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Summit Board of Ed Loses Appeal in Special Education Case

08.07.2015
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Roseland, New Jersey, July 28, 2015 - On July 27, 2015, Connell Foley LLP, together with Sussan Greenwald & Wesler, successfully represented the parents of a grade school child in connection with the Summit Board of Education’s (Summit) appeal to the United States District Court from a July 2, 2012 ruling from an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).  The ALJ ruled that Summit had failed to provide the child, who was diagnosed with a severe speech production disorder known as Childhood Apraxia of Speech and a motor planning disorder known as Dyspraxia, with a free appropriate public education, failed to give careful consideration to the recommendations of the parents and their outside professionals, and failed to educate the child, identified in court documents as J.O., in the least restrictive environment. 

In a comprehensive opinion in T.O. et al v. Summit City Board of Education, the Hon. Kevin McNulty, U.S.D.J., resoundingly rejected all of Summit’s arguments, noting that in only one of its contentions “Summit has a glimmer of a legal argument.”  Still pending before the court are the parents’ claims seeking compensatory and punitive damages alleging, among other things, that Summit violated the ALJ’s Order and illegally discriminated against J.O. on the basis of his disabilities in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.

The opinion can be read here.

Childhood Apraxia of Speech is a neurological condition that relates to the total lack of ability to plan, to organize, to sequence, and to execute movements necessary to produce speech.  Dyspraxia is a related neurological condition that affects planning of movements and coordination as a result of brain messages not being accurately transmitted to parts of the body.  Coordination problems in performing non-habitual tasks often accompany the diagnosis.

For more information about this case or other issues related to special education, please contact Connell Foley partners Tricia O’Reilly or Thomas O’Leary.

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