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 Home > News > The Special Ed Advocate News Alert, April 5, 1999


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UPDATE ON THE ASBURY CASE FROM WRIGHTSLAW.COM

Many readers of our newsletter remember the Daniel Asbury case. Daniel is a young autistic child who receives ABA therapy. In the Spring of 1998, before a due process hearing, his case settled for $133,000. The press release and settlement agreement are in the Advocacy Library (link below). His parents also sued the state of Missouri.

We received an update from Kansas attorney Mary Jane White who represents Daniel and his parents:

Dear Pete and Pam:

I thought you might be interested in an update on the Asbury case.

The Asbury claims against Missouri SEA (DESE) have also been taken up by Missouri P & A, who, with their special standing to seek systemic relief, have effectively converted these claims in to a form of "class action."

Before Missouri P & A agreed to join in the claims, the claims survived DESE's motion to dismiss. These claims include complaints about child find, categorization, failure to disseminate promising research, failure to implement promising research, failure to train and certify autism teachers and failure to enter into appropriate interagency agreements to benefit preschool children with autism.

Section 504 compensatory and punitive damage claims also survived, even under the 8th Circuit's narrow rulings requiring gross professional misjudgment.

DESE, the Asburys, their attorneys and Missouri P & A go to federal mediation with ALJ Lyn Beekman of Michigan (who sat as the hearing officer on 4 recent due process "Lovaas" cases in Michigan, and who participated in the Michigan task force concerning Lovaas-style interventions) as the court-approved neutral. Mediation may continue through mid-April of 1999.

Trial is November 1, 1999. Jury trial has been requested.

Mary Jane White
mjwhite@sbtek.net

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