University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Jim C. v. Arkansas Department of Education ED-AR-0002
Docket / Court 4:96-cv-00748-GTE ( E.D. Ark. )
State/Territory Arkansas
Case Type(s) Education
Case Summary
On September 20, 1996 parents of a child with special education needs filed suit against the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), Arch Ford Education Services Cooperative, and the local school district, in the Eastern District of Arkansas for their failure to provide additional treatment to ... read more >
On September 20, 1996 parents of a child with special education needs filed suit against the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), Arch Ford Education Services Cooperative, and the local school district, in the Eastern District of Arkansas for their failure to provide additional treatment to their child, consistent with the "Lovaas methodology," an educational methodology found to have had success in treating children with autism. The plaintiffs alleged that the school district's refusal to implement 40 weekly hours of Lovaas-based education was a violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

The ADE moved for dismissal or summary judgment, asserting in part that the Eleventh Amendment prevented a federal court from exercising jurisdiction over the IDEA, § 504, and § 1983 claims. The district court judge denied this motion. The judge agreed with the order in Bradley v. Arkansas Dep't of Educ., which held that the Congress properly exercised its power when it legislated the provisions of IDEA that abrogate the state's Eleventh Amendment immunity. Bradley v. Arkansas Dep't of Educ. (E.D. Ark. Nov. 21, 1997)(holding that Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44 (1996) made IDEA's abrogation provisions valid.)

In August, 1999, Bradley was reversed on appeal by the 8th Circuit. 189 F.3d 745, 756 (8th Cir. 1999). Arkansas subsequently filed an interlocutory appeal for this case, arguing that the Bradley panel's decision that declared § 504 invalid for stepping over state sovereign immunity should apply here. 189 F.3d 745, 756 (8th Cir. 1999).

But on plaintiffs' suggestion for rehearing en banc on the spending-power issue alone, the 8th Circuit in January, 2001 vacated that portion of the panel's opinion in Bradley and held that Section 504 is a valid exercise of Congress's spending power. 235 F.3d 1079 (8th Cir. 2000), cert. denied, 533 U.S. 949 (2001). In the same opinion, the 8th Circuit held that Arkansas waived its immunity with respect to Section 504 suits by accepting federal funds and accordingly affirmed the judgment of the District Court denying the State's motion to dismiss. 235 F.3d 1079 (8th Cir. 2000), cert. denied, 533 U.S. 949 (2001).

However, in April, 2001, the district court held that the defendant school district has provided the plaintiff with an education program that satisfies the district's legal obligations. First, the court agreed with the 1996 ruling from the administrative hearing that was in favor of the school district. Upon the plaintiffs' request to implement the Lovaas-based instruction, an adminisitrative due process hearing was held under IDEA. At the hearing, experts testified that there are similarities between the Lovaas method and the teaching methods adopted by the ADE and pointed out negative components of the Lovaas method. In a decision dated August 21, 1996, Hearing Officer Ammel ruled in favor of the school district. Second, the court found that after the 1996 hearing, the district continued to reimburse the Plaintiffs for 19 weekly hours of Lovaas instruction which were carried out in the Plaintiffs' home. Plaintiffs continued supplementing, at their own expense, the amount of Lovaas instruction funded by the district so that the plaintiff was receiving about 40 hours of weekly Lovaas instruction. Third, the court agreed with the 1999 administrative due process hearing, which ruled that the school district had met its burden of proving that J.C.'s IEP was reasonably calculated to offer him educational benefits. Therefore, the court concluded that the state defendant was compliant with IDEA and § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

The court also denied the plaintiff's motion for reconsideration, finding no manifest error of law or fact. The Supreme Court denied cert.

Soojin Cha - 10/17/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Disability
disability, unspecified
General
Special education
Medical/Mental Health
Intellectual/Developmental Disability
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Indv. w/ Disab. Educ. Act (IDEA), Educ. of All Handcpd. Children Act , 20 U.S.C. § 1400
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) Arkansas Department of Education
Plaintiff Description Plaintiff is a private party, a parent of a child with autism.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted Moot
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Unknown
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Case Closing Year 2001
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing ED-AR-0001 : Bradley v. Arkansas Department of Education (E.D. Ark.)
Docket(s)
4:96-cv-748 (E.D. Ark.)
ED-AR-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/29/2001
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Opinion [Ct. of App. ECF# 68] (189 F.3d 745)
ED-AR-0002-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/13/1999
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order (197 F.3d 958)
ED-AR-0002-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/14/1999
Source: Google Scholar
Order of Consolidation [ECF# 75] (E.D. Ark.)
ED-AR-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/22/2000
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [Ct. of App. ECF# 87] (235 F.3d 1079)
ED-AR-0002-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 01/30/2001
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Order [ECF# 101] (E.D. Ark.)
ED-AR-0002-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/27/2001
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Motion for Reconsideration [ECF# 102] (E.D. Ark.)
ED-AR-0002-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/27/2001
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Bowman, Pasco Middleton II (Eighth Circuit)
ED-AR-0002-0001
Eisele, Garnett Thomas (E.D. Ark.)
ED-AR-0002-0002 | ED-AR-0002-0004 | ED-AR-0002-0005 | ED-AR-0002-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers McGowan, Thomas H. (Arkansas)
ED-AR-0002-9000
Peters, Scott H. (Iowa)
ED-AR-0002-9000
White, Mary Jane (Iowa)
ED-AR-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Blume, W. Paul (Arkansas)
ED-AR-0002-9000
Brazil, William Clay (Arkansas)
ED-AR-0002-9000
Humphries, Tim C. (Arkansas)
ED-AR-0002-9000
Leonard, Anita Perkins (Arkansas)
ED-AR-0002-9000
Robinson, Sherri L. (Arkansas)
ED-AR-0002-9000
Yeargan, Leigh Anne (Arkansas)
ED-AR-0002-9000

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