Saturday, January 29, 2005

Eleventh Circuit: No "Tort-Like Damages" for IDEA Violation

The Eleventh Circuit held, in a sad, sad case, that the IDEA does not provide a cause of action for "tort-like damages." The case involved a four-year-old boy with a tracheostomy who died because his tracheotomy tube fell out on the school playground and nobody at the school knew how to reinsert it. The parents argued that the IDEA required the school to have someone on staff who knew how to reinsert the tube and sought damages for the violation. Without reaching the merits question, the court of appeals ruled that the statute does not provide a cause of action for such tort-like damages, and accordingly reversed the district court's denial of defendant's motion for summary judgment. Although the court of appeals's opinion seems to conflate issues of standing, cause of action, and remedy, the bottom-line result in in accord with that reached by a number of other courts.


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