Articles Posted in U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals

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Plaintiffs, on behalf of their child with autism, claimed that the school district violated the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1400-1482, by denying the child a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in his least restrictive environment (LRE). At issue was whether the LRE provision of the IDEA applied to extended school year (ESY) placements for children who need twelve-month educational programs. The court held that the IDEA's LRE requirement applied to ESY placements just as it does to school-year placements. Therefore, the district court erred in determining that the school district met its obligations under the IDEA by offering the child only an ESY placement in a self-contained special education classroom. The court also held that the district court erred by ordering the school district to pay the full cost of obtaining the child's pendency services through private providers even though the school district had offered to provide the same services itself at a lower cost. Although the school district was wrong to deny the child pendency services in the first place, it nevertheless was not required to pay for the child to remain with the same pendency services providers throughout this entire litigation. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded for further proceedings. View "T.M. v. Cornwall Central School District" on Justia Law

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Debtor, a New York City tenant, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and listed the value of her apartment lease on Schedule B as personal property exempt from the bankruptcy estate as a "local public assistance benefit." At issue was whether the value inherent in debtor's rent-stabilized lease as a consequence of the protections afforded by New York's Rent Stabilization Code, N.Y. Comp. Code R. & Regs. tit. 9, 2520.1 et seq., made the lease, or some portion of its value, exempt from debtor's bankruptcy estate as a "local public assistance benefit" within the meaning of New York Debtor and Creditor Law 282(2). The court certified this unsettled issue to the New York Court of Appeals. View "Santiago-Monteverde v. Pereira" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs placed their son in a specialized private school designed to educate children with learning disabilities and filed suit against the District for tuition reimbursement under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq. An Impartial Hearing Officer (IHO) awarded tuition reimbursement but the State Review Officer (SRO) reversed. The court held that the SRO's decision was insufficiently reasoned to merit deference and deferred to the IHO's decision, which was more thorough and carefully considered. The court affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff's claim under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. 794, where the parents had not presented sufficient evidence of bad faith or gross misjudgment. View "C.L. v. Scarsdale Union Free Sch. Dist." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff appealed the denial of disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 401 et seq. The court concluded that the failure explicitly to engage in a function-by-function assessment of plaintiff's limitations and restrictions as a part of her residual function capacity (RFC) did not constitute a per se error requiring remand. The court concluded that remand was not required where the ALJ's Step Four analysis of plaintiff's limitations and restrictions provided an adequate basis for meaningful judicial review, the ALJ's determination applied the correct legal standards, and the determination was supported by substantial evidence. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Cichocki v. Astrue" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a due-process complaint against the DOE seeking tuition reimbursement after plaintiffs enrolled their autistic child in a private school because the DOE failed to provide the child with a free and appropriate public education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq. The court affirmed the state review officer's determination that the hearing record did not support the impartial hearing officer's determination that the lack of a functional behavior assessment (FBA) rose to the level of denying the child a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) where the individualized education program (IEP) addressed behavioral needs. Further, the IEP's failure to include parental counseling did not deny the child a FAPE; the SRO did not rely upon impermissible retrospection and the court deferred to her analysis; and the court found plaintiffs' remaining arguments to be without merit. Accordingly, the court affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants. View "M.W. v. New York City Dep't of Educ." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a recipient of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, appealed from the district court's judgment sua sponte dismissing his amended complaint under 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B). Plaintiff sought an Order to Show Cause, a temporary restraining order, and a preliminary injunction enjoining defendants from levying against his SSI benefits to enforce a child support order. At issue was whether 42 U.S.C. 659(a) authorized levy against SSI benefits provided under the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 301 et seq., to satisfy the benefits recipient's child support obligations. The court concluded that SSI benefits were not based upon remuneration for employment within the meaning of section 659(a); section 659(a) did not preclude plaintiff's claims; and the Rooker-Feldman doctrine and the exception to federal jurisdiction for divorce matters did not preclude the district court from exercising jurisdiction over the matter. Accordingly, the court vacated the judgment to the extent the district court dismissed plaintiff's claims against the agency defendants and remanded for further proceedings. However, the court affirmed the portion of the judgment dismissing plaintiff's claims against Bank of America because his complaint had not alleged facts establishing that the bank was a state actor for purposes of 42 U.S.C. 1983. View "Sykes v. Bank of America" on Justia Law

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The County appealed from a judgment of the district court finding that the County was in violation of its duty to promote source-of-income legislation under a Stipulation and Order of Settlement and Dismissal (consent decree) entered into by the County with the United States to resolve a qui tam action initially brought by relator, ADC, under the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. 3729-33, alleging the submission of false claims by the County to HUD in order to obtain federal grant monies for fair housing. As a preliminary matter, the court held that the district court had jurisdiction to review the decision of the reviewing magistrate judge under the consent decree. On the merits, the court held that the County violated the terms of the consent decree. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "United States v. Westchester County, New York" on Justia Law

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Petitioner appealed from the district court's judgment affirming the Commissioner's denial of his application for disability benefits. The court held that the ALJ erred in her treatment of plaintiff's claim that he suffered from fibromyalgia by failing to accord the proper weight to the opinion of plaintiff's treating physician, by misconstruing the record, and by failing to evaluate the claim in light of medically accepted diagnostic criteria. The court also held that the ALJ's determination that plaintiff could perform light work was not supported by substantial evidence, and that the ALJ further erred by not determining whether plaintiff's reaching limitation was non-eligible and would therefore require the testimony of a vocational expert. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded for further proceedings. View "Selian v. Astrue" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff appealed from the judgment of the district court affirming the Social Security Administration's (SSA) denial of her application for Supplemental Security Income disability benefits on the basis of her alleged intellectual disability. The court held that evidence of a petitioner's cognitive limitations as an adult established a rebuttable presumption that those limitations arose before petitioner turned 22, as was required by SSA regulations. The court further held that a petitioner must make separate showings of deficits in cognitive and adaptive functioning in order to be considered intellectually disabled under SSA regulations. Because the agency's finding that petitioner did not suffer from qualifying deficits in adaptive functioning was supported by substantial evidence, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Talavera v. Commissioner of Social Security" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, through his wife and attorney-in-fact, filed an application for Medicaid benefits with the Connecticut Department of Social Services to cover the cost of his nursing home care. At issue was whether a non-assignable annuity contract that provided the spouse of an institutionalized person with monthly payments counted as an excess resource that must be spent down before the institutionalized person could receive Medicaid benefits under the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988 (MCCA), 42 U.S.C. 1396r-5. The court held that the payment stream for non-assignable annuity was not a resource for purposes of determining Medicaid eligibility. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court granting plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. View "Lopes v. Dept. of Social Services" on Justia Law