In a New York case we have been closely following, J.T. v. DeBlasio, 100 students with disabilities filed a class action lawsuit against virtually every school district and state education department in the country. The attorneys for the students recently claimed to have served all school districts, including those in Illinois, with the lawsuit via email on August 28, 2020. The complaint was sent from the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may recall that the students in the lawsuit alleged that their school districts denied them IDEA, ADA, Section 504, and constitutional rights. However, the judge recently issued several powerful preliminary orders. First, the judge issued a “rule to show cause” order requiring the attorneys for the students to tell the court why it should not dismiss the complaint against the school districts in the 49 states outside of New York for lack of jurisdiction. In addition, after learning that the attorneys for the students were attempting to initiate special education due process hearings to avoid dismissal of the suit for failing to exhaust administrative remedies, the judge barred them from initiating any such hearings. From the tenor of the judge’s orders, it would be surprising if any school district outside New York remains a defendant in this litigation. However, due to the nature of the lawsuit and because it is still pending, we recommend that if your District received service of the lawsuit to contact legal counsel.
Please contact Michelle Todd or Jason Manning if your District was officially served or sent a copy of the complaint, or you have questions regarding the lawsuit.