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UPDATED: SCOTUS to Determine IDEA Exhaustion Issues

On October 3, 2022, the Supreme Court for the United States accepted jurisdiction in the case of Perez v. Sturgis Pub. Schools, U.S. Supreme Court Case No. 21-887, to determine (1) whether, and in what circumstances, courts should excuse further exhaustion of the administrative proceedings under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) when such proceedings would be futile and (2) whether the IDEA requires exhaustion of a non-IDEA claim seeking money damages that are not available under the IDEA.

Previously, on June 25, 2021, the Unites States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held in the case of Perez v. Sturgis Pub. Schools, 3 F.4th 236 (6 Cir. 2021) that, because the plaintiff settled his IDEA claim with the school district before the administrative process under the IDEA had run its course, the district court did not err in dismissing his complaint against the school district seeking relief under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as his core complaint was that the school denied him an appropriate education, so his suit sought relief that was also available under the IDEA. To read the case, click here.


  • On November 10, 2022, the SCOTUS scheduled an oral argument in this case for January 18, 2023.
  • On January 18, 2o23, the SCOTUS heard oral arguments. To read the transcript of this oral argument, click here. To listen to this oral argument, click here.
  • On March 21, 2023, the SCOTUS issued its unanimous decision holding that a plaintiff is not required to exhaust the administrative process set forth in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) when the plaintiff is seeking relief that the IDEA cannot supply under other federal antidiscrimination statutes, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”). However, the SCOTUS specifically refused to address either whether the IDEA’s exhaustion requirement is susceptible to a judge-made futility exception or whether the compensatory damages the disabled student seeks in the ADA lawsuit are, in fact, available under that statute.
  • To read our blog entitled, “Exhausting Administrative Remedies Is Not Required When Seeking Compensatory Relief,” click 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.

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