The long-running litigation between A.W., a student with dyslexia, and NJDOE came to a close last month when the parties filed a settlement agreement with the federal district court. A.W. had sued NJDOE in 2001 over systemic failures that denied him appropriate education services to treat his dyslexia for more than ten years. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, A.W. will receive both monetary damages and compensatory education services for up to five years.

During the course of A.W.’s battle to hold NJDOE and individual state officials liable for his not having been taught to read in his public school district’s special education classes, the State appealed twice to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. While the federal appeals court followed changes in United States Supreme Court precedent to rule out individual liability for A.W.’s claims, the court did uphold A.W.’s right to sue NJDOE, as the agency ultimately responsible for ensuring that New Jersey students receive a free appropriate public education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

A.W. was represented throughout this litigation by ELC, with the assistance of co-counsel, Jeffrey Fogel, Esq., Stephen Latimer, Esq., and, to present argument in one of the appeals, Rebecca Spar, Esq. A.W.’s claims against his local school district for its role in his denial of appropriate services were resolved through a confidential settlement agreement in 2004.


Prepared: September 10, 2008

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