Proposed Legislation to Overturn Buckhannon, Murphy (federal IDEA amendments)
- This update is courtesy of COPAA (the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates: http://www.copaa.org ):On January 24, 2008 Rep. Lewis along with 25 cosponsors introduced HR 5129, the Civil Rights Act of 2008. On the same day Senator Kennedy, with 19 cosponsors, introduced S 2554 in the Senate.
The House bill is available on Thomas. It provides, among other things for reversing Buckhannon and Murphy. Section 411 reverses the Supreme Court decision in Buckhannon. It adds a definition of "prevailing party" that applies to settlements, that is "an enforceable written agreement" and to "a nonfrivolous claim or defense [that ] was a catalyst for a voluntary or unilateral change." In short this means that if you settle your case, or you bring a case that brings about change, is the "catalyst", you can be considered the prevailing party.
Subtitle D of the bill would reverse Murphy, the Supreme Court decision that said that expert fees are not available under the IDEA fee shifting provision. It also reverses an earlier S.Ct. case, Casey. For our purposes in special ed cases, section 433(d) of the bill would amend IDEA section 615(i)(3)(B), 20 USC 1415(i)(3)(B) by inserting "(including expert fees)" after "reasonable attorney's fees."
These are very important bills and show that our voices, and those of many others have been heard.
This is a link to the House bill: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c110:1:./temp/~c110joY6cZ::
This is a link to Senator Kennedy's and Senator Leahy's opening remarks. Scroll down on this page to S 2554.http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/R?r110:FLD001:S50286Sandy, Illinois (alpy2@...)
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