Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP Partner Triumphs in Federal District Court
On February 8, 2022, in C.F. v. Scolaro et. al., the Federal District Court ruled in favor of Marshfield Public Schools (“Marshfield”) on motions for summary judgment, upholding the findings from the Bureau of Special Education Appeals. Attorney Felicia Vasudevan, a Partner at Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP, represented Marshfield throughout the case. Marshfield was among several individuals and entities being sued by the Parent of a student that attended Marshfield High School between 2019 and 2020. In the case, the Parent had unilaterally placed her child in an unapproved residential school, despite being accepted to numerous neighboring public schools. The Court upheld that Marshfield’s proposal to send the student to neighboring school districts or collaboratives was consistent with the requirements for the student to be educated in the least restrictive environment as there was no evidence that the student could not be mainstreamed with general education peers. The case reiterates that if the school district’s proposal provides a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment, the parents are not entitled to reimbursement for their unilateral placements.
Ms. Vasudevan is an attorney in the firm’s Education Law and Special Education Law Groups, working in regular and special education issues. She represents school districts in all aspects of special education litigation, from administrative hearings at the Massachusetts Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA) through all levels of judicial appeal. She represents school districts in matters of student discipline, civil rights issues, collective bargaining, public procurement, and employment issues. Ms. Vasudevan presents workshops to both client groups and at state conferences such as the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE). These workshops are on a variety of relevant education issues such as conducting investigations, evaluations, special education, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, state and federal student record regulations, bullying, and civil rights laws. Ms. Vasudevan received her Bachelor’s Degree from Stanford University, with a major in Public Policy and her Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School. Prior to law school, she taught high school mathematics for two years in San Jose, California, as part of Teach for America, and trained the incoming Teach for America Corps Members at Teach for America’s Summer Institute.
Attorney Felicia Vasudevan, a partner at Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP, received a favorable decision on behalf of her client, Marshfield Public Schools. The Plaintiff appealed the district court’s judgement that upheld a decision of the Massachusetts Bureau of Special Education Appeals (“BSEA”). However, as the notice was filed more than 30 days after entry, the First Circuit ultimately dismissed the appeal for being untimely. The Plaintiff also appealed the district court’s order, denying her motion to vacate. Read More
Following our Alert from March 16, 2023, Civility is Dead – The Supreme Court Rules Municipal Control of Public Speak Limited to Reasonable Time/Place/Manner Restrictions, which discussed the holding to the Supreme Judicial Court’s decision in Barron v. Kolenda and the Town of Southborough (SJC-13284), we promised to bring you more detailed guidance on developing a Public Speak policy for your public body or municipality. The Barron case involved a constitutional challenge to the Town of Southborough’s public comment policy, which attempted to impose a code of civility on members of the public who participated in public comment before public bodies. In Barron, the court interpreted the state constitution to mean that public bodies may request, but not require, that public commentators be respectful and courteous. Instead, a public body may set restrictions on reasonable time, place, and manner comments to ensure that the meeting retains an orderly and peaceable manner.