Lashly & Baer, P.C. attorneys obtained a favorable decision on behalf of a local Missouri school district in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. On July 11, 2018, the Eighth Circuit affirmed a District Court’s dismissal of a lawsuit brought against the district and the superintendent (hereafter the “School District”) by the mother of a former student. The mother originally filed a Complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri acting in her individual capacity and on behalf of her son, which alleged violations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq.(the “IDEA”); the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794 et seq.; and 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
The Eighth Circuit agreed with our arguments that the substance of Plaintiff/Appellant’s claims were related to the alleged denial of a Free Appropriate Public Education (“FAPE”) because they are directly tied to his status as a student, and, therefore, Plaintiff was required to exhaust his administrative remedies. The Eighth Circuit dispensed with Plaintiff/Appellant’s argument that exhaustion of the administrative procedure would have been futile because the School District would not have been a proper party to the administrative complaint and declined to create a new exception to the IDEA exhaustion requirement. The Eighth Circuit also determined that Plaintiff/Appellant failed to establish that Missouri law prohibited the School District, as a component district under Missouri law, from participating in administrative proceedings where its actions are alleged to have denied a student FAPE.