Claims for damages under ADA/504

Now that the Supreme Court has determined that plaintiffs can go directly to court with a claim for damages under ADA/504, it’s likely that we will see more litigation along those lines. The Daily Dawg reported this development on April 3rd with the case of Perez v. Sturgis Public Schools. Today, we look at a case seeking damages along those lines--allegations of disability-based discrimination against a student.

The court tossed the case out, noting that no reasonable jury could conclude that the district acted with the kind of intent that is required to recover damages. Here’s the quote that sums it up:

All told, Thurston was a teacher at George Ranch for a single semester. And not a full week had passed between the report of the December 14th incident and her being on the way out the door. Even less time had passed between Jennings becoming aware of the incident and Thurston’s exit.

Context: Thurston was the teacher. Jennings was the assistant principal. The “December 14th incident” was:

On December 14th, while students waited to get on the bus, Thurston told [the student] “if you want to kick me, then walk over here and kick me” and when he did, Thurston then kicked [the student] in the shin.

The court concluded that the district had responded to the report of the kick in the shin in a timely manner and was not even close to “deliberate indifference.” Case dismissed.

It’s Lamar CISD v. J.T., decided by the federal court for the Southern District of Texas on March 24, 2023. We found it in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Law Reporter at 123 LRP 10743.


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