Friday, February 06, 2009

More Due Process news

I got to work today. The link quit on the IEP tape, so I had to run around, and I'll have to get the new link to people. I talked to the Offfice of Administrative Hearings (OAH) in Laguna and, sure, the California Dept of Ed (CDE) gets dragged into hearings all the time - no problem naming them as respondents.

I found who I'm supposed to talk to at the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) at the US Ed Dept about CDE, but she was out. I got some referrals for lawyers when it comes to suing for damages if we have to go there, but I need to get more.

Now here's some great news. On 21 January, the US Supreme Court reversed the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals and ruled unanimously in Fitzgerald v Barnstable School Committee that 42 USC Section 1983 suits are NOT precluded unless Congress has provided a specific remedy that is clearly intended to replace 1983. IDEA 2004 doesn't even provide for damages, much less provide an alternate remedy to 1983, so that means Ed Heatley and other abusers can be held personally liable under Section 1983. It should now be easier to find someone to take it on contingency, if we need to go there - Due Process doesn't provide for money damages.

Read the Supreme Court decision. The reasoning is not difficult, and looking at it, I'm surprised that even appeals courts felt otherwise.

So now I've got to do some hard work getting the Due Process filing ready, and I have to hire a lawyer for the damage part if the Board decides to be unreasonable.

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