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P.G. v. Rutherford Cty. Bd. of Educ. - 313 F. Supp. 3d 891 (M.D. Tenn. 2018)


Congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act with the noble purpose of providing a clear and comprehensive mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities by providing that: No qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any such entity. 42 U.S.C. § 12132.


Plaintiff P.G., a minor, by and through his parents R.G. and A.G., and each parent individually, filed a lawsuit in federal district court against defendant Rutherford County Board of Education ("Board"), for alleged mistreatment by personnel at the school P.G. attended, which was operated by the Board. It was alleged that because of P.G.'s disability, a teacher at the school began abusing P.G. both verbally and physically. The complaint raised claims under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA"), 20 U.S.C.S. § 1400 et seq.; the Special Education Behavior Supports Act ("SEBSA"), Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-10-1304, et seq.; Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C.S. § 12131 et seq.; § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ("Section 504"), 29 U.S.C.S. § 794; and the Tennessee common law of negligence. The Board filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that plaintiffs were required to exhaust all of their claims under the IDEA.


Were plaintiffs required to exhaust all of their claims against the Board under the IDEA?




The court granted in part and denied in part the Board's motion to dismiss. In accordance with multiple decisions from various court finding that a complaint regarding restraint conduct sought the denial of a free and appropriate public education ("FAPE') and required administrative exhaustion, plaintiffs' IDEA and SEBSA claims for inappropriate and illegal use of physical restraints by P.G.'s teacher were dismissed for failure to exhaust. Plaintiffs' ADA and Section 504 claims regarding the failure of the Board to properly train P.G.'s school instructors properly and implement remedial measures were dismissed because they pertained to the denial of a FAPE and required exhaustion. However, plaintiffs' ADA and section 504 claims concerning the physical abuse of P.G. at the hands of his teacher were not subject to the IDEA exhaustion requirement, and thus those claims were not dismissed. The court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiffs' state law negligence claim, and thus that claim was dismissed.

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