3rd Edition – Wrightslaw: Special Education Law. Stay Tuned!

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We are working on the Third Edition of our Wrightslaw: Special Education Law book.

This edition will have a greater emphasis on both Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. We have completed the formatting of the 504 and ADA statutes and regulations related to educational issues.

Both statutes go beyond the public school house and impact other issues, such as:

  • preschool
  • daycare
  • higher ed
  • licensing/certification (bar exams and medical exams for lawyers and doctors)

As a part of the book’s content, I have been researching cases. This research led me to the Jessica Ramsay case.

Eastern District of PA

In a December 31, 2019 decision, a U. S. District Court Judge in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania wrote that –

“Plaintiff Jessica Ramsay (“Ramsay”) brings this action under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), and the Rehabilitation Act: for preliminary and permanent injunctive relief to enjoin and restrain defendant National Board of Medical Examiners (“NBME”) from refusing to grant testing accommodations that are required to enable Ramsay, a person with reading and attentional disabilities, to have equal access to examinations administered by NBME; for declaratory relief concerning Ramsay’s right to receive such accommodations; for the monetary damages that Ramsay has sustained as a result of NBME’s wrongful refusal; and for the costs of suit including reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.”
. . . 
”NBME is a recipient of Federal financial assistance, including but not limited to funds from the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and is therefore subject to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.”

“Ramsay’s claims against NBME arise under the ADA, 42 U.S.C. §§12101 et seq., including 42 U.S.C. §12189, and under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. §794. This Court has jurisdiction of this action under 28 U.S.C. §§1331 and 1343(a)(4).”
[Those statutes are in the new book.]

In a 51 page decision granting the Injunction, the Court wrote that:

“As a disabled individual under the foregoing federal statutes, Plaintiff is entitled to reasonable accommodations in sitting for examinations given by any person or entity relating to applications, licensing, credentialing, or certification for secondary or post-secondary education, professional or trade purposes.”

“Plaintiff’s request for additional (2X or double) time to complete the USMLE was reasonable, as were her requests for a separate, distraction-reduced room for testing, colored dry-erase markers to use on the laminated paper, an alarm or timer (either in the room, visible on the computer screen or a visual signal or reminder from a proctor), water and a snack in the room to facilitate taking needed medications at the appropriate times, given the nature of her disabilities.”

“Defendant’s continued denial/refusal to grant Plaintiff’s request for double time to take the USMLE was unreasonable and constitutes a violation of her rights under the ADA.”

The Complaint filed in federal court by her attorney, Lawrence D. Berger of Reisman Carolla Gran & Zuba LLP is on our website at: https://www.wrightslaw.com/law/pleadings/pa.complaint.ramsay.complaint.2019.0508.pdf

The Judge’s Decision is at: https://www.wrightslaw.com/law/caselaw/2019/pa.order.ramsay.504.ada.2019.1231.pdf

Last week NBME appealed to the Third Circuit.

This case will most likely be in our 2020 “Year in Review” book next year.

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  1. Do we know when the 3rd edition will be available? I am curious if the constant litigation re pandemic-related issues may affect the release?


    • Final edits of the third edition of Wrightslaw Special Education Law are being made. We will keep folks updated on the publication date as we get closer to completion. Thank you for asking!

  2. The link to the Ramsay case has changed on our wrightslaw dot com website. Please use the google search engine, insert the word “ramsay” and it will take you to the Complaint and the Order. We did include the District Court case in our 2019 Year in Review book.

    It was appealed to the Third Circuit which upheld the District Court’s ruling on July 31, 2020. That Opinion will be in our 2020 Year in Review book.

    • I’m in essentially the same situation with the NBME. What can I do? Or rather who should contact about this? Do I need to have already had an IEP or 504 plan in place to take action? Because as I understand it, Section 504 is a civil rights statute, and as such refusing ADA compliant accommodations, would inherently be a violation of those rights regardless.

      • Nabihah – Without knowing all of the facts, it would be gross malpractice for me to shoot from the hip and answer your questions.

        I can tell you that IDEA and IEPs only apply to public schools and not colleges, universities and medical schools.

        The link to the Ramsay Complaint is above, read the entire documents and the exhibits and you will see how the factual and legal issues were postured.

        You will also see the name of Ramsay’s attorney, email address and phone number. Contact him. The Medical Board appealed the case to the Court of Appeals and, a few months ago, lost. Ramsay’s attorney knows what he is doing.

        Have a telephone consultation with him and be sure that he has access to all of the critical documents. Good luck.


  3. If i filed a due process, hire a lawyer who gave ineffective counsel and then quit right before we had to sign the agreement, then I sign the SAR (agreement) because I didnt have a choice, can the case be reopened?
    Can I bring the same case back because I didnt know my educational rights or my daughters as a student with disabilities? I purchased all your books and am still reading case law and am realizing the misdirection of the facts to end the case. They blamed me for CHILD NEGLECT and that I knew my rights. Neither were true. Her case was signed sep 2019.

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