In the case of D.M. v. Bd. of Edn. Toledo Pub. Schs, N.D.Ohio No. 3:18CV1307, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9252 (Jan. 18, 2019), a federal district court held that the parent of a disabled student was not required to exhaust administrative remedies under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) where “the state agency charged with determining IDEA compliance” already dismissed the complaint.
In this case, a student attended school under an individualized education program (“IEP”). The parent arrived at school to find a school employee holding down the student’s “neck with one hand, while twisting [the student’s] arm behind his back with the other.” D.M. at 1. The student suffered injuries from the restraint including “scratches and bruising on [the student’s] face and neck, abrasions on [the student’s] knee and elbow, and a hematoma over [the student’s] left eye.” D.M. at 2. The parents brought a complaint against the school board and school employees with the Ohio Department of Education Office of Exceptional Children, which informed the parent “that the matter was outside the scope of the office’s responsibilities.” D.M. at 2. The parents then filed a lawsuit against the school board and school employees in a federal district court.
The school board and school employees sought to dismiss the federal lawsuit arguing that the parents did not exhaust their administrative remedies under the IDEA prior to bringing the lawsuit. As we blogged about here, parents must generally exhaust their administrative remedies under the IDEA “before the filing of a civil action *** [when] seeking relief that is also available under [the IDEA].” D.M. at 3. Here, however, the federal district court held that “[t]here are narrow exceptions to the exhaustion requirement” such as “when use of administrative procedures would be futile or inadequate to protect the plaintiff’s rights.” D.M. at 4. And, in this case, the federal district court found that exhaustion would be futile as “the state agency charged with determining IDEA compliance” already dismissed their complaint. D.M. at 5.
To read this case, here.
Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.
Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.