Attorney’s Fees Third Circuit affirmed an award of attorney’s fees. Appellate Court denied that a 2:1 preparation to hearing ratio was reasonable as applied to all attorney hours and further found that such a ratio was only applicable to highly experienced attorneys. Moreover, the Court refused to reduce the loadstar simply because the parents did not succeed on two of six claims filed. The Court determined that a failure to succeed on every claim does not preclude full compensation. E.C. v. Philadelphia School District, Dkt. No. 15-1825, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 5068 (3d Cir., March 21, 2016).
Civil Rights Parents asserted that the school district deprived student of his liberty interest in attending school free from the bullying of peers and the verbal abuse of his teacher. Third Circuit determined that the State’s failure to protect an individual against private violence does not constitute a violation of due process, absent a “special relationship” or a state-created danger, neither of which exist in a peer harassment allegation. Neither did the teacher’s abusive verbal comment rise to a level that would “shock the conscience.” Bridges v. Scranton Area School District, Dkt. No. 14-4565, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 4667 (3d Cir., March 14, 2016).
Third Circuit determined that, in a Section 1983 claim for negligent supervision, former student failed to demonstrate that either the classroom aide or the building principal had any supervisory authority over police officer who sexually assaulted several students on school grounds during school hours. Jankowski v. Lellock, No. 15-2942, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 9245, (3d Cir. May 20, 2016)
Discrimination Third Circuit dismissed complaint of high school teacher of 40 years, finding that teacher failed to demonstrate age, race, or disability discrimination. Teacher also failed to exhaust her administrative remedies by obtaining a “right to sue” letter from the EEOC. Purvis-Chapman v. Silverstein, Civ. No. 14-4252, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43324 (D.N.J. March 31, 2016)
Federal Funding Third Circuit declined to hear petition for review filed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education seeking to overturn the Secretary of Education’s determination to recover $7.2 million in misused federal funds and the Secretary’s denial of federal offset. The Court found that denial of the offset was neither capricious nor an abuse of the Secretary’s discretion. Secretary’s decision was based on audit findings showing that the district improperly used federal grant funds to supplant state and local funding, inadequately enforced policies and procedures for processing financial transactions, and failed to have in place written policies and procedures for various fiscal processes. The Secretary also noted that this case was the first in which it actually objected to a grantee’s request for an equitable offset based on the nature of the grantee’s misconduct. Pennsylvania Dept. of Ed. v. Secy. U.S. Dept. of Ed., Dkt No. 15-450, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 4451 (3d Cir. March 10, 201).