E. R. v. Spring Branch Independent School District, No. 17-20494 (5th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
E.R. has a history of life-threatening, non-convulsive, seizures, manifested by minor changes in her personality. The seizures must be timely treated by activating an implanted vagus-nerve stimulator and administering a Diastat suppository within two minutes. E.R. has permanently implanted shunts in her head that could fail, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a speech impairment, and impaired concentration. E.R. is globally developmentally delayed with an IQ of 51, and her medicines affect her ability to progress academically. E.R.’s academic years were based on individualized education plans (IEPs), developed by the school district (SBISD) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. 1414(d). After disputes with SBISD, E.R.’s parents removed her from SBISD and enrolled E.R. in private school, asserting SBISD had denied E.R. the IDEA-required free appropriate public education. They sought tuition reimbursement. The hearing officer, the district court, and the Fifth Circuit ruled in favor of SBISD. The Fifth Circuit did not reach whether the district court was required to allow E.R.’s requested additional evidence because E.R. failed to brief how the claimed error affected a substantial right. E.R. failed to produce evidence that her IEP goals were too easy, or that she was capable of doing more. SBISD’s actions were procedurally and substantively reasonable.