Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Degree of Success

The Ninth Circuit, in Aguirre v. Los Angeles Unified School District, held that reasonable attorneys' fees are determined using the rationale of Hensley v. Echkerhart, a case decided under 42 U.S.C. 1988. Hensley held thta a partially prevailing plaintiff generally may not recover fees for unsuccessful claims.

Judge Pregerson, concurring in the decision, noted that arriving at a figure for reasonable attorneys' fees, where not all claims are successful, is partially a matter of discretion and not an arithmetic calculation. Where successful claims are related to unsuccessful claims, the plaintiff should be entitled to reimbursement for both. And even if the unsuccessful claims are unrelated to the successful ones, payment may be appropriate if the work performed on the unrelated claims is inseparable from that performed in furtherance of the successful claims.

How the Court will apply the Aguirre case and the Pregerson concurrence remains to be seen.

The decision can be found here.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Ruling to Benefit Disabled Kids

This article from The Jewish Week might be of interest to regular readers of this blog.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Class Action Lawsuit

A new class action lawsuit has been commenced against the City of New York by the parents of special education students. It is alleged that when there is a dispute about services, the City stops providing the services immediately until the dispute is resolved in favor of the student (if it is). In the past, the City had continued to provide the services until the dispute had been resolved at a due process hearing. A news story on the action can be found here.

New blog. Well, it's not really new, but it's new to me. I just discovered the Children's With Disabilities Blog. And you should discover it, too. (And I'm not just saying this because its moderator, Elizabeth's Mom, said nice things about my blog.)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Final Regs

Well, the new regs are out and you can find them here.


The Ninth Circuit, in P.N. v. Seattle School District, No. 1, held that a parent, who resolved her differences with the school district through a settlement agreement, which did not receive any judicial imprimatur, was not a prevailing party entitled to recover attorneys' fees under IDEA. This is not a new development in the law, but it underscores the necessity of getting any settlement agreement "so-ordered" by the Court. Otherwise, even if you gain benefits from the school district, you are going to have to pay your own attorney. This has been the law since Buckhannon Board & Care Home, Inc. v. West Virginia Dep't of Heath & Human Resources, and yet some people still screw it up.

The decision in P.N. can be found here.