WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in favor of a Michigan student seeking to hold his local school district accountable for allegedly failing to adequately meet his educational needs.
In the unanimous ruling, the court said Miguel Luna Perez could bring claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) against the Sturgis Public School District.
The brief decision written by Judge Neil Gorsuch addressed a technical problem: whether Perez was barred from filing a claim under the ADA because he was already seeking relief under a different federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), ).
Perez and his family allege that the school district failed to provide qualified aides who could adequately translate into sign language.
The school also indicated that Perez was progressing normally and was on track to graduate from high school. The family was surprised when Perez was told he would not receive a diploma.
The school settled Perez’s IDEA complaint, promising to provide an education at the Michigan School for the Deaf.
Perez later sued under the ADA, seeking compensatory damages.
The school district claimed the lawsuit couldn’t proceed because of the IDEA lawsuit, but the Supreme Court disagreed with Tuesday’s decision.
While lower courts found that a provision of IDEA barred Perez’s ADA lawsuit, «we clarify that nothing in that provision stands in the way of him,» Gorsuch wrote.
The case will now go back to the lower courts to determine if Perez can win the damages he seeks.