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Anatomy of a Case:
Burriola v. Greater Toledo YMCA


Jordan Burriola is an eight-year old child with autism. He was enrolled in the day care program since January 1999. He attended the M.O.D.E.L. Community School since the fall of 1998. Jordan exhibited some violent and destructive behaviors at the YMCA daycare program. With appropriate modifications by the day care staff, these behaviors could be eliminated or reduced. 

The school trained two staff members in simple techniques that would work with Jordan. Although these supports were to be implemented at the day care center, defendant, Kathy Miley, the Director of Family Services for the West Family YMCA “instructed the staff not to implement any of the supports.” Two weeks after the last staff member trained by M.O.D.E.L left the center, Jordan was terminated from the program. 

Several days later, this suit was filed alleging violations of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. (Read the Complaint filed in Jordan's case)

The plaintiff sought an injunction requiring the day care center to reinstate Jordan into the program. This was not an IDEA case.

The Court heard four days of testimony and oral argument.

On January 3, 2001, Judge James G. Carr of the U. S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, Western Division, issued a scathing opinion against the Greater Toledo YMCA on behalf of Jordan Burriola in Burriola v. Greater Toledo YMCA, et. al. (case number 3:00CV7593)

The Court discussed the facts of the case in detail and related them to the factors that must be balanced in determining whether to issue an injunction:  “(1) the likelihood that the party seeking the preliminary injunction will succeed on the merits of the claim; (2) whether the party seeking the injunction will suffer irreparable harm without the injunction; (3) the probability that granting the injunction will cause substantial harm to others; and (4) whether the public interest is advanced by the issuance of the injunction.” 

We want to thank Tom Zraik, Jordan's attorney, who provided us with the pleadings and his analysis of the case

Links to documents in Burriola v. Greater Toledo YMCA

Complaint (in pdf)

Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Memorandum in Supprt   (in pdf)

Closing Arguments by Attorney Thomas J. Zraik (in pdf)

Decision in pdf

Decision in html

Why This Case is Important An Analysis by Thomas J. Zraik, Esq.

Meet Tom Zraik, Jordan’s Attorney 

After the decision came out, Pete talked to Tom Zraik, Jordan’s attorney. Like Pete, Tom is married to a licensed clinical social worker.

Tom has represented children in special education cases for over twenty years.
Tom is a member of the Council of Parents Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) ( Tom also subscribes to The Special Ed Advocate newsletter.

Tom has a long relationship with the disability community in Toledo and with The Ability Center of Greater Toledo. They are proud of this case and of Tom's accomplishments. (They are also his landlord!) 

This case and the Analysis were first discussed in the January 10, 2001 issue and then the February 15, 2001 issue of The Special Ed Advocate, our free online newsletter.

Contact information:  Thomas J. Zraik, Esq.
5579 Monroe Street
Sylvania, OH 43560
Phone: 419-882-2559; Fax:419-882-1425

Representing Children with Autism: More Resources

In RE ISD 318,  MN Review Decision (autism, Lovaas, ABA therapy) Parent's counsel was Sonja Kerr who wrote the Letter to Damon, the new young lawyer handling a special ed case for the first time. The letter is in our "Advocacy Library." 

Stefan Jaynes v. Newport News , U. S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia. Decision in case about child with autism; includes discussion of statutes of limitations, procedural safeguards, notice requirements, damages and reimbursement. (September 7, 2000)  In pdf   In Word

Bd. of Education of Kanawha (WV) v. Michael M. IEPs, "appropriate", burden of proof, autism, reimbursement for ABA program. Excellent discussion of an "appropriate" program; recommended reading for attorneys who represent children with disabilities and their witnesses.
 Order about appropriateness of home-based Lovaas /ABA program (August 2000).

Daniel Lawyer v. Chesterfield School Board, U. S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia. Daniel's mother worked with Pete in preparing this case through Due Process, Review, and trial in Federal Court. She is now one of the top administrators in the Protection and Advocacy agency in Virginia. The decision includes a good discussion about extended school year, (ESY), regression and recoupment, autism and neurological windows of opportunity.

Mr. X v. NY, U. S. District Court. An excellent case with a comprehensive discussion about autism, Lovaas, ABA therapy and TEEACH.

T. H. v. Palatine, U. S. District Court.Excellent decision in an ABA case that includes a thorough discussion of the IEP process, the need to individualize the IEP, methodology and placement issues. (This decision is in pdf format)

Weiss v. School Board of Hillsborough County - U. S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, May 13, 1998. (damages, procedural violations; denial of FAPE)

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