Even though parents of children with special needs may suffer severe emotional distress due to stress involved when advocating for their child's educational needs, they are not entitled to a money award for their reported pain and suffering. In fact, a recent case has clarified this point by explaining parents are not even entitled to nominal damages in the amount of $1.00. On May 14, 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court reversed an Oregon District's Court's decision to award a family nominal damages in the amount of $1.00. The District's Court rationale for such an order was awards of nominal damages would promote compliance with mandates under the IDEA. The Ninth's Circuit rejected this argument stating a proper remedy for noncompliance of IDEA requirements is a loss of federal funds. It is well established that parents cannot recover compensatory or punitive damages under the IDEA. This case shows nominal damages, or small monetary sums awarded to recognize school district legal violations are also unavailable under the IDEA. As such, the IDEA's directive that courts grant "appropriate" relief did not justify a monetary award even in the amount of $1.00.
Contact Our Office
If you have any questions about remedies under IDEA, Contact us by email or call us at 714-602-1498 or 866-781-7723 (toll free) for more information.
We welcome your participation in the discussions on this blog. Feel free to comment on posts that interest you.