Doucette v. Georgetown Public Schools, No. 18-1160 (1st Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
In this action brought by parents of a severely disabled student against the school district alleging federal and statement claims the First Circuit vacated the district court's entry of judgment for the school district on Plaintiffs' federal claims on the basis that they were subject to the exhaustion requirement set forth in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1400-1491o, holding that no further administrative pursuit was required for the claims.
Plaintiffs' federal claims claims included a Rehabilitation Act claim and a substantive due process claim under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The district court granted the school district's motion for judgment on the pleadings as to Plaintiffs' federal claims and remanded the state law claims to state court, concluding that the federal claims were subject to the IDEA's exhaustion requirement. The First Circuit vacated that decision, holding (1) the gravamen of Plaintiffs' Rehabilitation Act claim did not involve the denial of a free appropriate public education, and therefore, that claim was not subject to the exhaustion requirement of the IDEA; and (2) Plaintiffs' section 1983 claim was either exhausted or continued engagement with the IDEA's administrative scheme would have been futile.