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COPAA Amicus -5th Circuit Reverses Decision Denying Attorney Fees

Tuesday, November 10, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Denise Marshall

In D.G. v. New Caney Indep.Sch. Dist., a victory for children with disabilities, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court decision denying a petition for attorney's fees as untimely. COPAA filed anamicusbrief supporting reversal of the decision.

The court of appeals held that the statute of limitations for filing a claim for attorney's fees for a prevailing parent does not begin to run until the school district's time to appeal has expired. Because the statute of limitations did not begin to run until 90 days after the decision in D.G. prevailed, D.G.'s complaint for attorney's fees was timely under even the most restrictive possible statute of limitations, which was 30 days. (The court did not reach the question of which state statute of limitations applied, because even if the shortest one applied, D.G.'s fee complaint was timely.)

COPAA members Constance Wanamaker and Colleen Elbe of Disability Rights Texas represented D.G. and his parents. COPAA Legal Director Selene Almazan and Amicus Committee Chair Catherine Merino Reisman represented COPAA in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Selene and Catherine, along with Amicus Committee member Alice Nelson, authored the brief for COPAA.

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