SpecEd decision - Arlington v. Murphy
- This is a letter I am broadcasting to anyone I know who might be interested in lobbying for legislative change in parents' rights under IDEA:Recently, the Supreme Court decided in the case Arlington v. Murphy that reimbursement of attorney fees (when parents win at Due Process) does not extend to expert witness fees because IDEA did not specifically spell it out.I am a member of COPAA (Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates). As part of the group's function, the Council submitted an Amicus Curiae ("friend of the court") brief to the Supreme Court in this case.The decision is a true disappointment which the Council hopes to reverse through legislation. This will take the concerted, collective attention, of as many people as we can reach. I'm emailing all of you to give you a heads up on what will be coming....As stated by the chair of the Council (Selene Almazan, Esq, who represented my daughter in Due Process many years ago):"We believe that Congress meant to include expert fees when they passed the law in 1986. Since the Court has said Congress did not make this clear we need COPAA members help in getting a bill through Congress that expressly states that expert fees may be reimbursed to parents when they win their special education cases. To begin we will ask you, your friends, and relatives to call and or write (fax) (not email) your senators and representatives telling them how the decision will hurt your children and why Congress should amend the law to clarify its original intent. In the next few days we will provide members with a sample letter that you can use to fax your senators and representatives. We will also provide a link to a website that you can use to find out their addresses.
We cannot emphasize enough how important this issue is and how important is your participation in helping to change the law as soon as possible."- Becky YoshitaniThe Law Office ofRebecca Slade Yoshitani, LLCClarksville, MD