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N.W. v. Boone County Bd. of Educ.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

August 18, 2014

N.W., a minor child, by and through his next friend and parents J.W. and J.W., et al., Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
BOONE COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION et al., Defendants-Appellants

Argued, August 6, 2014

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky at Covington. No. 2:13-cv-00007--William O. Bertelsman, District Judge.

ARGUED:

Mary Ann Stewart, ADAMS, STEPNER, WOLTERMANN & DUSING, PLLC, Covington, Kentucky, for Appellants.

Karen H. Ginn, CHEVALIER, GINN & KRUER, P.S.C., Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky, for Appellees.

ON BRIEF:

Mary Ann Stewart, ADAMS, STEPNER, WOLTERMANN & DUSING, PLLC, Covington, Kentucky, for Appellants.

Karen H. Ginn, CHEVALIER, GINN & KRUER, P.S.C., Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky, for Appellees.

Mary Suzanne Cassidy, O'HARA, RUBERG, TAYLOR, SLOAN & SERGENT, Covington, Kentucky, for Amici Curiae.

Before: MOORE and McKEAGUE, Circuit Judges; STAFFORD, District Judge.[*]

OPINION

Page 612

KAREN NELSON MOORE, Circuit Judge.

N.W., by and through his parents, brought this action under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (" IDEA" ), 20 U.S.C. § § 1400-1482, arguing that the Boone County Board of Education and an assortment of individual defendants (collectively, " the District" ) had failed to offer a " free appropriate public education" (" FAPE" ) to N.W., as required by the IDEA. The district court ruled against N.W., but it nonetheless ordered the District to reimburse N.W.'s parents for the costs incurred as a result of N.W. attending a private school while the litigation played out. The District appeals this portion of the district court's ruling. Because the IDEA bars a district court from ordering reimbursement absent a finding that the school district failed to provide a

Page 613

FAPE, we VACATE this part of the district court's judgment.

I. BACKGROUND

N.W. is a nine-year-old, autistic child, born in 2004, who has been diagnosed with apraxia.[1] In 2007, N.W.'s parents enrolled him in the District's schools when he was three years old. An Admissions and Release Committee (" ARC" ) determined that N.W. qualified for special-education services and placed him at St. Rita's School for the Deaf under an individual education program (" IEP" ). At St. Rita's, a private school in Cincinnati, N.W. ...


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