The issue presented by this case was whether Washington's Zackery Lystedt Law (Lystedt law), RCW 28A.600.190, gave rise to an implied cause of action. The Lystedt law's purpose was to reduce the risk of further injury or death to youth athletes who suffered concussions in the state of Washington. Andrew Swank (Drew) died from complications after contact with another player during a high school football game. Drew reported having neck pain and headaches. Drew would play again, but the quality of his play "sharply declined." During the game, Coach Jim Puryear called Drew over to the sidelines, where he grabbed Drew's face mask and, according to Drew's father, "began to jerk it up and down hard while he screamed at [Drew], 'What are you doing out there, what are you doing out there?"' Drew returned to the game, where he was hit by an opposing player. He suffered head injuries and staggered to the sideline, where he collapsed. Drew died two days later. Drew's parents sued Drew's school, the football coach, and Drew's doctor on behalf of his estate and individually. The trial court granted summary judgment against the Swanks on all claims, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. The Washington Supreme Court held that an implied cause of action does arise from the Lystedt law. As a result, the Swanks' claims that Valley Christian School (VCS) and Coach Puryear violated the Lystedt law could proceed. The Court also held that the evidence against the coach was sufficient to permit a jury to find liability against the coach, despite the limited volunteer immunity protecting him. Consequently, the Court reinstated the Swanks' common law negligence claims against the coach. Finally, the Court held the trial court lacked personal jurisdiction over Drew's doctor. View "Swank v. Valley Christian School" on Justia Law
N.L. met Nicholas Clark at school track practice. She was 14, and he was 18. Both were students in the Bethel School District. Neither N.L. nor any responsible adult on the field knew that Clark was a registered sex offender who had previously sexually assaulted a younger girl who had been about N.L. 'sage at the time. The Pierce County Sheriff's Department had informed Clark's school principal of his sex offender status, but the principal took no action in response. Clark persuaded N.L. to leave campus with him and raped her. N.L. sued the district, alleging negligence. The issue this case presented for the Washington Supreme Court’s review centered on whether the School District’s duty to N.L. ended when she left campus and whether its alleged negligence, as a matter of law, was not a proximate cause of her injury. The Court answered both questions “no,” affirming the Court of Appeals’ judgment reversing the trial court’s dismissal of this case on summary judgment. View "N.L. v. Bethel Sch. Dist." on Justia Law
The issue before the Supreme Court was the overall adequacy of state funding for K-12 education under the Washington State Constitution. "The legislature must develop a basic education program geared toward delivering the constitutionally required education, and it must fully fund that program through regular and dependable tax sources." The Court found that the State failed to meet its duty under the constitution by consistently providing school districts with a level of resources that fell short of the actual costs of the basic education program. The legislature enacted reforms to remedy the deficiencies in the funding system, and the Court deferred to the legislature's chosen means of discharging its duty. However, the Court retained jurisdiction over the case to help ensure progress in the State's plan to fully implement education reforms by 2018. The Court directed the parties to provide further briefing to the Court addressing the preferred method for retaining jurisdiction. View "McCleary v. Washington" on Justia Law
Posted in: Constitutional Law, Education Law, Government & Administrative Law, Washington Supreme Court
Ten special education students and their parents and guardians (Appellants) sued Clover Park School District for intentional torts, outrage, negligence and unlawful discrimination under state law. Clover Park moved for summary judgment to dismiss, arguing that Appellants had not exhausted the administrative remedies available under the state Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The trial court granted Clover Park’s motion. Upon review, the Supreme Court reversed the trial court and remanded the case, holding that IDEA’s administrative exhaustion requirement does not apply to state-law claims nor does Washington State law require exhaustion before filing such claims. View "Dowler v. Clover Park Sch. Dist. No. 400" on Justia Law
In this case the issue presented for the Supreme Court's review was whether a thirteen-year old was denied due process rights when she was not appointed counsel at a truancy hearing. Despite a district court's order to attend school, E.S. missed classes from 2005 to 2007. At first, E.S. and her mother attended the hearings, but were not represented by counsel, nor did they ask that counsel be present. The court explained that E.S. would be "sentenced" to house arrest, work crew and detention if she did not comply with the order, but she continued to miss school. At E.S.' last court appearance, she was represented by counsel. She was ordered to spend six days in detention with electronic monitoring. E.S., through her attorney, filed a motion to have the home detention set aside, which was denied. The Court of Appeals vacated E.S.' sentence, finding that the child's "interests in her liberty, privacy and right to education [were] in jeopardy" at the truancy hearings, and that due process required counsel at each appearance. On appeal to the Supreme Court, the School District argued that Washington courts never required the appointment of counsel to protect a child's privacy and education interests. The Supreme Court agreed with the District. Upon review of the record, the state constitution and the applicable legal authority, the Court found that E.S. was not denied due process rights because she was not appointed counsel in the initial truancy hearings. The Court reversed the Court of Appeals' decision and remanded the case for further proceedings.