Summaries of some of these successes follow, and are in addition to the substantial number of special education due process hearings in which we have assisted districts in prevailing:
Establishing That Two Year Statute of Limitations Applies to IEE Requests
In this precedent setting case, HLG successfully argued that the District did not have any obligation to “file or fund” in response to parents’ untimely request for an IEE. Parents’ request for the IEE was barred by the statute of limitations, because it was made 28 months after the District completed its evaluation of the student. The decision is the first opinion establishing a time limitation on parents’ ability to request IEEs in the state of California, and provides the clearest legal reasoning of any decision nation-wide, to date, for why the statute of limitations must apply to IEE requests. Download Case Document
Successful Affirmation That District Can Assert Previous Factual Findings Against Persistently Litigious Parents
In this case, a guardian who has engaged in litigation with the District over each of the past five annual IEPs attempted to relitigate factual issues that had already been determined in past OAH and federal cases. The District successfully prevented this attempt, and won on all issues presented. This decision provides a strong framework for how OAH should address the issue of relitigation by persistently litigious parents, and ensures that districts will not be forced to litigate the same claims across successive cases. Download Case Document
Successful Autism Programming Defense in Ninth Circuit
We successfully represented a large Southern California school district in a case involving a challenge to the district’s independent educational evaluator classroom observation policy. The parents had sought approximately $250,000 in reimbursements for autism programming and attorneys’ fees, but the Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of the district. Download Case Document
Successful Ninth Circuit Defense of District’s FAPE offer to SLD Student
We also represented another large California school district in defense of a claim by parents that the district had falsified the grades and progress reports of a learning disabled student through his entire high school career. The Office of Administrative Hearings, the federal district court, and the Ninth Circuit all ruled in favor of the district, finding that its program was solid, that its teachers and other witnesses were highly qualified and credible.
Successful Defense of a District’s Right to Terminate an NPA Autism Provider
In a federal district court case, we successfully defended a district’s right to terminate an NPA that was not complying with its contract terms. The parents had challenged the district’s right to make this change, arguing that the provider was an inherent part of the student’s IEP. However, we succeeded in convincing the court of the district’s independent authority to terminate private contracts for sub-standard private providers.
Successful OAH Due Process Hearing: Student Found Ineligible for Special Education as Seriously Emotionally Disturbed
Parents had withdrawn student from public school and enrolled her in a therapeutic boarding school. After many months in this placement, her parents then demanded public funding for the prior year’s placement claiming that District had erroneously found her ineligible for special education. The District prevailed on all issues, successfully defending its assessment results and against all other claims. In a lengthy, and detailed Decision, OAH agreed that student was ineligible and denied all of student’s requests. The case is hyperlinked below, and is useful for analyzing the numerous aspects of the emotional disturbance analysis. Download Case Document
Successful Ninth Circuit Defense Against Attorneys’ Fee Claim in Statutory 10-Day Offer Context
The District had made a statutory 10-day offer under the IDEA which was accepted the very next day without condition by student. However, student immediately sought an order from OAH that it “enter judgment” on the terms of the settlement. Student’s intent was to collect attorneys’ fees as “prevailing party” under the settlement. OAH declined to enter judgment, as did the trial court, and the Ninth Circuit also ruled in favor of the District.