Mark H. v. Lemahieu

513 F.3d 922 (2008)

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Mark H. v. Lemahieu

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
513 F.3d 922 (2008)

  • Written by Alexander Hager-DeMyer, JD

Facts

The children of Mark H. (plaintiff) attended schools operated by the Hawaii Department of Education (agency) (defendant). H.’s daughters were autistic and considered disabled under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Rehabilitation Act. The agency evaluated both children for special-education services but incorrectly diagnosed them. The agency created an individualized education program (IEP) for each girl based on the incorrect diagnoses and did not correct the error for years. H. requested an administrative hearing, arguing that the agency denied both children a free appropriate public education (FAPE) under the IDEA and § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The hearing officer found that the children were denied a FAPE under the IDEA. H. later filed suit in federal district court, seeking monetary damages for the agency’s violations of the IDEA and the Rehabilitation Act. The district court ruled that a violation of the IDEA’s FAPE requirement constituted a violation of the Rehabilitation Act’s FAPE requirement as provided in the Rehabilitation Act’s federal regulations. The court concluded that availability of injunctive relief under the IDEA barred H. from seeking monetary damages under § 504 for the agency’s actions that violated both statutes. The court also found that H. could not bring § 504 claims seeking damages because the private right of action implied under the Rehabilitation Act statute itself did not extend to enforcement of federal regulations. The court granted summary judgment to H. on the IDEA claims but dismissed the § 504 claims seeking damages. H. appealed to the Ninth Circuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Berzon, J.)

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