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  • Failure to Improve Is Being Improperly Used to Deny Coverage Under Medicare - Medicare must cover skilled care and therapy when they are “necessary to maintain the patient’s current condition or prevent or slow further deterioration," not just when it will lead to "improvement."

  • Sixth Circuit Holds Eligibility for Medicare Reimbursement Cannot be Denied Based on Presence of Mental Health Condition that "Contributes" to Disability - Okuno v. Reliance Standard Life Ins. Co. - The court held for the first time that a “mental health limitation” in a LTD plan is inapplicable where there is evidence that the claimant is “disabled by physical conditions alone”—the “mere presence of a ‘psychiatric component’ does not justify the application of” the limitation.

  • Claims of Abuse are Outside of IDEA and Administrative Remedies Do Not Have To Be Pursued - The district court erred by dismissing plaintiffs' 1983 and breach of contract claims, which arose from allegations that the defendant-school district's (MCS) aides physically, sexually, and verbally abused the plaintiff-child, because the 1983 claims did not arise under the IDEA. In an issue of first impression, the court also held that the claim for breach of a settlement agreement need not be exhausted before filing suit.

  • Autism Speaks Guide Explains IEP Process - A new guide created by lawyers for the Autism Speaks advocacy group leads parents through the process of obtaining individualized education programs for their children. The guide, which reviews the legal rights of students and parents, offers information useful for children with a range of disabilities. (Source: Disability Scoop)

  • A Simple Form That Enhances Equal Access to the Courts - One of the priorities of the State Bar of Michigan is to have equal access for all to the legal system regardless of gender, race, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation. There is a court form that directly addresses the issue of equal access for persons with disabilities in the Michigan court system. It is the Request for Accommodations, State Court Administrative Office Form MC 70 (MC 70).

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  • How to Find Legal Information in Special Education - Everyone involved in special education—school administrators, classroom teachers, other special education professionals, psychologists, parents, and attorneys—needs to be familiar with the legal requirements and responsibilities for educating children with disabilities and the liabilities if those responsibilities are not fulfilled.

  • New Manual on Advocacy for Students with Epilepsy - The Epilepsy Foundation has just published a new, free legal resource, Legal Rights of Children with Epilepsy in School & Child Care: An Advocate’s Manual. This manual provides detailed practical guidance – for both parents and attorneys – on effective advocacy. strategies. Although parts of the manual focus on the needs of children with epilepsy, it would also be useful for people who advocate for kids with other chronic illnesses like diabetes. Most of it will be useful to people who advocate for children with disabilities. Describes rights under IDEA, 504, ADA and more.

  • Parent Representation - The American Bar Association has launched a new website dedicated to attorneys representing parents in child protective proceedings. The site contains resources, information about upcoming trainings and other materials. Parents' attorneys can also sign up for a listserve where they can share resources, ask questions, etc. This is part of a new initiative launched by the Bar to strengthen the representation parents receive.

  • Law Related Mega Sites : Cornell Legal Institute - Hieros Gamos - FINDLAW

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - click here.

  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) - click here.

  • Legal Links compiled by Kim Murphy - click here.

  • Test Help: Free LSAT Prep Tools, The LSAT Center, and Power Score

  • Dispute Resolution Resources - click here.

  • Learn about Child Custody - click here.

  • Recent Court Cases - click here.

  • Miscellaneous Legal Resources - click here.

  • Articles Related to Legal Research - click here.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Disabled Win Right to Sue States Over Court Access - The Supreme Court upheld the rights of disabled people under a national law meant to protect them, ruling Monday that a paraplegic who crawled up the steps of a small-town courthouse can sue over the lack of an elevator.


Parent Sharing: There is a website where you can take a course on the ADA. You can take it for free for no credit or pay $50 to earn a CEU credit. It takes a few hours to complete and it's pretty good. Go to for more information. (You don't have to do it all at one time.) - WP


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in Depth - The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the most comprehensive federal civil-rights statute protecting the rights of people with disabilities. It affects access to employment; state and local government programs and services; access to places of public accommodation such as businesses, transportation, and non-profit service providers; and telecommunications (from the Center for an Accessible Society).

National Council on Disability (NCD) Addresses Detrimental ADA Rulings by Supreme Court


The Education Law Center - -


"The Beacon" - advocacy in the realm of special education


See our expanded section on the ADA -  click here.


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Special Education and Related Laws, Rules, and Regulations Federal Law: IDEA 97


Archived IDEA '97 information - click here.


See our expanded section on IDEA & IDEA Reauthorization - click here.


Section 504

Rehabilitating Section 504 - This report provides a blueprint for addressing the shortcomings that have hindered Section 504 compliance and enforcement until now. Among the various strategies and approaches to improve Section 504, NCD recommends that the Federal Government conduct periodic and thorough Section 504 self- evaluations; improve data collection and dissemination of data about Section 504 enforcement efforts; bolster Department of Justice resources and guidance to federal agencies on Section 504 enforcement; and apply successful practices in Section 504 technical assistance and enforcement used by federal agencies.


See our expanded section on Section 504 - click here.


Miscellaneous Legal Resources

Legal Planning for Special Needs In Massachusetts: A Family Guide to SSI, Guardianship, and Estate Planning - Attorney Barbara Jackins' new book is a must have resource for parents of children with special needs and the professionals and advocates who assist parents. In an easy-to-read, conversational style, she covers the essential elements of SSI, guardianship, and estate planning when there is a child with a disability in the family. Although some of the materials are specific to Massachusetts, most of the strategies she discusses are valid in any state. Don't live in Massachusetts? Then you can simply ignore the fine points about that state's guardianship laws and procedures. The rest of the book--her practical estate planning strategies and SSI pointers-- will get you on track no matter where you live.

Social Security Disability Secrets


Supreme Court Audio Set for Downloading - Getting audio recordings of landmark legal arguments is becoming as easy as downloading the latest Outkast single.  For the first time, Internet users can download, edit and swap many of the U.S. Supreme Court's greatest hits.


Need to find a court reporter for a deposition in Michigan? Now there is a web site designed just for you. is the most comprehensive database web site of Michigan court reporters. With 900 statewide listings, you're sure to find a qualified reporter.


Lawyer Software Gets Thumbs Up - Nature sends fleas to irritate dogs and lawyers to irritate humans. But there are software programs that can minimize the legal bite and itch, and one of them is Family Lawyer 2003 Deluxe Home and Business from Broderbund software for Windows 98 and later machines.

Articles Related to Legal Research

A Primer of Special Education Law: Teaching Exceptional Children - Teachers and parents often find special education law complex and confusing. One way to get a basic foundation in special education law is to start with the Top 5 case concepts from the Supreme Court.


Supreme Court Nominee’s Record Includes Legal Issues in Education - President Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court, John G. Roberts, Jr., has dealt closely as an appellate advocate with some of the most controversial issues in education. If confirmed, he would bring to the high court perhaps the greatest firsthand knowledge of the concerns of school district officials of anyone since Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr., who had served on the school board of Richmond, Virginia, and on the Virginia state board of education.


MI Cox Rules Schools Must Enroll Ex-charter School Students - Traditional public school districts must enroll students within their boundaries who leave public school academies and may not treat them as nonresidents, Attorney General Michael Cox ruled Wednesday. He said the districts must accept the students regardless of when in the academic year they elect to transfer, importantly even after the official count day when state aid is calculated.


U.S. HIPAA: Patient Privacy Rules Bring Wide Confusion - The transplant patient was recovering well when doctors discovered that his new heart might have been infected with bacteria before the operation. When the doctors sought more information so they could give the man the right antibiotics, the hospital where the donor had died refused, citing new federal patient privacy rules.  "It was ridiculous. The only live part of the donor was in our patient," said Deeb Salem.


IL Employee Benefits Plan Administrator Acted Irrationally in not Covering Autism-Related Therapies - A health insurance plan administrator acted arbitrarily and capriciously in denying coverage of autism- related speech, integrated sensory, and occupational therapies for a plan participant's son , the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled July 21, 2003 (Wheeler v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., N.D. Ill., No. 01 C 6064, 7/21/03).

EEOC Makes Resource Information Available on Cd-Rom: Electronic Version Has Full Search Capabilities and is Available Through Direct Order - Chair Cari M. Dominguez today announced that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has made its seven-volume set of Technical Assistance Resource Manuals available for purchase on CD-ROM. For the first time, computer users can search this comprehensive resource on workplace discrimination issues by using one user-friendly compact disc and entering simple search terms.


Abused Child Returns to School With Legal Protections from Wrightslaw's Special Ed Advocate - "Sometimes, we learn about a case that triggers intense emotions and a strong desire to right a wrong. Alex R.'s case triggered these responses. We are waiting to hear if Illinois school officials will right this wrong."


Observations from the Transom by Brice Palmer - Beyond the technical, legal, and ethical considerations of expert witness testimony is the continuing effort by education agencies and their legal counsel to restrict the ability of parent attorneys and advocates to adequately argue on behalf of disabled children and their parents.


Employment Law Protections For Parents of Disabled & Ill Children - Parents of children with disabilities and serious medical conditions are at high risk for employment discrimination.


New Copyright Exemptions for Distance Educators
The Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act
by Carrie Russell
With the passage of a new law on November 2, 2002, eagerly-awaited by educators, teachers can now-in general-use the same types of copyright protected materials in the digital classroom that they would ordinarily use in the physical classroom. However, in order to take advantage of the exemptions, specific obligations outlined in the law must be met. This ERIC Digest, written by the copyright specialist for the American Library Association's Office for Information Technology Policy, outlines both the privileges and the requirements of TEACH. For more information visit: or

Dispute Resolution Resources


Also see Mediation - click here.

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