Firm Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of Advocates for Children of New York and New York Legal Assistance Group

November 17, 2022

On November 16, 2022, the Firm filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Advocates for Children of New York and New York Legal Assistance Group and in support of Petitioner Miguel Luna Perez in Perez v. Sturgis Public Schools.  Perez, a 23-year-old deaf student, sought relief under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) for his school’s twelve-year-long failure to provide a qualified American Sign Language interpreter to help him with his education and communication skills.  Perez’s ADA claim was dismissed in administrative proceedings for lack of jurisdiction, and Perez settled his IDEA claim, leading him to pursue his ADA claim in federal court.  At issue is whether Perez was required to comply with the IDEA’s requirement that disabled students exhaust administrative remedies before bringing non-IDEA lawsuits, even though he sought relief in his ADA suit that was unavailable in the administrative proceedings. 

Amici argued that the text, legislative history, and purposes of the IDEA, as well as traditional administrative law principles, make clear that the statute does not require exhaustion when exhaustion would be futile.  Accordingly, Amici asserted, Perez should have been excused from exhausting his ADA claim.  Amici further argued that the futility exception to the IDEA’s exhaustion requirement is necessary for disabled students to vindicate their IDEA and non-IDEA rights.