Kimberly Powell, et al. v. School Board of Volusia County, Florida, No. 22-14083 (11th Cir. 2023)Annotate this Case
Appellant as next of kin and on behalf of a minor, J.T.A., and all similarly situated minors (“Appellants”), filed a class action lawsuit against the School Board of Volusia County, Florida for allegedly violating the minors’ rights to free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) in violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The Appellants appealed the district court’s order dismissing their amended complaint for failure to exhaust administrative remedies under the IDEA.
The Eleventh Circuit vacated the district court’s order of dismissal and remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with the holding in Perez. The court explained that here, Appellants seek compensatory and punitive damages. The IDEA provides neither. Thus, applying Perez to this case, Appellants can proceed without attempting to exhaust administrative remedies that do not exist under the IDEA. Appellants unambiguously sought compensatory monetary damages under the ADA and not compensatory education under the IDEA. Consequently, in light of Perez, the Appellants should have been allowed to proceed with their claims regardless of the IDEA’s exhaustion requirements.