On January 18, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Perez v. Sturgis Public Schools. The Perez case examines whether a student with disabilities must exhaust administrative remedies under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to pursue monetary damages under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The student, Miguel Perez, initially brought a lawsuit against a Michigan school district for its failure to provide him with a qualified sign-language interpreter. He brought his claims under both the ADA and the IDEA through administrative channels. After an administrative judge dismissed the ADA claim on the ground that he lacked authority to hear it, Perez reached a settlement with the school district on the IDEA claim. However, when Perez then tried to revive the ADA claim in federal court, the school district argued that the IDEA settlement precludes Perez’s right to seek financial compensation under the ADA.
During the oral arguments, questions from the justices on both the liberal and conversative sides tended to demonstrate support for Perez’s case. A decision by the Court is expected this summer.
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