Parents of two special education students sued the Avilla R-XIII School District in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri alleging that Avilla’s failure to have a proper discrimination grievance procedure violated the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Prior to filing suit the parents had filed a complaint with the U.S. Dept. of Education, Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”). While OCR found that Avilla’s discrimination grievance procedure was a “concern,” the agency also found that the District’s IDEA grievance procedure was appropriate. Relying on the OCR’s finding, the parents filed suit in federal court claiming that the inadequacy of Avilla’s discrimination grievance procedure denied them an opportunity to complain about the District’s failure to implement the students’ IEPs. The federal district court agreed with Avilla’s argument that the parents were required to exhaust the IDEA’s administrative due process procedures before filing suit because all of their claims were based on, and related to Avilla’s alleged failure to implement the students’ IEPs. The district court entered summary judgment in Avilla’s favor and the parents appealed. On July 24, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued its decision in J.B., et al & A.L.A, et al v. Avilla R-XIII Sch. Dist., affirming the federal district court’s judgment in favor of Avilla. In upholding the district court’s judgment the appeals court stated “Plaintiffs first contend their claims are not subject to the exhaustion requirement of 20 U.S.C. § 1415 (l) because they do not seek relief which is available under the IDEA. We find this contention to be without merit.”
MGO Partner Ernie Trakas and Associate Scott Kimble represented the Avilla R-XIII School District in all proceedings.