United States Supreme Court Opens the Door for Special Education Students’ Right to Bypass Due Process Hearings When Also Suing School District for Money Damages Under ADA: Perez v. Sturgis Public Schools, 598 U.S. ___(2023)


In a unanimous ruling issued on March 21, 2023, the United States Supreme Court decided in favor of a 27-year-old deaf student who sued his Michigan school district, claiming he was denied the services of a qualified interpreter for years, and was misled by teachers and administrators about his progress in school. The student, Miguel Perez, only sought monetary damages. The Court held that he was free to sue the district for money damages due to discrimination under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Court found that he did not have to “exhaust his administrative remedies,” prior to bringing such an action for damages. The doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies in a case involving the rights of a disabled student requires a litigant to file and complete a due process hearing before an agency like the Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA) on all claims stemming from a school district’s requirement to provide a student with a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).


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Latest News

Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP Partner Prevails in U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

  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

Legal Updates

New Features of Public Participation at School Committee Meetings

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.

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