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Education Year(s) in Review

Education Year(s) in Review

Education Year(s) in ReviewGilbert McWherter Scott & Bobbitt continue to yield unprecedented results in education law cases. A sampling of reported opinions from 2018-2019 is below. The firm focused most heavily on least restrictive environment (inclusion) cases; restraint and isolation cases; and state liability for failures to educate. Collectively, these cases provide protections for children as early as age 3 to be mainstreamed/included; free from excessive restraints and isolations; and, where violations do occur, the ability to hold the state education system accountable.

According to firm founder Justin Gilbert, “We’ve been fortunate to represent the smallest of children at the pre-K level, making a fundamental change in their educational lives. At the other end of the spectrum, we have worked with outstanding young women who stood up against collegiate abuse under Title IX. I really think that gives our law firm an unmatched perspective of advancing youth no matter the age, education level, or opponent.”

Pre-K

A.H. v. Clarksville-Montgomery Cty. Sch. Sys., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20060 (M.D. Tenn. Feb. 7, 2019) (mainstreaming opportunities must be offered in Pre-K, even if state only funds Pre-K for students with disabilities)

L.L. v. Tenn. Dep’t of Educ., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25194 (M.D. Tenn. Feb. 15, 2019) (Least Restrictive Environment applies in preschool)

Least Restrictive Environment (Inclusion) and Segregation Cases

L.H. v. Hamilton Cty. Dep’t of Educ., 900 F.3d 779 (6th Cir. 2018) (successful representation of child with Down syndrome, establishing least restrictive environment standard)

L.H. v. Hamilton Cty. Dep’t of Educ., 356 F. Supp. 3d 713 (E.D. Tenn. 2019) ($349,249.50 in fees awarded for successful representation of child with Down syndrome).

S.P. v. Knox Cty. Bd. of Educ., 329 F. Supp. 3d 584 (E.D. Tenn. 2018) (illegal to bus students with epilepsy to separate school with a nurse)

J.A. v. Smith Cty. Sch. Dist., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 214346 (M.D. Tenn. Dec. 20, 2018), affirmed, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35989 (M.D. Tenn. Mar. 6, 2019) (favorable least restrictive environment decision for kindergarten child with Down syndrome)

Illegal Isolation and Restraint

I.L. v. Knox Cty. Bd. of Educ., 257 F. Supp. 3d 946 (E.D. Tenn. 2017) (first judgment under the Special Education Behavior Supports Act—SEBSA—for unlawful isolation of child with Down syndrome).

N.S. ex rel. J.S. v. Tenn. Dep’t of Educ., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55941, 2017 WL 1347753 (M.D. Tenn. Apr. 12, 2017) (SEBSA is enforceable through the IDEA)

Title IX

Doe v. Hamilton Cty. Bd. of Educ., 329 F. Supp. 3d 543 (E.D. Tenn. 2018) (establishing liability under Title IX for failed preventive measures)

Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies

P.G. v. Rutherford Cty. Bd. of Educ., 313 F. Supp. 3d 891 (M.D. Tenn. 2018) (physical force/abuse does not require due process exhaustion)

A.A. v. Walled Lake Consol. Schs, Civil Action No. 16-14214, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91933 (E.D. Mich. June 15, 2017) (separate exhaustion under ADA and 504 is not required where IDEA relief is exhausted)

State Liability

L.L. v. Tenn. Dep’t of Educ., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25194 (M.D. Tenn. Feb. 15, 2019) (State may be liable for failing oversight obligations relating to Least Restrictive Environment in preschool)

J.M. v. Tenn. Dep’t of Educ., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 222621 (M.D. Tenn. Dec. 14, 2017) (state may be held liable for illegal isolations under IDEA and Section 504 and ADA).

J.M. v. Tenn. Dep’t of Educ., 358 F. Supp. 3d 736 (M.D. Tenn. 2018) (IDEA is enforceable against the state for “monitoring and oversight requirements”)

N.S. ex rel. J.S. v. Tenn. Dep’t of Educ., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55941, 2017 WL 1347753 (M.D. Tenn. Apr. 12, 2017) (state is liable under the IDEA)

A.H. v. Clarksville-Montgomery Cty. Sch. Sys., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20060 (M.D. Tenn. Feb. 7, 2019) (state may be held liable for knowingly allowing lack of any mainstreaming opportunities for pre-K to exist for years)

 

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