Justia U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Education Law
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D.S., a child with a disability who receives special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), appealed the district court's denial of his motion for summary judgment and grant of the Board's motion for summary judgment. After the child's parents disagreed with the functional behavioral assessment (FBA) that his school conducted, they sought an independent educational evaluation (IEE) at public expense.The Second Circuit held that an FBA is not an evaluation as that term is employed in the relevant IDEA provisions and that a parent's dissatisfaction with an FBA does not entitle them to a publicly funded IEE. In regard to the parents' disagreement with the child's 2014 reevaluation, the court held that parents need not file a due process complaint under the IDEA to disagree with an evaluation and that the statute of limitations does not apply here. Rather, the court held that the IDEA's cyclical evaluation process establishes the operative time frame in which a parent may disagree with an evaluation and obtain an IEE at public expense. Accordingly, the court vacated the judgment, reversed the district court's decision, and remanded for further proceedings. View "D.S. v. Trumbull Board of Education" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit on behalf of herself and her son under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), alleging that the Board denied her son a free appropriate public education (FAPE) and violated the stay-put provision of the Act by refusing to pay for services mandated by the child's individualized education plan (IEP).After the district court's judgment on remand, the Second Circuit held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying reimbursement for several of the expenses plaintiff requested. However, the district court did err in determining that the funds administrator could unilaterally reduce these services covered by the fund and that plaintiff must pay for half of the compensatory fund's fees. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded. View "Doe v. East Lyme Board of Education" on Justia Law

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After plaintiffs, the parents of students with disabilities, chose to withdraw their children from one private school and to enroll them in a new private school, they challenged the adequacy of the students' individualized education programs (IEPs). Plaintiffs also filed suit against the city under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to obtain public funding for the new school's tuition and services during the pendency of the students' IEP disputes.The Second Circuit held, on de novo review, that parents who unilaterally enroll their child in a new private school and challenge the child's IEP are not entitled to public funding for the new school during the pendency of the IEP dispute, on the basis that the educational program being offered at the new school is substantially similar to the program that was last agreed upon by the parents and the school district and was offered at the previous school. The court held that it is generally up to the school district to determine how an agreed-upon program is to be provided during the pendency of the IEP dispute. In this case, regardless of whether iBRAIN's educational program is substantially similar to that offered previously at iHOPE, the court held that the IDEA does not require the city to fund the students' program at iBRAIN during the pendency of their IEP dispute. Accordingly, the court affirmed in No. 19-1662-cv and vacated in No. 19-1813-cv, remanding with instructions. View "Ventura de Paulino v. New York City Department of Education" on Justia Law

Posted in: Education Law
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Conn. Genn. Stat. 4‐183(c) supplies an "explicit time limitation" of forty‐five days for appeals of final agency decisions under section 1415(i)(2)(B) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' complaint under the IDEA as time-barred. In this case, plaintiffs waited ninety days to commence their action and thus the district court properly concluded that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the case. View "P.M.B. v. Ridgefield Board of Education" on Justia Law

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Where a university takes an adverse employment action against an employee, in response to allegations of sexual misconduct, following a clearly irregular investigative or adjudicative process, amid criticism for reacting inadequately to allegations of sexual misconduct by members of one sex, these circumstances support a prima facie case of sex discrimination. When contesting an inference of bias based on procedural irregularity, an employer cannot justify its abandonment of promised procedural protections by recharacterizing specific accusations in more generic terms. Where a student files a complaint against a university employee, the student is motivated, at least in part, by invidious discrimination, the student intends that the employee suffer an adverse employment action as a result, and the university negligently or recklessly punishes the employee as a proximate result of that complaint, the university may be liable under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.The Second Circuit vacated the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's complaint against Hofstra under Title VII and the New York State Human Rights Law, alleging that Hofstra discriminated against him because of his sex when it fired him in response to allegedly malicious allegations of sexual harassment. The court held that the district court's decision conflicted with circuit precedent in Doe v. Columbia University, 831 F.3d 46 (2d Cir. 2016), and relied on improper factual findings. In this case, the complaint alleged circumstances that provide at least a minimal support for an inference of discriminatory intent. On remand, the court noted that the district court should consider Hofstra's potential liability under a cat's paw theory. View "Menaker v. Hofstra University" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against NYIT, alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL). Plaintiff alleged that NYIT discriminated against him based on his homosexuality and mental health disability.The Second Circuit affirmed in part, holding that plaintiff's 2010-11 claims were untimely, and the continuing violation doctrine did not apply to these claims. However, the court held that the district court erred in dismissing plaintiff's 2013-14 claims under the ADA and Title IX, because the four month statute of limitations for a New York State Article 78 Proceeding did not apply to these claims. Rather, a three year statute of limitations applied to both claims, and thus his claims were timely. Accordingly, the court vacated in part and remanded. View "Purcell v. N.Y. Institute of Technology - College of Osteopathic Medicine" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit held that the district court properly deferred to the decision of the New York State Review Officer (SRO), which concluded that student W.E. was not denied a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) for the eighth grade school year and that Northwood School was not an appropriate unilateral private school placement for the ninth grade school year. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's November 2016 judgment and order in part.To the extent that the district court failed to accord appropriate deference to the SRO's conclusion that Northwood did not provide W.E. specially designed instruction so as to constitute an appropriate private school placement for the tenth grade school year, the court reversed in part the district court's opinion and vacated the award of tuition reimbursement to plaintiffs for that school year. The court also affirmed a July 2017 opinion and order granting the district court's grant of summary judgment and vacating the award of compensatory education for the eighth grade year. View "W.A.v. Hendrick Hudson Central School District" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment in an action brought by parents of a student with an emotional disturbance against the school district. The parents claimed that the school district violated procedural requirements, provided an inadequate individualized education program (IEP) for more than two school years, and offered an inadequate IEP for a third year, which denied the student a free appropriate public education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The court agreed with the district court that the school district provided and offered the student a FAPE at all times and that any procedural violations did not entitle the parents to any relief. View "Mr. & Mrs. P. v. West Hartford Board of Education" on Justia Law

Posted in: Education Law
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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment in an action brought by parents of a student with an emotional disturbance against the school district. The parents claimed that the school district violated procedural requirements, provided an inadequate individualized education program (IEP) for more than two school years, and offered an inadequate IEP for a third year, which denied the student a free appropriate public education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The court agreed with the district court that the school district provided and offered the student a FAPE at all times and that any procedural violations did not entitle the parents to any relief. View "Mr. & Mrs. P. v. West Hartford Board of Education" on Justia Law

Posted in: Education Law
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Plaintiff filed suit alleging that defendant, the principal of Capital Prep, violated plaintiff's First Amendment right of freedom of assembly and his state-law right to be free from the intentional infliction of emotional distress in banning plaintiff from attending virtually all Capital Prep events, on or off school property, because of his opposition to defendant's bullying and harassing efforts to compel plaintiff's daughter to remain a member of the girls varsity basketball team. The district court denied defendant's motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity. The Second Circuit dismissed the appeal insofar as it related to the claimed due process violation, holding that the claim was not properly before the court. As to the First Amendment claim, the court held that defendant's motion for summary judgment was properly denied to the extent that plaintiff complained of being banned from events beyond school property and from sports contests on school property to which the public was invited; but defendant was entitled to qualified immunity as a matter of law to the extent that he banned plaintiff from school property otherwise. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and dismissed in part. View "Johnson v. Perry" on Justia Law