Complaints Filed in Federal Court:
Collected by Peter W. D. Wright, Esq.
This page contains a listing of a number of spec ed Complaints, most filed in Federal courts.
The listing is chronological with the date filed, followed by the name of the case, some of the issues and allegations and name of lead parent/child's attorney(s), followed by the URL.
To find out more about each case, including the outcome, take the name of the party, such as the first one below,   withers   enter it into our onsite Google search engine in the upper right hand corner of this page, and you will find the outcome of the case and sometimes more, such as jury instructions and briefs.
1992 - State Court, WV, Doe v. Withers - Successful jury trial against History teacher who refused to follow IEP, $15,000 damages awarded. Attorney Bill Byrne
1997 - US Dist Ct, OH, James v. Upper Arlington Sch. Dist. - No IEP until student enrollment, dyslexia, Orton-Gillingham, Reading Recovery, tuition reimbursement. (Prevailed at 6th Circuit.) - Attorney Pete Wright
1998 - US Dist Ct, NV, Witte v. Clark - Violations of Constitution, 504, ADA, charge of assault, damages, no exhaustion. - Attorney Sara Winter
1998 - US Dist Ct, AR, Fales v. Garst - Allegations by spec ed teachers that HS Principal discriminated against spec ed students. Spec ed teacher fired, suit against Principal alleging Constitutional violations.
Attorney Marcia Barnes
1999 - US Dist Ct, VA, Jaynes v. Newport News School Board - Appeal of State Decision, S/L, reimbursement and request for attorney's fees. - Attorney Pete Wright
2000 - US Dist Ct, OR, Settlegoode v. Portland Public Schools - Spec ed adapted PE teacher fired, blackballed, jury trial, award of one million dollars, upheld on appeal. Section 504 retaliation, defamation, whistleblower allegations. Attorneys: William Goode and Gregory Kafoury
2000 - US Dist Ct, VA, White v. VA Dept of Ed - State's failure to require LEA to implement due process decision favorable to child. Attorney Pete Wright
2000 - US Dist Ct, OH, Burriola v. Greater Toledo YMCA - Termination of child with autism from daycare, 504 violation. - Attorney Tom Zraik
2002 - OCR Complaint, VA Beach Pub.Sch - OCR discrimination complaint form - Successful complaint alleging early dismissal for school bus transportation of spec ed children by Virginia Beach Public Schools. Attorney Malcolm Higgins
2004 - US Dist Ct, AK, Noon v. State Board of Alaska - Class Action, "Exhaustion Not Required." - Attorney Sid Wolinsky
2006 - US Dist Ct, CO, McArthur v. Academy Sch, Dist. 20 - Sexual abuse of child w/ disability, violation of Constitution, damages, jury trial. - Attorney Jeffrey Weeks
2006 - US Dist Ct, GA, Draper v. Atlanta Public Schools - Draper 1, MisDiagnosis, "Poor Man's Burlington", Comp Ed. - Attorneys David Monde, Steven Wyner, Marcy Tiffany
2007 - US Dist Ct, GA, Draper v. Atlanta Public Schools - Draper 2, this is the 504 suit for dollar damages after successful verdict in Draper 1. - Attorneys David Monde, Steven Wyner, Marcy Tiffany
2007 - US Dist. Ct, PA, Tereance D. v. Philadelphia Sch. Dist. - Statute of Limitations, tolling, comp ed, attorney's fees, ESY. Attorney Lorrie McKinley
2007 - US Dist Ct, VA, H.H. v. Moffett, Chesterfield County Public Sch. - Neglect and abuse of spec ed child by spec ed teacher and aide, alleged violations of Constitution, no exhaustion, no allegation of violation of IDEA 2004. (4h Circuit denied immunity claims.) - Attorney Bill Hurd
2008 - US Dist Ct, NC, Disability Rights North Carolina v. Wake County Bd of Ed. - Denial of access to data for investigation by P&A. - Attorney John Rittelmeyer
2010 - US Dist Ct, PA, N.N. v. Tunkhannock Area Sch. Dist. - Illegal search and seizure of cell phone, Constitutional violations. - Attorney Jacob Cohn
2010 - US Dist Ct, PA, Robbins v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist. - Motion for Injunction subsequent to Class Action Complaint about school district activating student's webcams on school supplied laptop computers while students at home. Invasion of privacy. Attorney Mark Haltzman
2010 - State Court Arizona, Grundemann [AG] v. Paradise Valley Unified Valley Sch. Dist. Complaint alleging state law torts, violations of Section 504 and ADA. School district removed case to federal court, which dismissed the case. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit reversed in favor of parents. The decision was issued on March 3, 2016 and is published in 815 F.3d 1195 and is now styled as A.G. v. Paradise Valley Unified School District No. 69 and included in the Wrightslaw: 2016 Year in Review book. For spec ed attorneys, this is a "must read" case. It contains a comprehensive discussion about 504 and ADA and FAPE in the public school. In September, 2016 the District Court set the case for a jury trial. The case then settled in mid November, 2016. Richard J. Murphy, Esq. filed two impressive briefs, which are located at https://www.wrightslaw.com/law/caselaw/2016/paradisevalley/
The decision was issued on March 3, 2016 and is published in 815 F.3d 1195 and is now styled as A.G. v. Paradise Valley Unified School District No. 69.
2010 - US Dist Ct, TN, A.C. v. Shelby County School Board - Allegedly false allegations against parent by Spec Ed Director regarding child with diabetes. School filed complaint with protective services. Case eventaully ended up before U.S. Court of Appeals for Sixth Circuit permitting case to go forward with a jury trial. Trial date scheduled, case setttled.
2011 - US Dist Ct, HI, Doug C. v. Hawaii Dept of Ed. - IEP meeting w/o parent, IEP + services lapse? (Major pro child decision by 9th Cir.) Attorney Keith Peck
2012 - US Dist Ct, MN, Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools - Initially school would not permit service dog at school. OCR ruled against school district, parents placed child into another school that accepted service dog. Parents sued for $$$ damages under ADA + 504. As of Spring, 2016, case is pending before U.S. Supreme Court.
2012 - US Dist Ct, CA, Jorge David A. v. South Bay Union Sch. Dist - CP child abused by staff. Ten Million Dollar settlement! Attorney Marc Adelman
2013 - US Dist Ct, CA, Evans v. Antioch Unified School Dist. - Spec ed teacher verbally and physically abused her students. Case filed against teacher, administrators, and school district. Case settled for Eight Million Dollars. Note: Violation of IDEA 2004 not alleged. Attorney Peter Alfert
2013 - US Dist Ct, TN, Connor Scott v. Williamson County Sch. Bd. and Willie Dickerson. - Complaint alleged that a child with seizures was not allowed to enroll in school because it would hurt the high school's "statistics." Jury trial requested. Attorney Justin Gilbert
2013 - US Dist Ct, NY, LO v. NYC Dept of Education. - Complaint alleged numerous procedural and substantive violations. Case dismissed by Hearing Officer, Review Officer, and US District Court. On May 20, 2016, the Second Circuit reversed - "There is no doubt that these procedural violations in formulating each IEP, when taken together, deprived K.T. of a FAPE for each school year. The DOE displayed a pattern of indifference to the procedural requirements of the IDEA and carelessness in formulating K.T.'s IEPs over the period of many years, repeatedly violating its obligations under the statute, which consequently resulted in the deprivation of important educational benefits to which K.T. was entitled by law." Attorney: Cuddy Law Firm
2015 - US Dist Ct, NC, B.H. v. Johnston County Bd. of Ed. - Child with an IEP moved into the Johnston County school district and parents alleged that the new IEP was not appropriate. School system wanted child in a school, other than home school. After the parents lost at Due Process and at Review level they filed suit in Federal Court. Subsequent discovery on Director of Special Education and School Superintendent's emails revealed that Superintendent unilaterally changed the child's IEP.
An interim decision from the District Court Judge stated that there were "fundamental deficiencies" in the decisions issued by the Adminstative Law Judge and Review Officer. Case subsequently settled for $200,000. The parent of BH told her story at the Wrightslaw Conference in Raleigh, NC on September 9, 2015. A local news reporter alerted Pete to the case and settlement. Attorney Robert Ekstrand
2015 - US Dist Ct, CO, Ebonie S. v. Pueblo Sch Dist. - The Amended Complaint at paragraph 32 alleges that "Ebonie was routinely restrained in a 'secure wrap-around table' during the school day at Bessemer Academy during the 2006-2007 school year." It was alleged that this restraint was "for the convenience of the Defendants. She was restrained because it was easier for the Defendants than providing District staff with appropriate training to address the challenging behaviors often exhibited in a special needs classroom." (Paragraph 36).
It was further alleged that this table was only used on children with disabilities and its use violated the US Constitution, Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. In addition to the Complaint, we have links to the Jury Instructions and the 2.2 Million Dollar Jury Verdict issued on March 24, 2015. School District appealed to the Court of Appeals and then the case was settled for a confidential dollar amount. (We are attempting to secure a copy of that settlement agreement. Attorneys: Douglas Abbott and Kate Gerland
2015 - State court, OR, Smith v. Reynolds Sch. Dist. - It was alleged that the school district's failure to comply with the child's IEP resulted in the child breaking his leg and would never be able to walk again. The case was not brought as either a violation of IDEA, Section 504, or ADA, but instead as a simple negligence action. On September 4, 2015, the jury awarded $800,000. The case received publicity in the local newspaper. Attorney: Gregory Kafoury
Newspaper article here.
2015 - US Dist Ct, MI, Garza v. Lansing Sch. Dist., et. al. - The school district, special education teacher Duvall and more than a half dozen school employees were sued because of Duvall's allegedly continuous pattern of assault and battery on a teenager with autism and ADD. The initial Complaint alleges:
"Throughout his tenure at LSD, Duvall has subjected the students in his classroom to severe physical, verbal and emotional/psychological abuse. Students were routinely subjected to Duvall's numerous unsanctioned, ineffective, unlawful and cruel methods. Witnessing the abuse suffered by C.G. and others created a hostile educational environment for all students."
"Duvall has a history of abusing students at LSD. For over a decade, staff, mental health professionals and parents notified LSD administrators and school officials about Duvall physically, verbally and psychologically abusing his students."
"Nickson, Keyton, Bacon, Robinson, Alwardt, Caamal Canul, Robinson and other LSD administrators received reports from parents, classroom aides and assistants that documented multiple instances of abuse that was occurring on a daily basis at the hands of Duvall."
"Bacon destroyed all the reports she received while she was a principal at Beekman Center, and on information and belief, never investigated any of the complaints."
"Not only did the supervisory personnel at Gardner and LSD conceal the abuse, they actively misrepresented Duvall's teaching abilities, even stating in his evaluations that he was an "'excellent teacher.'"
On June 21, 2016, the District Court dismissed the 504 / ADA claims but has allowed the case to go forward with the due process violation. A jury trial has been requested. We will keep you posted. Attorney - Peter Alfert
Original Complaint - https://www.wrightslaw.com/law/pleadings/mi.complaint.abuse.2016.garza.v.lansing.pdf
Amended Complaint - https://www.wrightslaw.com/law/pleadings/mi.complaint.amended.abuse.2016.garza.v.lansing.pdf
2015 - US Dist Ct, NV, Battenfeld+Donahue v. Washoe County Sch. Dist. - It was alleged that special education teacher Stebbins subjected children to "severe physical, emotional, and psychological abuse. . . that Child Protective Services received multiple complaints regarding Stebbins' mistreatment and abuse of her students during the 2013-2014 school year." That Building Principal Burak created a "climate where employees were intimidated from reporting observed acts of abuse."
This case alleged violations of Section 504/ ADA, Battery, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Negligence and, at last report is pending and parties engaged in settlement discussions. Attorney - Peter Alfert
2015 - US Dist Ct, CA, Garedakis v. Brentwood Union Sch. Dist. - It was alleged that the defendants "had the obligation to protect the children and the responsibility to discipline Holder and/or terminate her employment, but instead they did nothing. Defendants Olson, Anthony, Kruse and Grant instead concealed the abuse from law enforcement and parents."
It was further alleged "a reasonable suspicion that Holder had committed acts of child abuse or neglect as defined by Penal Code §11165.3 against students in her classroom. Each of these employees were mandated reporters as defined by Penal Code §1165.7, but did not report the abuse or neglect to an agency defined in Penal Code §11165.9."
The District Court dismissed the case stating that "plaintiffs have produced no evidence showing that Holder engaged in any discriminatory act towards any one of the individual minor plaintiffs 'by reason of' his/her disability." On July 29, 2016, case was appealed to the Ninth Circuit. Attorney - Peter Alfert
2016 - US Dist Ct, NY, Keri Spring v. Allegany-Limestone Central Sch. Dist. - It was alleged that Gregory Spring committed suicide because of "cruel and inhuman treatment and bullying" at school. Suit was filed against the school district and staff. The case was dismissed on all claims by the U.S. District Court, Western District in 2015, (138 F.Supp.3d 282) appealed to the Second Circuit, which reversed on the ADA claims and remanded back to the District Court. On August 31, 2016 the Plaintiffs filed a new Amended Complaint. Attorney - A.J. Bosman
2017 - US Dist Ct, AZ, Stephen C. v. Bureau of Indian Affairs. - Amended complaint, filed July 14, 2017 in U.S. District Court in Arizona, names the Bureau of Indian Education; United States Department of the Interior; Ryan Zinke, in his official capacity as Secretary of the Interior; Michael Black, in his official capacity as Acting Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs; Tony Dearman, in his official capacity as Director of the Bureau of Indian Education; Jeff Williamson, in his official capacity as Principal of Havasupai Elementary School.
9/21/2022 - US Dist Ct, VA, Chaplick v. Fairfax County Sch. Bd. + Virginia Dept. of Ed. - This class action Complaint alleges that from "2010 through July 2021 less than 1% of parents who initiated a due process hearing under the IDEA in Northern Virginia received a favorable ruling." Parents prevailed in 3 of 395 cases. Statewide parents prevailed in 13 of 847 cases. Over 20 years, "two thirds of the hearing officers have never ruled in favor of parents, not even once."
Last revised: 9/26/22
The Complaint alleges that the Virginia Department of Education "carefully curated a group of twenty-two (22) hearing officers who nearly always rule in favor of school districts and against parents. Despite (or because of) the incredibly one-sided outcomes from these hearing officers, the VDOE continued to recertify these same 22 hearing officers. The VDOE failed to add a single hearing officer during this entire 11-year period, ensuring that no one except for VDOE's own tried-and-tested allies would adjudicate due process hearings. The result has been an entire generation of disabled children and their parents facing a near-insurmountable hurdle to obtain a fair due process hearing."
At the end of the Complaint are detailed documented exhibits that appear to provide the evidence needed to prevail in this case. The Complaint is available at:
If the facts alleged in the exhibits are true, this deliberate tilting of the scales of justice against children with disabilities is an affront to our system of justice and principles of due process.