MM17E-1000890

ESSEX COUNTY - SPECIAL EDUCATION

Representation at due process hearing to request IEE and appropriate services

MP is a 7-yr-old who just completed 2nd grade in a language learning disabilities class; he has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder and has attention and social reciprocity difficulties. After the district reevaluated MP earlier this year, the results of the speech-language evaluation revealed that his pragmatic language skills are poor. Despite this, the district reduced the amount of MP’s speech-language, as well as occupational therapy (OT), services for next year. MP also receives individual counseling sessions once a week for 20 minutes, which is insufficient to address his social reciprocity issues. MM has had to pay for private social skills instruction for MP since the district is not providing it. The district has also failed to complete any evaluations of MP’s social/emotional/behavioral needs or develop appropriate goals and objectives for them. MP’s mother, MM, requested an independent speech evaluation, and the district filed for due process to avoid having to pay for it. A settlement conference was held on July 13th but no hearing dates have been set yet. MM is seeking representation to obtain an independent speech-language evaluation, an increase in speech-language and OT services to the level they were last school year, and the provision of social skills instruction at school with appropriate goals and objectives.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

SC17E-1000887

HUDSON COUNTY - SPECIAL EDUCATION

Negotiation with district regarding classification, placement, and comp. ed.

EH is a 7-yr-old who just completed 1st grade; he has been diagnosed with ADHD and oppositional behavior. EH has been suspended multiple times and taken to the hospital more than once by a mobile response crisis team due to behavioral incidents, including physical aggression. In January 2017, EH’s mother, SC, signed a consent form to have the district evaluate him, but they have not yet done so. A social worker who provides counseling to EH told SC that the district refused to evaluate him because “he does not spend enough time in the classroom for them to be able to evaluate his academic progress.” SC does not know whether EH will be promoted to 2nd grade this fall. She is seeking classification of EH and an appropriate IEP, placement in 2nd grade for the 2017-18 school year (preferably in a different school), and compensatory education for the evaluation delay.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

JG17E-1000807

ESSEX COUNTY - SPECIAL EDUCATION

AG is an 8-yr-old 3rd-grader who has been diagnosed with ADHD. Her IEP provided for minimal services (i.e. one period per day of in-class support in both math and language arts literacy). Last year, the district offered 20 hours of compensatory education services to make up for a delay in evaluating AG and failing to implement her IEP during the first half of the school year. However, AG’s mother, JG, learned through the vice principal that, even while providing compensatory services to AG, the district was not regularly implementing AG’s minimal IEP services. JG is seeking independent evaluations, documentation of IEP implementation, and/or increased services, plus compensatory services as appropriate.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

SG17E-1000801

MIDDLESEX COUNTY - SPECIAL EDUCATION

OG is a 7-yr-old who just finished 2nd grade and who has been diagnosed with ADHD and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). OG’s father, SG, requested independent evaluations, and the district consented, but has not yet conducted them. OG missed several days of school, either because he was sent home following behavioral infractions or because he was too anxious and intimidated by the adults at the school and refused to go. Although his IEP contains a BIP, SG believes it was not being implemented appropriately. SG withdrew OG from school and informed the district of his intent to home school his son. The district threatened to file truancy charges against SG. SG then filed a petition for mediation only. The mediator told SG that a judge would likely rule against him in a truancy hearing, that he would have to reenroll OG in the district in order to obtain independent evaluations, and that he would have to withdraw his complaint if he and the district did not reach an agreement. SG is seeking independent evaluations, development of an appropriate IEP, and compensatory educational services if warranted.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

OM17E-1000650

PASSAIC COUNTY - SPECIAL EDUCATION

JM is a 15-yr-old 10th-grader who has been diagnosed with autism and placed in a self-contained MD classroom. After his mother passed away in January, JM began having difficulty in school behaviorally and emotionally. He was suspended twice in May for hitting and kicking staff, but the school never held a manifestation determination. At an IEP meeting shortly thereafter, the CST informed JM’s father, OM, that they are placing JM on home instruction until an out-of-district placement can be found. OM filed an expedited due process petition to invoke JM’s stay-put rights, and mediation is scheduled for July 25th. OM is seeking representation at mediation to request independent evaluations, compensatory services for the time JM was improperly excluded from school, and an appropriate placement either in- or out-of-district.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

RH17E-1000819

MIDDLESEX COUNTY - SPECIAL EDUCATION

Representation at settlement conference, August 10th, regarding evaluations and placement

AR is a 5-yr-old who has been diagnosed with autism and will be entering Kindergarten in September. His father, RH, believes that AR, who is high-functioning, did not make sufficient progress in his preschool program in part because of the extremely limited amount of time he was integrated with typically-developing peers. RH requested a language learning disabilities (LLD) class for AR for Kindergarten, as per the recommendation of AR’s developmental pediatrician, but the district refused and instead proposed a self-contained autism program. In March, RH filed a mediation-only petition, seeking to have AR moved to a different school because he was exhibiting noncompliant behavior (AR does not have a BIP) and failing to make progress. Mediation was unsuccessful; the petition was converted to due process, and a settlement conference has been scheduled for August 10th. RH also requested independent evaluations, and the district filed for due process to avoid having to pay for them. RH is seeking representation at the settlement conference to obtain independent evaluations at the district’s expense, and a placement for AR in the least restrictive environment with more opportunities to participate with non-disabled peers.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

JA17E-1000277

ESSEX COUNTY - SPECIAL EDUCATION

Representation at mediation and, if necessary, a due process hearing

EC is an 11-yr-old 6th-grader who has been diagnosed with dyslexia. He also has expressive language difficulties that do not seem to be adequately addressed in his current program. The district reevaluated EC in May 2016, but does not appear to have done an appropriate dyslexia screening as required under NJ law. EC’s test results make it clear that his reading achievement is significantly below his cognitive abilities. In March, EC’s mother, JA, went to mediation and signed a settlement agreement in which the district agreed to place EC in an after-school program 3 days a week for 1 hour per day. However, the reading programs that were provided to EC were inappropriate and not consistent with recommendations in a recent psychological evaluation. EC’s reading scores have not improved at all. JA is seeking an out-of-district placement that specializes in students with dyslexia as well as compensatory services.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

AP17E-1000643

PASSAIC COUNTY - SPECIAL EDUCATION

Spanish speaking client. Negotiation with district regarding spec. ed. services and comp. ed.

AM is a 3-yr-old who received services for speech and language through Early Intervention. When she turned 3 last fall, AM was not appropriately referred for an initial evaluation to determine eligibility for speech and language services, resulting in termination of these services. In April 2017, she had surgery for her ears and a tonsillectomy. AM’s mother, AP, believes that her daughter’s speech is regressing and she still requires speech and language services. AP is seeking an IEP providing AM with special education services consisting of speech and language therapy, and compensatory services for the period of time AM failed to receive speech and language therapy.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

CM17E-1000266

ESSEX COUNTY - BANKRUPTCY

Full representation, prepare and file petition and appear at 341 hearing

CM is a 63-year-old woman seeking assistance with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. CM is currently unemployed receiving $1600 monthly in social security and retirement benefits. She has approximately $18,000 in debt, of which roughly $10,000 is dischargeable credit card debt, $1,000 is medical bills, and $7,000 is from auto loans. CM owns a home but is behind on her mortgage payments and is pursuing a deed in lieu of foreclosure.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

 

 

 

CL17E-1000513

OCEAN COUNTY - CONTRACTOR DISPUTE

Negotiation with contractor or representation in lawsuit

CL and her husband hired a contractor through a state grant program to repair and elevate their Sandy-damaged home. They signed an agreement in June 2016, but it did not include an end date or time period for completion of the work. CL paid the contractor almost $23k for the first phase of work, but he failed to complete most of it. Of the work he did complete, much of it was done incorrectly, and will cost CL between $50k and $70k to fix. CL sent the contractor two certified letters, one in February and one in April, putting him on notice of the work that was done improperly and requesting that he fix it, but he never responded. CL, her husband, and their 3 young children are displaced and desperate to return home, as the children are sharing a bedroom and the entire family is sharing a bathroom. CL is seeking an attorney who could negotiate with the contractor or, if necessary, file a lawsuit seeking a refund of the $23k payment as well as the cost to repair the work that was done improperly.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

AB17E-1000638

ESSEX COUNTY - SPECIAL EDUCATION

Negotiation with district regarding evaluations, comp. ed, and placement

LM is a 6-yr-old Kindergartener who is classified for special education under the category of Emotionally Disturbed and placed in a Behavioral Disabilities Program.  In May 2017, the school district suspended LM for “being aggressive,” without a manifestation determination hearing, and in violation of a recently-enacted state law placing limits on discipline for students in second grade or younger, pending a psychiatric clearance.  The psychiatrist recommended that LM be placed on temporary home instruction until an out-of-district placement could be found for her.  The district has excluded LM until the end of the academy year (including ESY services), but did not begin providing home instruction until June 7th.  As a result, LM’s mother, AB, has had to miss work and, after almost losing her job, hire a full-time babysitter in order to remain employed.  AB requested an out-of-district placement, as per the psychiatrist’s recommendation, but the district denied her request.  AB is seeking an attorney to advocate for independent evaluations including an FBA, compensatory educational and behavioral services for the lack of home instruction and lack of appropriate behavioral services, and a therapeutic out-of-district placement.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

UNDER REVIEW

CR17E-1000604

ESSEX COUNTY - SPECIAL EDUCATION

Representation at mediation to advocate for revised IEP with vocational training

CF is a 16-yr-old 10th-grader who is eligible for special education and related services under the classification of Specific Learning Disability. Her current IEP does not contain appropriate transition services or vocational training for the 2017-18 school year. The IEP also fails to discuss CF’s abilities or list any short-term goals. CF’s mother, CR, is seeking a revised IEP to include full- or part-time vocational training for the 11th grade as well as detailed transition short-term goals, and re-evaluations.  CR is looking for an attorney to represent her in mediation.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

UNDER REVIEW

QS17E-1000538

PASSAIC COUNTY - SPECIAL EDUCATION

Negotiation with district regarding classification and placement

NM is a 5-yr-old Kindergartener who has been diagnosed with ADHD and “destructive behavior,” but not yet deemed eligible for special education services.  NM’s mother, QS, lost her job in November at least in part because of repeated calls (2 to 3 times per week) to pick up her son.  Recently, the district told QS to keep her son home because Kindergarten is not mandatory; however, she continued to bring him to school.  Additionally, the school nurse has been attempting to get NM’s psychiatrist to provide him stronger drugs, with which QS does not agree.  In late April, QS was told that her son could not return until he had a psychiatric clearance.  Despite all of this, and despite QS’s request in March, the district has never evaluated NM.  QS is seeking a determination that her son is eligible for special education services and the development of an IEP with an appropriate placement and positive behavior interventions and supports.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

UNDER REVIEW

MH17E-1000196

middlesex county - contractor dispute

Representation in Law Division trial against contractor. Trial – 10/23/17

MH, a senior citizen, hired a contractor to repair her Sandy-damaged home.  She paid him in full, but much of the work was never completed and the work that was has failed several inspections.  The approximate total of damages is $49,500.  MH made multiple written and verbal requests for the contractor to finish the work or correct what was done improperly, but he refused.  MH hired a new contractor to fix the mistakes and finish the remaining work.  She then filed a lawsuit against the original contractor in Chancery Court; the case was recently transferred to the Law Division.  A trial has been scheduled for October 2017.  MH is seeking representation in the lawsuit.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

AB15E-1009510

MERCER COUNTY - military DISCHARGE UPGRADE

Representation in Discharge Status Upgrade application

AB joined the Army in 2010.  She served until 2013, when she was separated.  She received a general under honorable status based upon a pattern of misconduct.  AB believes that she was targeted by her commanding officers in retaliation for reporting certain activity in her unit, including her rape, and that several minor incidents were inflated in order to have her removed.  She is seeking assistance in filing an application for a discharge upgrade.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org

UNDER REVIEW

JT16E-1000963

BERGEN COUNTY - MILITARY DISCHARGE UPGRADE

Review of military records and consultation

JT served in the Marines for nearly three years without incident.  While on guard one day, he witnessed a suicide.  After this event, JT began having mental health issues and ultimately self medicated with illegal drugs.  He tested positive during a routine drug test and was discharged OTH.  JT has been diagnosed with PTSD as a result of his experience.  He hopes to upgrade his discharge status to access VA benefits.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org