• Lawsuit under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Is Dismissed Where the Issue of Whether Parents May Represent Their Child's IDEA Rights Is Not Ripe For Litigation
  • July 10, 2009 | Author: Diana D. Halpenny
  • Law Firm: Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard, A Law Corporation - Sacramento Office
  • In D.K. v. Huntington Beach Union High School District, (--- F.3d ---, C.A.9 (Cal.), Jan. 30, 2009), the United States Court of Appeals considered how the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Winkelman v. Parma City Sch. Dist., 127 S. Ct. 1994 (2007), that parents have substantive rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), affected this case, in which the rights of the parents and their child were not shown to be distinguishable.

    The court ruled that unless and until the parents’ rights diverge from those of the child, the issue is not ripe for litigation.

    Note

    For a discussion of the referenced Winkelman case, please see our Legal Alert entitled, “United States Supreme Court: Parents Have Rights Under The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act And Are Entitled To Prosecute Claims Under The Act On Their Own Behalf”, July 13, 2007.

    Facts

    The Court of Appeal had decided to hear the D.K. case before the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Winkelman, that parents have substantive rights under IDEA that may be litigated when the parents’ rights are distinguishable from the child’s. Here, the court considered how Winkelman affected its earlier decision.

    Decision

    The effect of Winkelman is that this matter is now unripe, the court said, because the parents’ and child’s rights are not distinguishable. Given Winkelman, the court said, the expense and delay from staying district court proceedings would be unwarranted, and its earlier order granting permission to hear the appeal was therefore vacated and the case dismissed.