A Win for the Parnes Family; Disability Discrimination Suit Proceeds

(Altamonte Springs, FL) Sept. 28, 2023 – éclat Law is pleased to announce a significant development in one of our major cases. The US District Court for the Middle District of Florida has dismissed the Orange County School Board’s motion to dismiss our lawsuit on behalf of the Parnes family. This decision allows us to continue advocating for justice and equal rights for students with disabilities.

The lawsuit was initiated after the Parnes family’s daughter experienced disability discrimination during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the shift to online learning, the school failed to provide necessary accommodations or update her Individualized Education Program (IEP). We filed a complaint outlining three counts of violation: disability discrimination under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), disability discrimination under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and retaliation under the ADA.

In response, the School Board claimed that the Parnes family had not exhausted administrative remedies as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and that they failed to state a claim for relief. However, the court disagreed on both counts, citing a recent Supreme Court ruling that families can seek relief without exhausting IDEA’s administrative processes if the relief is not provided by the IDEA. As monetary damages are not covered by the IDEA, the Parnes family is entitled to sue for compensatory relief under other federal laws, such as the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act.

Furthermore, the court rejected the School Board’s assertion that the Parnes family failed to state a claim. The court found that the family had indeed established a claim over actions that went beyond the defendant’s mere failure to provide a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).

Lead attorney Kevin Ross-Andino commented on the court’s decision, “This is a milestone in our pursuit of justice for the Parnes family and all families facing similar circumstances. It opens the door for parents to advocate effectively for their children with disabilities.”

We at éclat Law are committed to ensuring that every student receives the education they deserve, free from discrimination. This ruling is a step in the right direction, and we will continue to fight for the rights of all students.

Read the Order here.

About éclat Law, PA:

éclat Law is an innovative litigation law firm dedicated to delivering client-focused solutions in the practice areas of civil rights and employment law, class action lawsuits, complex litigation, and arts and entertainment law. Founded by Kevin Ross-Andino in 2015, the éclat team of experienced attorneys and staff is passionate about serving the needs of clients both in and out of the courtroom.