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A.D. v. State of Hawaii Department of Education

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

August 14, 2013

A.D., by and through his parent L.D., guardian ad litem, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
State of Hawaii Department of Education, Defendant-Appellant.

Argued and Submitted June 12, 2013 —Honolulu, Hawaii

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii J. Michael Seabright, District Judge, Presiding D.C. No. 1:12-CV-00307-JMS-KSC

David M. Louie, Attorney General, Gary S. Suganuma (argued) and Holly T. Shikada, Deputy Attorneys General, Honolulu, Hawaii, for Defendant-Appellant.

John P. Dellera, Honolulu, Hawaii, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Before: Jerome Farris, Dorothy W. Nelson, and Jacqueline H. Nguyen, Circuit Judges.

SUMMARY [*]

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

The panel affirmed the district court's order that a student was entitled to remain in his special-education placement pending resolution of his challenge under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to "Act 163, " a Hawaii law cutting off special-education eligibility for students who reach age 20.

The panel held that the district court's "stay put" order was a collateral order subject to interlocutory appeal. The panel held that even though the student had turned 22, the age at which the IDEA cuts off special-education eligibility for all disabled children, the appeal was not moot because the issue of the availability of the stay-put injunction to students challenging Act 163 was capable of repetition, yet evading review.

The panel held that the IDEA's stay-put provision applied, even though the student had exceeded the state-imposed limit on eligibility for public education, because when he filed his complaint he was still fully eligible for public special education under Hawaii law. The panel distinguished a Seventh Circuit case, which held that the stay-put provision ceased to function after a student reached the IDEA's statutory age limit by turning 22, on the basis that the Hawaiian student was challenging the legality of the Act 163 deadline itself.

OPINION

D.W. NELSON, Senior Circuit Judge:

When a student with an existing special education placement files a complaint under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA"), he is entitled to remain in that placement until his case is resolved. 20 U.S.C. § 1415(j). In the argot of education law, this rule is known as "stay put." In this appeal, we must decide whether the stay-put provision applies to a student who has exceeded a state-imposed age limit on eligibility for public education. We conclude that it does, and affirm.

A. Background

This appeal is about the interaction between the IDEA's stay-put provision and a Hawaii statute restricting public ...


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