On July 2nd, 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued its decision in Lathrop R-II Sch. Dist. v. Gray affirming the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri order granting summary judgment in favor of the Lathrop R-II School District.

The three judge appellate panel was unanimous in its decision upholding the lower court’s order overturning the IDEA administrative due process hearing panel’s decision in favor of Gray. The Court of Appeals decision is significant because in the 8th Circuit it is rare that a District Court overturns due process hearing panel decisions. That is why the outcomes of Special Education due process hearings are so important.

In the Lathrop case, the parents convinced two out of three members of the due process hearing panel that the school district had denied their son a free appropriate public education because his individualized education plans did not contain “baseline data.” In what is a major decision in the world of Special Education litigation, the Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court’s grant of summary judgment in the school district’s favor, ruling, among other things, that the IDEA does not require IEPs to include baseline data.

The Lathrop R-II School District was represented by Teri B. Goldman, a founding partner of Mickes Goldman O’Toole, LLC. Teri was assisted in the case by the firm’s dedicated Special Education Litigation Department.