorting to the administrative procedures would be futile or inadequate. Hence, the retaliation claims were dismissed.

The decision in W.T.V. v. DeKalb County School District can be found here.

Not Appealing

Pledging a new spirit of cooperation, the Baltimore school system has agreed to drop its challenge of a federal judge's order for state managers to oversee all departments affecting special education. For more information on this encouraging development, click here.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Sister Blog

In order to be conversant with what's on the blogosphere, you have to keep on top of it. For instance, back in September 2005, Charles Fox of Chicago, Illinois started the Special Education Law Blog, and I knew nothing about it until now. Of course, he may not have known about the FAPE Page until today (shame on him). At any rate, I plan on checking Charles's blog regularly, and you should as well.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Attorneys' Fees

The Third Circuit, in P.N. v. Clementon Board of Education held that a consent order could confer prevailing party status on parents in an IDEA case, allowing a Court to award them attorneys' fees. It also held that even de minimus relief could confer prevailing party basis. The decision can be found here.