To “push back” against D.C. lawyers who represent students with disabilities in special education cases, then-D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles sued a plaintiff’s lawyer for attorney’s fees on the theory that the District became a prevailing party when it voluntarily provided the relief sought and then had the case dismissed with prejudice. We filed an amicus brief in October 2009, showing why the District could not be a “prevailing party” under that theory. In a January 2010 decision, the court of appeals agreed with us about that, and also agreed about the relevant policy issue, quoting our brief: “As amicus explains, such an outcome would deter lawyers from taking IDEA cases, ‘effectively block[ing] the one enforcement mechanism parents have when an educational agency drags its heels,’ and undermining the IDEA’s very purpose.”

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

Covington & Burling

Date filed

September 25, 2009


Amicus Filed