Supreme Court Review 2016/2017 TERM
SUNDAY, MARCH 26, 2017

Issue:  Handicapped Children’s Protection Act of 1986 (HCPA), 20 U.S.C. § 1415( l )

Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools



The Handicapped Children’s Protection Act of 1986 (HCPA),  20  U.S.C.  §  1415(l),  requires  exhaustion  of state  administrative  remedies  under  the  Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for non-IDEA actions “seeking relief that is also available under” the IDEA.  The question presented, on which the circuits have persistently disagreed, is: Whether the HCPA commands exhaustion in a suit,   brought   under   the   Americans   with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, that seeks damages—a remedy that is not available under the IDEA.


Decided February 22, 2017 HOLDING

Exhaustion of the IDEA’s administrative procedures is unnecessary where the gravamen of the plaintiff’s suit is something other than the denial of the IDEA’s core guarantee of a FAPE. This case is remanded to the Court of Appeals for a proper analysis of whether the gravamen of E. F.’s complaint charges, and seeks relief for, the denial of a FAPE.

Agree image Justice Sotomayor
Agree Sotomayor
Agree image Justice Breyer
Agree Breyer
Agree Concur image Justice Thomas
Agree Concur Thomas
Recused image Justice Scalia
Recused Scalia
Agree image Chief Justice Roberts
Agree Roberts
Agree image Justice Kennedy
Agree Kennedy
Agree image Justice Ginsburg
Agree Ginsburg
Agree Concur image Justice Alito
Agree Concur Alito
Author image Justice Kagan
Author Kagan

KAGAN, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and KENNEDY, GINSBURG, BREYER, and SOTOMAYOR, JJ., joined. ALITO, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, in which THOMAS, J., joined.

Text of Opinion
pdf download


United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Decided June 12, 2015
pdf download