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Case Name Doe v. Oak Park ED-IL-0002
Docket / Court 94-ED-6449 ( N.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Education
Case Summary
The plaintiff, a 13-year-old freshman at Oak Park & River Forest High School (OPRF), was accused of being in possession of a pipe and a small amount of marijuana at a school dance on September 9, 1994. The student was a special education student who had been identified as having a learning ... read more >
The plaintiff, a 13-year-old freshman at Oak Park & River Forest High School (OPRF), was accused of being in possession of a pipe and a small amount of marijuana at a school dance on September 9, 1994. The student was a special education student who had been identified as having a learning disability. The OPRF Board of Education issued a ten-day suspension in accordance with its Code of Conduct and thereafter expelled the student for the remainder of the fall semester.

On September 23, 1994, the plaintiff filed a due process hearing request under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, asserting that OPRF's determination that the plaintiff's conduct was unrelated to his disability was inadequate. On December 12, 1994, the Level I hearing officer upheld the Board's actions, agreeing with the Board's determination that plaintiff's actions were not related to his disability. On July 25, 1995, the Level II hearing officer reversed, concluding that OPRF's failure to stay plaintiff's placement or provide alternative educational services had violated plaintiff's due process and IDEA rights in several respects.

While the IDEA agency was processing the administrative claim, on October 26, 1994, the plaintiffs filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, alleging that plaintiff's expulsion violated his rights pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the Illinois School Code, the Board's own rules by expelling him pursuant to a “zero tolerance” policy, state law, and rights as special education students under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) have been violated by OPRF's alleged policy of not offering alternative educational services during expulsions.

Specifically, the plaintiffs argued that he was not given a reasonable opportunity to obtain an independent evaluation in order to persuade the school that his misbehavior was related to his unevaluated ADHD.

The parties continued to exchange discovery until February 1995. On February 2, 1995, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss. On April 17, 1995, the court (Judge Charles Kocoras) denied the defendant's motion to dismiss.

On May 2, 1995, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment.

On October 11, 1995, the defendant's motion for summary judgment on all of the complaint except Count 8 (alleging violations of the IDEA) was granted, stating that the procedures OPRF followed in making its decision to expel the plaintiff afforded him adequate due process and was not in violation of the constitution or other state and local law. Also on October 11, 1995, the defendants filed a counterclaim appealing the Level II hearing officer's decision.

On November 30, 1995, the parties then filed cross-motions for summary judgment. On March 12, 1996, the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on counterclaim was denied, and defendant's motion for summary judgment against plaintiff-counter defendant was granted.

The court granted final judgment in favor of the all defendants and against all plaintiffs on July 10, 1996. The court found that the IDEA did not require the school to continue to provide educational services to a student who has been expelled for reasons unrelated to his disability and that, by his actions, the plaintiff forfeited his right to the "free appropriate public education" required by the IDEA. Similarly, the court found that the defendant was not required by the IDEA to stay plaintiff's placement during the due process hearings absent a relationship between the misconduct at issue and the child's disability. With respect to the defendant's counterclaim, the district court determined that the Level II hearing officer had relied on certain facts that were not properly dispositive of the issue at hand. The court found that the school had "reasonably protected" the plaintiff's rights and that its decision was reasonably informed; thus the court concluded that the school had properly found that the plaintiff's misconduct was not related to his learning disability.

On April 7, 1996, the plaintiffs filed an appeal. On May 27, 1997, the United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court's decision. The Appeals Court relied on Doe v. Maher, where a handicapped child's misconduct did not trigger the protections of the IDEA. Thus, the plaintiff was not prejudiced by having less than ten days in which they could obtain an ADHD evaluation did not violate the IDEA.

This case is now closed.

Ginny Lee - 04/03/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Disability
disability, unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
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) Board of Education
Plaintiff Description A 13-year-old freshman at Oak Park & River Forest High School where he was accused of being in possession of a pipe and a small amount of marijuana.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Case Closing Year 1997
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
1:94−cv−06449 (N.D. Ill.)
ED-IL-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/02/1997
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum Opinion (1995 WL 608534) (N.D. Ill.)
ED-IL-0002-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 10/12/1995
Source: Westlaw
Memorandum Opinion (1996 WL 79411) (N.D. Ill.)
ED-IL-0002-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 02/16/1996
Source: Westlaw
Memorandum Opinion (1996 WL 197690) (N.D. Ill.)
ED-IL-0002-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 04/22/1996
Source: Westlaw
Memorandum Opinion (1996 WL 392160) (N.D. Ill.)
ED-IL-0002-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 07/11/1996
Source: Westlaw
[Opinion] (115 F.3d 1273)
ED-IL-0002-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 05/27/1997
Source: Google Scholar
Judges Cummings, Samuel Ray (N.D. Tex.)
ED-IL-0002-0001
Kocoras, Charles Petros (N.D. Ill.)
ED-IL-0002-0002 | ED-IL-0002-0003 | ED-IL-0002-0004 | ED-IL-0002-0005 | ED-IL-0002-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Beck-Fries, Bonnie Lou (Illinois)
ED-IL-0002-9000
Wayne, Susan Ellyn Einspar (Florida)
ED-IL-0002-9000
Wolf, Robert A. (Illinois)
ED-IL-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers McGarrity, Lisa Anne (Illinois)
ED-IL-0002-9000
Relias, John Alexis (Illinois)
ED-IL-0002-9000

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