A federal court reversed a Decision by the California Office of Administrative Hearings and ordered a school to refer J.G. to the California School for the Deaf. J.G. was a high school student who could read only at an elementatey school level. His primary mode of communication was American Sign Language (ASL). He needed to be immersed in ASL to develop his language to an appropriate level of proficiency. This would also help him to learn to read at a higher level according to the federal court judge. J.G. ex rel. Jimenez v. Baldwin Park Unified School Dist., 78 F. Supp, 3d 1268 (C.D. Cal. 2015). 

A deaf student was allowed to supplement the administrative record with a statement under oath and a personal letter explaining that he wanted to go to the California School for the Deaf so that he could communicate directly with his peers with ASL. He did not want to have to use an adult interpreter, which he found awkward and uncomfortable. The District Court ruled that the statement was appropriate becuase it was relevant, non-cumulative, and otherwise admissible. J.G. v. Baldwin Park Unified School District, U.S. District Court Case #13cv5690 (April 14, 2014).

A federal court judge decided that a high school student would likely prevail on her ADA claim and ordered Poway Unified School District to provide her with CART, a form of real time captioning, for all of her classes at school. D.H. v. Poway Unified School District, U.S. District Court Case #09cv2621 (December 19, 2013)

We were counsel in the nationally groundbreaking case of K.M. v. Tustin Unified School District, 725 F.3d. 1088 (9th Cir. 2013). This case set the standard that ADA requirements regarding deaf and hard-of-hearing students are different than those imposed by IDEA. Compliance with the IDEA does not doom all §504/ADA claims. There are material differences between §504 and Title II of the ADA. This case was covered by the Los Angeles Daily Journal, the Orange County Register and by A.G. Bell.

The Office of Administrative Hearings agreed that the school district improperly terminated the services of the Non-Public Agency, which was providing behavioral support under Student’s IEP. OAH ordered the District to reinstate services with the Non-Public Agency. Student v. Paso Robles Unified School District, OAH Case #2012090342 (February 11, 2013).

Student Cannot be Suspended for Defending Himself

Student was being bullied at school. He had no record of discipline and was viewed by his teachers and staff as a cooperative, well behaved kid. He was threatened by several other students and jumped from behind in a restroom. He defended himself, and one of the other kids was seriously injured in the fight. The district tried to expel him for fighting and injuring another student. The law in California does not allow a public school to suspend or expel a student for fighting when in self-defense. The student was allowed to remain in his school and was not expelled.

Student was a hearing impaired preschooler that used spoken English as her primary mode of communication. Redlands insisted on putting her into a special day class. OAH determined that the special day class was not the least restrictive environment. Redlands was ordered to reimburse the family the cost of private preschool and told to secure a general education preschool class for the child. Student v. Redands Unified School District, OAH Case #2012060370 (December 24, 2012).

Disabled student that suffers with multiple, complex disabilities, resided within the Los Angeles Unified School District boundaries. During the day she stayed outside of the District and LAUSD refused to provide her with home schooling during the day. OAH Ordered LAUSD to provide her with the home schooling services specified in her IEP even though the teacher had to travel outside of the District. Student v. Los Angeles Unified School District, OAH Case #2011020179 (April 27, 2011). 

Learning Disabled Student Needed Placement at Non-Public School

Student was diagnosed with a specific learning disability when she was in the fourth grade. The school gave her an IEP that included resource and allowed teachers to break down her assignments into smaller chunks. Even with the additional help schoolwork was a constant struggle for the child. Her parents knew her as a bright kid with many different interests. Extra tutoring did not help. Over the years she started to feel very badly about herself, growing depressed and withdrawn. Middle school was very difficult because some of her teachers did not seem to care about her IEP and would tell her that she seemed smart, or just had to try harder. We obtained an independent assessment that the school paid for and found out the district’s program did not meet her needs. She had above average intellectual capacity, but processed information very slowly. It took her longer than most to do her work. When she was allowed extra time, she could perform very well with her schoolwork and on tests. We filed for due process and the district agreed to pay for non-public school, where she did very well. The district also paid our attorney’s fees.


District was ordered to provide a hearing-impaired high school student with word-for-word real time captioning in class. The District’s offer to provide her with a meaning-for-meaning summary was not adequate and did not provide her with a free appropriate public education. Even though the District appealed the case, the student received word-for-word captioning through her graduation from high school under stay put. Student v. Poway Unified School District, OAH Case #2009070998 (January 29, 2010).

District assessment was not appropriate and Student was entitled to an independent educational evaluation. Student showed weakness with memory and focus that suggest ADHD. Nonetheless, the District’s assessments did not address ADHD, nor did they fully assesses Student’s social and emotional status. The District was ordered to pay for an independent psychoeducational evaluation by an assessor selected by Student. Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District v. Student, OAH Case #2009071020 (November 24, 2009).

Elementary school student struggled to complete homework and could not work independently at his desk at school. District refused to find Student eligible for special education claiming that he had the ability to do the work, but merely lacked the motivation to complete assignments. Federal court judge ruled that Student was eligible for special education because of his specific learning disability and ADHD. M.P. v. Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District, U.S. District Court Case #07cv3393(July 17, 2008).

Court ruled that a school district's failure to produce school records was a denial of student's right to a free appropriate public education. Student v. Compton Unified School District, Los Angeles County Superior Court, Case #BC363711 (September 19, 2007). 

Student Improperly Expelled for Computer Prank

Student was a highly gifted fifth grader. He programmed a classroom computer to shut down and save all data when certain icons were clicked, as a prank. When his classroom teacher found out about the prank, he was questioned by the principal and school police. The student denied any involvement in the prank, at first, but confessed after extensive questioning. He had never been in trouble at school before. He wrote letters of apology to his teachers and his parents disciplined him at home, including making him do community service on the weekends to emphasize that his prank was not acceptable. The school responded by expelling the student, but it did not follow any of the procedures necessary under the law. Parents were forced to place their child in a private school. We were able to compel the school to pay for the cost of the private school and attorney’s fees.

District ordered to provide CART (computer assisted real time transcription) for deaf student to meet her unique communication needs. District's offer of sign language interpreter and note taker were inadequate because it did not take into consideration that Student's mode of communication was spoken language. Student v. Glendora Unified School District, OAH Case #2006110090 (May 23, 2007).

District ordered to pay for an independent educational evaluation. District was also found to have violated Student's rights because her IEP goal was not clear and therefore denied parents right to participate in her IEP. Student v. Los Angeles Unified School District, OAH Case #2006120420 (June 20, 2007).

School district denied Student a free appropriate public education because his IEP did not address his need to participate in class discussion. District was ordered to provide the student with CART. Student v. Glendora Unified School District, OAH Case #2007080893 (December 17, 2007).

Straight “A” Deaf Student Made Eligible for Special Education and Given Real Time Transcription

A deaf junior in high school used spoken English as her primary mode of communication. Her school refused to make her eligible for special education because she got straight “A’s”. The school ignored that she spent as many as five to six hours a night studying to make up for what she could not hear during the school day. Her family wanted her to have real time captioning so that she could follow along with class discussions as they occurred. With real time captioning, she would be able to participate in class along with the other students that had typical hearing. We were able to compel the school to give her real time captioning and make her eligible for special education.

Deaf Student With Cochlear Implant Taken Out of ASL Program

The Student who was in kindergarten just received a cochlear implant. Parents told the school that they wanted him to use spoken English and not sign language. The school ignored parents request and continued to keep him in a class where sign language was emphasized over oral communication. By the first grade, he was not making progress with his listening and speaking skills. He would come home from school using new signs that the family had never exposed him to at home. After several more IEP meetings, where parents’ preference for oral only communication were ignored with excuses that the child would fall behind academically and never reach his true potential without relying upon sign language, they retained us as legal counsel. We filed for due process and were able to secure placement in an oral only classroom, where after a short period of time the Student began to rely upon his listening and speaking skills instead of signs.