One of the challenges of being an attorney is keeping current on changes in the law. At the Sullivan Law Office, we take great pride in the legal research skills of our attorneys. Whether it is staying focused on the changes and trends in federal or state law, the attorneys at the Sullivan Law Office stay informed, including the cases heard by the Supreme Court of the Unites States (“SCOTUS”). In this blog, we’ll look at one of the more recent SCOTUS cases, which of course as it usually does, carries wide implications for many Americans, in this case, students with disabilities.

This case addresses what level of educational benefit a school district must confer on children with disabilities to provide them with the free appropriate public education guaranteed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protects the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance, including federal funds. Section 504 provides that: “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance

In Littleton, Colorado, a 15-year-old student with autism and attention deficit disorder is challenging the ruling of a federal appeals court. The youth, Endrew F. (“Drew” to his parents), has reduced verbal and non-verbal communications skills as a result of his autism and ADD disorders.

Drew’s parents and school officials couldn’t agree on a plan for him in the Douglas County public schools, thus he was placed in a private school specializing in instruction for autistic students.  His family sued to recover the private school tuition, arguing that the school district was obligated to pay this tuition because it failed to provide Drew with an adequate educational opportunity.  Both the trial judge and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit denied the challenge by Drew’s family, finding that the law only required a benefit that was just above trivial, and that Drew had received a benefit somewhat better than this in public school.

The Supreme Court Justices typically conclude arguments of cases in April, with a term’s final decisions announced at the end of June. However, with Justice Scalia’s vacancy on the bench, it is uncertain, to say the least when this case and others will be scheduled and heard by the nation’s highest court.

The attorneys at the  Sullivan Law Office vigilantly follow all of the latest legal developments in Kentucky and across the nation. If you have any questions or concerns about any kind of disability case, including Social Security Disability, long-term disability, short-term disability, state retirement and workers’ compensation, call the Sullivan Law Office today! Call 888-587-0228 or visit us online.Eye On The SCOTUS: Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District