F. H. v. Memphis City Schs., No. 13-6323 (6th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
F.H., born in 1994, has cerebral palsy syndrome, asthma, sleep apnea, auditory and visual limitations, and significant learning disorders; he needs a wheelchair or walker and has limited use of his hands. It is difficult for him to use the bathroom without assistance. From 2002 until 2010, F.H. attended four different Memphis City Schools (MCS) and had 11 different aides. F.H. and his mother claim that he was: frequently left unattended in the bathroom, distraught and unable to clean himself; subjected to verbal and physical abuse, on multiple occasions by aides and school personnel; returned to class with dirty underwear; and sexually abused by an aide. His mother’s claims under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) resulted in a Settlement Agreement. In 2012, F.H. and his mother sued under 42 U.S.C. 1983, the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), with claims of retaliation, and of breach of the Settlement Agreement. The district court dismissed, finding that claims accruing prior to the Settlement Agreement were barred by the Agreement, and that all other claims required exhaustion under the IDEA. The Sixth Circuit reversed, holding that claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983 did not arise under the IDEA, were not released by the Agreement, and that administrative exhaustion of these claims would be futile. The language of the Agreement and 2004 Amendments to the IDEA, make the Agreement enforceable in court, so that the breach of contract claim does not require administrative exhaustion.