Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

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Charter school parents sought to intervene in the St. Louis public school desegregation litigation to enforce a 1999 Desegregation Settlement Agreement. The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of the charter parents' motion to intervene, holding that the charter parents had standing. In this case, their pleading alleged that the charter schools will suffer a loss of funding and a decline in funding if plaintiffs prevailed and tens of millions of dollars could be transferred from the charter schools. Therefore, such an injury was neither conjectural nor hypothetical, and was sufficiently imminent to constitute an injury in fact. The court also held that the charter parents have established the elements of traceability and redressability. The court remanded for the district court to determine in the first instance whether the charter parents meet the requirements under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24 for intervention as of right or for permissive intervention. View "Ross v. Special Administrative Board of the Transitional School District of the City of St. Louis" on Justia Law

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The NAACP filed suit against the school district for voter dilution under section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA). The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's finding that (1) the NAACP had proved the preconditions for a section 2 vote dilution claim, and (2) the totality of the circumstances indicated that the district's black voters had less opportunity to elect their preferred candidate than other members of the electorate. The court held that the district court found a section 2 violation after engaging in the requisite precondition analysis and conducting a thorough totality-of-the-circumstances balancing. View "NAACP v. Ferguson-Florissant School District" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial in part of the University's motion to dismiss an action alleging violations of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The district court refused to dismiss the Title IX claims on the basis of sovereign immunity. The court agreed that the University waived its sovereign immunity under the Remedies Equalization amendment by accepting federal funds. View "Fryberger v. University of Arkansas" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit against the superintendent of the school district under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. 794, after their son committed suicide, alleging that the school had discriminated against their son on the basis of disability by failing to adequately protect him from being bullied by other students. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendant, holding that there was nothing in the record to establish that school officials knew of any specific instance of bullying before the son's death, aside from an October 7 altercation, which the school district responded to immediately and there were no further issues. Even crediting the evidence discovered after the son's death that he was being harassed at school, there was no evidence that the school district knew or even should have known about it. The court further held that, even under the deliberate indifference standard, plaintiffs failed to meet the standard articulated by the Supreme Court in Davis v. Monroe Cnty. Bd. of Educ., 526 U.S. 629 (1999). Finally, there was no authority for plaintiffs' claim that a school district can discriminate against a disabled student in violation of Section 504 after his death by failing to investigate harassment that might have occurred before he died. View "Barnwell v. Watson" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of qualified immunity in an action under 42 U.S.C. 1983 alleging that UMKC's decision not to renew plaintiff's contract was in retaliation of his free speech rights as a public employee. The court held that plaintiff's speech regarding the school's preferential treatment of student athletes was unprotected speech done pursuant to his duties as a lecturer. Plaintiff failed to show, using the particularized inquiry required, that his right to make this speech in these circumstances was clearly established. In this case, defendants could reasonably conclude that plaintiff spoke solely as an aggrieved lecturer in asking the Chancellor to investigate grading policies for student athletes. View "Lyons v. Vaught" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff's complaint alleging a Title IX student-on-student harassment claim against Culver-Stockton College after she was allegedly sexually assaulted by a Culver-Stockton student on campus. The court held that, assuming arguendo that plaintiff's status as a non-student did not preclude her from asserting a Title IX harassment claim, the complaint failed to state a plausible claim to survive dismissal under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). In this case, plaintiff failed to plausibly allege that the college acted with deliberate indifference, the college had actual knowledge of discrimination, and that either the alleged misconduct or the college's response to plaintiff's allegations had the required systemic effect such that she was denied equal access to educational opportunities provided by the college. View "K.T. v. Culver-Stockton College" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit on behalf of her son, alleging that VICC's race-based, school-transfer policy violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint, holding that plaintiff lacked standing because the mention of magnet schools and the generalized grievance about VICC's transfer policy for them was insufficient to allege an injury in fact. In this case, VICC had no administrative or supervisory authority over charter schools, which are independent public schools, governed by the state. Even if VICC's policy applied to charter schools, VICC still would not cause the son's injury because VICC does not make or adopt rules or regulations for charter schools. Because the son's injury was not fairly traceable to VICC, he lacked standing. View "E.L. v. Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation" on Justia Law

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Minn. Stat. 125A.06(d), by its plain language, does not impose a heightened standard that burdens school districts with an absolute obligation to guarantee that each blind student will use the Braille instruction provided to attain a specific level of proficiency. I.Z.M. filed suit against the District, alleging claims under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and non-IDEA claims for relief under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of the District's motions for judgment on the administrative record on the IDEA claim and for summary judgment on the non-IDEA claims. In this case, the ALJ cited the state regulation and expressly concluded that the District took all reasonable steps to provide instructional materials in accessible formats in a timely manner. In regard to the non-IDEA claims, the district court used the correct standard and correctly concluded that I.Z.M. failed to present evidence of bad faith or gross misjudgment View "I.Z.M. v. Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan Public Schools" on Justia Law

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Minnesota state law grants a child attending a nonpublic school the right to a free appropriate education (FAPE), as well as the right to dispute the provisions of special education services in an impartial due process hearing. In this case, R.M.M. and her parents have a right, under both state and federal law, to an impartial due process hearing to dispute the provision of a FAPE by MPS. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment. View "Special School District No. 1 v. R.M.M." on Justia Law