Case Status:

The United States Supreme Court has granted certiorari.

Case filed (started): Dec. 2017

Main Concern

Students with disabilities who have nothing more to gain from the IDEA’s administrative process should be able to pursue relief in federal court, like money damages, that is available under the ADA and not available under the IDEA.

Summary

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 the IDEA for Sturgis Public Schools’ failure to provide Miguel with a qualified sign language interpreter for 12 years. After receiving Miguel’s complaint, the administrative court first dismissed the ADA claim, and then later, Sturgis Public Schools and Miguel settled the IDEA claim. Miguel then filed suit in federal court, seeking money damages under the ADA for his past harm. Money damages are not available for violations of the IDEA, but they are available for violations of the ADA.

The federal court dismissed Miguel’s ADA claim for failure to seek remedies for his IDEA claims in the administrative court all the way through an administrative hearing. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision, even though Miguel had received complete relief for his IDEA claims and his ADA claim, seeking money damages not available under IDEA, was previously dismissed .

Outcome

Miguel, DRM, and co-counsel on the case from the Law Office of Ellen Saideman, National Association of the Deaf, and Latham & Watkins LLP have argued and the parties are now awaiting a decision. If the Supreme Court finds in Miguel’s favor, he will have the chance to prove his ADA claim in the trial court, the Western District of Michigan.

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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