Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

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Plaintiff filed suit under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), alleging that the school district did not offer her daughter a free appropriate public education (FAPE). On appeal, the school district challenged an award in favor of plaintiff. The Fifth Circuit held, without adopting the characterization that the district court created a new category of IDEA private school student, that the district court's order could not be supported based on a requirement of temporary services for transfer students; plaintiff took a financial gamble of not being reimbursed when she placed her daughter in a private school without first allowing the school district to seek to comply with its obligations under IDEA; and, although the district court failed to recognize the proper private school placement, that failure did not create a penalty beyond what otherwise would be owed. Because the district court erred by holding that the school district was obligated to provide temporary services and by ordering reimbursement of the costs associated with such services, the court reversed in part. The court affirmed the district court's holding that the school district failed to make a timely offer of FAPE, thereby making reimbursement an appropriate form of relief. The court remanded for the district court to determine the amount of reimbursement owed from April 24, 2014, to the end of the school year. View "Dallas Independent School District v. Woody" on Justia Law

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In this appeal stemming from the desegregation of the school district, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's rejection of the School Board's latest proposed candidate, approving instead the candidate supported by plaintiffs and the Court Compliance Officer. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in modifying the academic-qualifications requirement and the selection-and-approval process. The court also held that the district court did not err by denying the motion for relief from judgment under Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b) where a candidate's role with the Ministerial Alliance did not justify holding that the district court abused its discretion in appointing the candidate as Chief Desegregation Implementation Officer (CDIO). View "Moore v. Tangipahoa Parish School Board" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied rehearing en banc, withdrew its prior opinion, and substituted this opinion. The court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment as a matter of law for defendants on plaintiff's claim that defendants violated her constitutional rights by requiring her to participate in a mock performance of the Mexican Pledge of Allegiance as an assignment for her Spanish class. The court held that, because plaintiff has graduated from high school, her only surviving claim was for nominal damages arising from the alleged violation of her rights; judgment as a matter of law was proper for the District on municipal liability claims for any constitutional violation that may have arisen from the assignment or subsequent actions, as well as claims against the District for retaliation and violation of equal protection; qualified immunity on compelled speech was properly granted for the Spanish teacher and the principal; and qualified immunity was properly granted to the teacher and principal on claims that they violated plaintiff's First Amendment rights by removing her from class. View "Brinsdon v. McAllen Independent School District" on Justia Law

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After the University found that two former students violated the University's sexual misconduct policy, the students filed suit alleging that they were denied constitutional due process and were discriminated against in violation of Title IX. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the University and the individual defendants, holding that the students did not meet their summary judgment burden to demonstrate a genuine factual dispute that the process surrounding their disciplinary cases was constitutionally defective. The court rejected the students' allegations of selective enforcement and deliberate indifference. In this case, there was no sound basis for an inference of gender bias and the pleadings here did not meet the high standard of misconduct for deliberate indifference. View "Plummer v. University of Houston" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a wrongful termination suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and 1988, alleging violations of procedural and substantive due process stemming from legislation that abolished the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) and the University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB). The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings with respect to plaintiff's section 1983 claims because plaintiff failed to demonstrate that he had a constitutionally protected interest in employment or tenure at UTRGV or the UT System at large. The court explained that plaintiff's protected property interests were limited to an interest in continuing appointment at the institution that granted him tenure, UTPA, an interest which terminated when the university was abolished. Furthermore, the court denied by implication plaintiff's motion for leave to amend pleadings, and denied plaintiff's motion to alter or amend the judgment. The court also declined to exercise jurisdiction over and dismissed plaintiff's declaratory judgment claim. View "Edionwe v. Bailey" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against the District for damages under Title IX of the Education Act of 1972, 20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq., because he was repeatedly molested as a student by Michael Alcoser, while he was a vice principal and subsequently a principal of elementary schools in the District. The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's judgment awarding plaintiff $4,500,000 million, holding that the judicially implied private right of action under Title IX did not impose liability on a school district when the only employee or representative of the district with actual knowledge of the molestation was the perpetrator himself, even if the perpetrator had authority to institute corrective measures on behalf of the district to end discrimination by other individuals or in the school's programs. View "Salazar v. South San Antonio Independent School District" on Justia Law