News in Brief

Supreme Court Rejects Case on Spec. Ed. 'Burden of Proof'

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

The U.S. Supreme Court last week refused to hear the appeal of a Minnesota family in a case about the burden of proof in legal disputes over special education.

The appeal came from the parent of a child with multiple disabilities who ended up in administrative proceedings over the child’s services under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

At issue was whether the parent or the state of Minnesota would have the burden of proof in the proceedings. In a 2005 opinion known as Schaffer v. Weast, the Supreme Court held that where state law was silent on the issue, the burden of persuasion in special education cases lies with the party who brought the case. But the justices stopped short of deciding which rule would apply in states that assign the burden of proof in such proceedings by law, such as Minnesota, which places the burden on school districts in most instances.

In the Minnesota case, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, in St. Louis, ruled in February that notwithstanding the Minnesota law, the burden of proof in the case should be on the moving party, which was the family.

The justices on Oct. 20 denied without comment the family’s appeal of that ruling in M.M. v. Special School District No. 1 (Case No. 07-1559).

Vol. 28, Issue 10, Page 4

Published in Print: October 29, 2008, as Supreme Court Rejects Case on Spec. Ed. 'Burden of Proof'
Related Stories
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories