University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Upper Valley Ass'n for Handicapped Citizens v. Mills ED-VT-0001
Docket / Court 2:94-CV-320 ( D. Vt. )
Additional Docket(s) 2:95-cv-00207-wks
State/Territory Vermont
Case Type(s) Education
Case Summary
This matter involved two related cases--a class action seeking substantive relief, and a second lawsuit seeking attorneys fees for the underlying administrative matter.

On March 22, 1993, the Upper Valley Association for Handicapped Citizens, on behalf of thirty-six of its members, wrote ... read more >
This matter involved two related cases--a class action seeking substantive relief, and a second lawsuit seeking attorneys fees for the underlying administrative matter.

On March 22, 1993, the Upper Valley Association for Handicapped Citizens, on behalf of thirty-six of its members, wrote to the Board of Directors of the Blue Mountain Union School District alleging 15 violations of the IDEA and Vermont special education regulations, including failure to implement appropriate individualized education programs for its students. IDEA, which guarantees a free appropriate public education to disabled students, was created in response to a growing awareness that a majority of handicapped children in the United States "were either totally excluded from schools or were sitting idly in regular classrooms awaiting the time when they were old enough to drop out.

On November 1, 1994, Upper Valley brought a class action complaint, Upper Valley Assoc, et al v. Mills, et al 2:94-cv-00320-wks, on behalf of children with disabilities, their families, and supportive organizations. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and 20 U.S.C. § 1401 against the Vermont School District.

Having received no response from the school district, on November 1, 1994, Upper Valley filed a class action complaint, Upper Valley Association of Handicapped Citizens v. Mills, 2:94-cv-00320-wks. Plaintiffs raised four claims, all alleged violations of rights secured by the IDEA or by Vermont's corresponding special education regulations. The complaint focused on a systemic failure on the part of defendants to conform to the procedural requirements set forth in the IDEA and further developed in federal regulations. They specifically asserted that defendants failed (1) to develop and implement procedures to ensure the timely conduct of an investigation and the issuance of a written decision; (2) to develop procedures affording adequate relief to successful complainants; (3) to take affirmative action to correct instances of noncompliance with the IDEA; and 4) to develop and implement appropriate procedures in accordance with Vermont's special education regulations.

Relatedly, on June 29, 1995, the plaintiffs filed another complaint (Upper Valley Association for Handicapped Citizens v. Blue Mountain Union, 2:95-cv-00207-wks, seeking reimbursement of costs, including reasonable attorneys' fees, that they expended in the course of the administrative complaint process. Both parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment.

In the class action, defendants filed a motion to dismiss on August 29, 1995. The court (Judge William Sessions III), however, denied dismissal on May 1, 1996. 928 F.Supp. 429. On July 17, 1997, the court granted the plaintiffs class action certification. 168 F.R.D. 167. The parties then settled, and on July 28, 1997, a hearing was held to review the settlement terms; the court approved a consent decree. The consent decree is not available.

In the related fees case, on July 24, 1997, the court granted partial summary judgment for the plaintiffs to be awarded attorneys' fees, and denied the defendant's motion for summary judgment. 973 F.Supp. 429. On January 13, 1998, the case was dismissed by stipulation; presumably the matter settled.

Ginny Lee - 03/06/2017


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Disability
Mental impairment
General
Special education
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Indv. w/ Disab. Educ. Act (IDEA), Educ. of All Handcpd. Children Act , 20 U.S.C. § 1400
Defendant(s) Vermont State Board of Education
Plaintiff Description Plaintiff Upper Valley Association for Handicapped Citizens ("the Association") is an unincorporated, non-profit association comprised of individuals with disabilities, family members, professionals and advocates, which provides informational, support, and advocacy services to individuals with disabilities and their families.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 1997 - n/a
Filing Year 1994
Case Closing Year 1997
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Docket(s)
2:94−cv−00320 (D. Vt.)
ED-VT-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/28/1997
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
2:95-cv-00207-wks (D. Vt.)
ED-VT-0001-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/14/1998
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order and Opinion (928 F.Supp. 429) (D. Vt.)
ED-VT-0001-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 05/01/1996
Source: Google Scholar
Order and Opinion (168 F.R.D. 167) (D. Vt.)
ED-VT-0001-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/17/1996
Source: Westlaw
Order and Opinion (973 F.Supp. 429) (D. Vt.)
ED-VT-0001-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/24/1997
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Sessions, William K. III (D. Vt.)
ED-VT-0001-0001 | ED-VT-0001-0002 | ED-VT-0001-0003 | ED-VT-0001-9000 | ED-VT-0001-9001
Plaintiff's Lawyers Smith, O. Whitman (Vermont)
ED-VT-0001-9000 | ED-VT-0001-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Fassler, Paul Carl (Vermont)
ED-VT-0001-9000
Fitzhugh, John H (Vermont)
ED-VT-0001-9000
Grant, Elizabeth J. (Vermont)
ED-VT-0001-9001
Yudien, Geoffrey A. (Vermont)
ED-VT-0001-9000

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -