Significant SCOTUS Decision on Perez v. Sturgis

March 22, 2023

In January, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in a special education case out of Michigan known as Perez v. Sturgis Public Schools. This week the Court decided that individuals who have entered into a settlement resolving their IDEA claims can also pursue monetary damages against school districts under the Americans with Disabilities Act without exhausting the administrative process under IDEA. The decision reverses one from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. However, the 9-0 decision in Perez v. Sturgis Public Schools did not address whether IDEA’s requirement to exhaust its administrative process can be sidestepped in cases where completing the process would be “futile” and whether ADA should provide financial compensation to the student.

AASA filed an amicus in support of the district along with our partners at ASBO, CASE and several other education groups, arguing that a decision against the district would lead to increased litigation and decreased collaboration between parents and students. Our amicus was written by our friends at the Thompson & Horton LLC and they have just issued a blogpost we are cross-posting here, so superintendents can better understand the decision and what it means for special education disputes moving forward. We encourage you to read their post and to reach out with questions.