C.W. v. Denver County School District No. 1

State: Colorado

Filed: May 7, 2020

Court: Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals

Overview: The brief supports parents of a student with disabilities arguing that exhaustion is not required where plaintiff complains of the denial of a free appropriate public education, but the specific remedy requested–here, money damages for emotional distress available under the ADA and Section 504, but not the IDEA–is not one that an IDEA hearing officer may award.

Excerpt: “The IDEA cannot provide IDEA relief (e.g. educational placement and services or reimbursement for educationally related expenses) if no IDEA claim has been made. IDEA hearing officers also cannot provide non-IDEA relief (e.g. monetary damages to remedy discrimination) in IDEA proceedings. This, then, is precisely the type of situation the Fry Court envisioned: whether exhaustion would be required where a student sought non-IDEA relief in a case where the District both denied FAPE under the IDEA and discriminated under Section 504 and the ADA. While conceding that the student had put forth all of the evidence necessary to demonstrate the IDEA denial (which facts also demonstrate the discrimination the student would allege under Section 504 and the ADA), the District Court erroneously dismissed C.W.’s antidiscrimination claims on the grounds that the student failed to argue the legal theories relating to Section 504 and the ADA before the IDEA hearing officer.”

Case Documents

Amicus Brief