Justia Education Law Opinion Summaries

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The DC Circuit held that the district court wrongly denied a stay-put injunction because it placed the burden of proof on the student rather than the local educational agency. Furthermore, the error had continuing adverse consequences for the student's claim for compensatory education. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. In this case, by holding that M.K. was not entitled to a stay-put injunction, the court held that the district court's order had the dual effect of both (i) empowering the school to continue excluding M.K. from its educational services, and (ii) limiting M.K.'s claim to compensatory educational relief for the time of that extended exclusion. The court reasoned that M.K.'s compensatory education request was not merely a "collateral consequence" of the underlying stay-put dispute, but it was part and parcel of it. View "Olu-Cole v. E.L. Haynes Public Charter School" on Justia Law

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After the Association filed suit alleging that the District's school funding practices inadequately fund charter schools, the district court rejected the Association's claims. The DC Circuit did not reach the merits of the Association's claims, holding that the district court lacked jurisdiction over the claims. In this case, none of the Association's claims under the School Reform Act, Home Rule Act, and Constitution arose under federal law within the meaning of the federal question statute. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's judgment and remanded for dismissal of the complaint for want of jurisdiction. View "D.C. Association of Chartered Public Schools v. District of Columbia" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court on a complaint filed by Thornton Academy and residents of Arundel (collectively, Plaintiffs) in connection with the decision of Regional School Unit 21 and its Board (collectively, RSU 21) not to allow Arundel middle school students to attend Thornton Academy at public expense, holding that the court did not misinterpret Me. Rev. Stat. 20-A, 1479. In their complaint, Plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment that RSU 21 incorrectly interpreted and applied Me. Rev. Stat. 21-A, 1479 in deciding that all Arundel public middle school students must attend the Middle School of the Kennebunks and that public funds cannot be used for those students to attend Thornton Academy. The superior court concluded that, pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 21-A, 1479(3)(A), RSU 21 must continue to allow Arundel middle school students to attend Thornton Academy at public expense. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that section 1479(3)(A) requires RSU 21 to provide the option for Arundel middle school students to attend Thornton Academy at public expense. View "Thornton Academy v. Regional School Unit 21" 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 First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court in favor of the Fay School, Inc. and Fay's Head of School as to Appellants' complaint alleging unlawful retaliation for demands for an accommodation for a certain condition of G., a twelve-year-old minor, holding that the district court correctly denied Appellants' claims. G., a former student of the Fay School, and her parents (collectively, Appellants) brought this suit against Fay after the school refused to remove wireless internet from its classrooms to accommodate G.'s alleged electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), a sensitivity to electromagnetic fields. Appellants alleged, among other claims, unlawful retaliation for an accommodation for G.'s condition, in violation of Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 49 U.S.C. 12203(a), breach of contract, and misrepresentation. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) damages are not an available remedy for a Title V retaliation claim premised upon an exercise of rights under Title III of the ADA; and (2) Appellants failed to raise triable issues of fact as to their contract and misrepresentation claims. View "G. v. Fay School" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the decision of the district court ordering Defendant to pay restitution for destruction of a cabin after a jury found him guilty of burglary but did not reach a verdict on an arson charge, holding that the court of appeals erred by applying an incorrect standard. Defendant was charged with second-degree burglary and first-degree arson for the destruction of a cabin in Minnesota that was burglarized and then set on fire. The jury found Defendant guilty of burglary but could not reach a verdict on the arson charge. The State declined to retry Defendant for arson, but, after determining that the arson was factually related to the burglary, ordered Defendant to pay restitution for the fire-damaged cabin. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that the burglary and the fire were sufficiently "factually intertwined" to allow restitution. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the court of appeals erred by applying a factual-relationship standard rather than a direct-causation standard when considering whether fire damage to the cabin was a result of Defendant's offense. View "State v. Boettcher" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied a writ of prohibition sought by the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) to prohibit Judge Robert Ruehlman from taking further action in a lawsuit filed against it in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, holding that Judge Ruehlman did not patently and unambiguously lack jurisdiction. After the OHSAA adopted new rules governing postseason competitions Judge Ruehlman granted a temporary restraining order enjoining the application of the rules in cases where the high school enrolled a student who attended seventh and eighth grades at one of its traditional Catholic Feeder Schools. The OHSAA then filed this action to prevent Judge Ruehlman from taking further action in the case and to order him to vacate the temporary restraining order. The Supreme Court denied the writ, holding that the subject matter of this dispute fell within the jurisdiction granted by the Ohio Constitution and Revised Code to the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas and that Judge Ruehlman properly exercised the subject-matter jurisdiction of the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas. View "Ohio High School Athletic Ass'n v. Ruehlman" on Justia Law

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Collins was a tenured professor at the University. A faculty committee found that Collins had misused grant money by purchasing equipment other than that in his grant proposals and using the equipment for personal purposes and concluded that his actions warranted “dismissal for serious cause” under the Academic Articles incorporated in Collins’s faculty contract. After an internal review, Notre Dame’s president dismissed Collins. Before criminal charges were filed against him, Collins filed suit, alleging breach of contract. Before his guilty plea, the district court granted Collins summary judgment on liability, finding that Notre Dame breached the contract by allowing one faculty member to both play a role in informal mediation and then serve on the hearing committee. The court did not decide whether the committee’s findings amounted to sufficient cause to dismiss a tenured faculty member. After Collins’s 2013 guilty plea to a federal felony charge for theft of government grant funds in this same conduct, Notre Dame re‐instituted Collins’s adjudication and dismissed him again. After the guilty plea, the court reaffirmed its earlier breach of contract finding, held a trial on damages, and awarded Collins $501,367, calculated as his lost compensation from his June 2010 dismissal until his February 2013 conviction. The Seventh Circuit reversed. The contract did not prohibit one faculty member from participating in informal mediation and then serving on the hearing committee and the undisputed facts show “serious cause” sufficient to warrant Collins’s dismissal. View "Collins v. University of Notre Dame Du Lac" on Justia Law

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This appeal arising from a mandamus action presented a matter of first impression for the Court of Appeal regarding the proper scope of judicial review of a school district's decision to deny a petition to renew a charter school. The trial court concluded it had to apply an extremely deferential standard of review because it believed the governing board of the Chino Valley Unified School District (District) was performing a quasi-legislative action when it denied the renewal petition submitted by Oxford Preparatory Academy (the Academy), an existing charter school within the District. Finding that the District's decision was not arbitrary or capricious, the trial court denied the Academy's writ petition. On appeal, the Academy contended the trial court applied the incorrect standard of review because the District's decision was quasi-judicial in nature and, therefore, the trial court should have applied a less deferential standard of review. The Court of Appeal concluded that a school district's decision pursuant to Education Code sections 47605 and 476071 to deny a charter school's renewal petition was a quasi-judicial action subject to review via a petition for administrative mandamus. In considering a renewal petition, the school district is not acting in a legislative function by creating new policy, but rather performing a quasi- judicial function by applying existing standards and rules defined by state statute to determine whether the evidence presented by the charter school regarding its past performance was sufficient to satisfy those standards. The applicable statutes allowed the District to deny a renewal petition only after conducting a hearing and making specific factual findings. Additionally, the Court concluded that after a charter school's initial petition was approved by a school district, the petitioner has a fundamental vested right to continue operating the charter school such that a school district's decision that deprives the petitioner of that right is subject to independent judicial review. The trial court did not apply these standards when reviewing the District's decision. Accordingly, the Court of Appeal reversed and remanded for reconsideration of the Academy's writ petition under the correct standards. View "Oxford Preparatory Academy v. Chino Valley Unified School Dist." on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court's judgment and held the continuous accrual theory applies here to the periodic pension benefit payments made to teachers. The court held that CalSTRS is barred by the three-year statute of limitations of Education Code section 22008 from asserting any claims against petitioners related to overpayments for periodic pension benefits to them that accrued more than three years before February 1, 2016; to the extent CalSTRS has previously deducted from petitioners' benefits monies claimed due for overpayments on periodic pension benefits accruing prior to February 1, 2013, CalSTRS is directed to return such collected funds to petitioners, and each of them; and CalSTRS, under the continuous accrual theory, is not precluded from asserting any claim regarding past overpayment, collecting upon such past overpayments, or adjusting any future monthly pension benefit payments of petitioners, where such periodic payments accrued on or after February 1, 2013. View "Blaser v. State Teachers' Retirement System" on Justia Law