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April 4, 2018
Pre-hearing Settlement Offers Can Limit Liability for a Successful Party’s Attorney’s Fees, but Only if an Offer Includes Reasonably Calculated Attorney’s Fees.




Pre-hearing settlement offers are one tool a local educational agency (“LEA”) can use to limit its potential liability for attorney’s fees should a parent, legal guardian, or student partially prevail in a due process hearing.  Parents who obtain a favorable ruling after a due process hearing are entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees.  If partially successful, they are still entitled to an award of some attorney’s fees.  Most due process filings are settled as only a fraction progress through a full hearing to a decision, but of those that are fully adjudicated by the Office of Administrative Hearings (“OAH”), students are fully or partially successful about 63% of the time.  However, a pre-hearing settlement offer can limit liability for attorney’s fees incurred after the offer is made if the offer is “more favorable” than the relief ultimately obtained by a parent.

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This GIRARD, EDWARDS, STEVENS & TUCKER LLP Special Education Legal Alert is a complimentary newsletter providing general information about events of current legal importance. The Special Education Legal Alerts do not constitute specific legal advice nor do they establish an attorney-client relationship. As the information contained here is necessarily general, its application to a particular set of facts and circumstances may vary. GIRARD, EDWARDS, STEVENS & TUCKER LLP does not recommend that you act on this information without consulting legal counsel.

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