Many schools are receiving an email from a law firm in New York with the attached class-action lawsuit. The lawsuit has been filed against all public schools in the United States. The email from the law firm asks the school employee if they are the proper person to accept service of the lawsuit on behalf of the school. Please do not respond to that email at this time. Responding to the email may trigger the school’s obligation to appear and defend against the lawsuit. The Oregon School Boards Association and PACE are coordinating with the Oregon Department of Education and the National School Boards Association to develop a plan for handling this lawsuit. OSBA and PACE will be providing additional guidance.
In addition to the above-mentioned lawsuit, Oregon schools have begun receiving nearly identical special education due process hearing requests from The Brain Injury Rights Group, a New York-based organization. The due process hearing requests allege that the named school violated the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act when it shifted delivery of instruction from in-person to comprehensive distance learning. The due process hearing request also proposes various solutions, which include compensatory services, independent evaluations of the named student, and the payment of attorneys’ fees and expenses. OSBA recommends that schools promptly consult with their special education counsel if they receive one of these complaints.