Phillips v. Hebron

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*********************************************** The “officially released” date that appears near the be- ginning of each opinion is the date the opinion will be pub- lished in the Connecticut Law Journal or the date it was released as a slip opinion. The operative date for the be- ginning of all time periods for filing postopinion motions and petitions for certification is the “officially released” date appearing in the opinion. All opinions are subject to modification and technical correction prior to official publication in the Connecticut Reports and Connecticut Appellate Reports. In the event of discrepancies between the advance release version of an opinion and the latest version appearing in the Connecticut Law Journal and subsequently in the Connecticut Reports or Connecticut Appellate Reports, the latest version is to be considered authoritative. The syllabus and procedural history accompanying the opinion as it appears in the Connecticut Law Journal and bound volumes of official reports are copyrighted by the Secretary of the State, State of Connecticut, and may not be reproduced and distributed without the express written permission of the Commission on Official Legal Publica- tions, Judicial Branch, State of Connecticut. *********************************************** ALEXANDER M. PHILLIPS v. TOWN OF HEBRON ET AL. (AC 42276) Alvord, Moll and Bishop, Js. Syllabus The plaintiff, a minor child diagnosed with Down syndrome and without functional speech who was enrolled in the Hebron public school system, brought an action seeking damages from the defendants, the town of Hebron, the Board of Education, and eight of the board’s employees, for, inter alia, negligence per se and statutory (§§ 46a-58 and 46a-75) discrimination. The plaintiff claimed that the defendants discriminated against him based on his disabilities by segregating him from students without disabilities and breached their duties to educate him in the least restrictive environment. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint on the ground that the plaintiff sought relief for the defendants’ failure to provide special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq.), thus triggering an administrative exhaustion requirement contained in that act and in the applicable state statutory (§ 10-76a et seq.) scheme that implements the federal act, thereby depriving the trial court of subject matter jurisdiction. The defendants specifically contended that, although the plaintiff did not allege a violation of the federal act, he sought relief for the denial of a free appropriate public education under the federal act and that, regardless of whether the complaint alleged a violation of the federal act, the federal act and state law (§ 10-76h) mandated exhaustion of administrative remedies insofar as the crux of the complaint was the alleged denial of a free appropriate public educa- tion. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss and rendered judgment thereon, concluding that the plaintiff was required to exhaust his admin- istrative remedies but had failed to do so. On appeal to this court, the plaintiff claimed, inter alia, that he was not required to exhaust his administrative remedies because he did not …

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