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Recent Parent Win in Second Circuit

June 8, 2016

The Second Circuit issued a decision in the case L.O ex rel. K.T. v. N.Y.C. Dep’t of Educ. and REVERSED and REMANDED the case for further proceedings. Our very own Andrew Feinstein filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates and argued the amicus position in support of the parent on March 10, 2016. The parent lost at the hearing level (IHO) and the state review level (SRO). The District Court affirmed the order of the state reviewing officer. The parent appealed to the Second Circuit. The Second Circuit determined that the three IEPs developed by NYC violated the IDEA and deprived the student, of FAPE. The Second Circuit said: We have previously held that “[m]ultiple procedural violations may cumulatively result in the denial of a FAPE even if the violations considered individually do not.” R.E., 694 F.3d at 190. The District Court concluded, despite finding multiple procedural violations, that these errors, together, did not deny K.T. a FAPE. We disagree and find that, at a minimum, the errors we have identified in each IEP cumulatively resulted in a denial of a FAPE for K.T. for the 2009-2010, 2010-2011, and 2011-2012 school years. 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. See R.E.,694 F.3d at 194.