Case Status:

Case filed (started): December 2017

Main Concern

Students with disabilities should be able to pursue relief, like money damages, that is available under the ADA but that they cannot get under IDEA, without first using up IDEA’s administrative remedies.


Miguel is a person who is deaf. In 2017, DRM attorneys helped Miguel file a case in administrative court, seeking relief under the ADA and IDEA for Sturgis Public Schools’ failure to provide Miguel with a qualified sign language interpreter for 12 years. Sturgis Public Schools and Miguel settled the IDEA claim, and the administrative court dismissed the ADA claim. Miguel then filed suit in federal court, seeking money damages under the ADA for his past harm. Money damages are not available under IDEA, but they are under the ADA.

The federal court dismissed Miguel’s claim for failure to use up his remedies in the administrative court and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal, even though Miguel’s IDEA claim was resolved and the money damages he seeks under the ADA are not available under IDEA.


Miguel, DRM and co-counsel on the case from the Law Office of Ellen Saideman, National Association of the Deaf, and Latham & Watkins LLP are waiting to see if the Supreme Court will accept the case for review of the Sixth Circuit’s decision.

Case name: Miguel Luna Perez v. Sturgis Public Schools, et al.

Plaintiffs: Miguel Perez

Defendants: Sturgis Public Schools, Sturgis Public Schools Board of Education

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