Settlement Reached in 12-Year-Old Lake Erie Border Class Action Lawsuit - Owners of property bordering Lake Erie in Ohio may be entitled to compensation (but claim forms must be filed by October 12, 2016)

A class action lawsuit dating back to 2004 has finally been settled involving the owners of property bordering Lake Erie in Ohio who filed against the State of Ohio (State), in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). As part of the settlement, affected current and past landowners may qualify for reimbursement if they file the necessary claim form by October 12 of this year.
At the heart of the lawsuit was the State's claim of public trust ownership up to the Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM) of Lake Erie. It was back in 2011 that the Ohio Supreme Court weighed in with its opinion that the State's title in trust to Lake Erie is actually the natural shoreline and not the OHWM. This led to years of litigation and fact finding between the various parties, resulting in the current settlement. [More]

Ohio Court Weighs in on Transgender Student Access to Restrooms and Name Issues

As the national debate regarding transgender students' rights and school districts' obligations rapidly evolves, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio adds to the conflicting precedent. On September 26, 2016, Judge Marbley ordered the Highland Local School District ("District") to treat 11 year-old "Jane Doe," a biological male, "as the girl she is." The Judge's order requires the District to allow the student to use the girls' restroom in the elementary school and refer to her by female pronouns and her female name. The crux of the issues involves transgender identity protections under the Equal Protection Clause and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. In making his ruling, Judge Marbley rejected the privacy argument made by the District that the privacy rights of other students weighed against allowing Jane Doe to use the girls' restroom. [More]

The Degree of "Educational Benefit" Required for a Free Appropriate Public Education: United States Supreme Court to Settle the Debate

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA), public schools must provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to students with disabilities. The degree of "educational benefit" a child must receive in order for the school district to have provided a FAPE has been a question that school districts across the country have grappled with for decades. But clarification is in sight as the United States Supreme Court will hear the case of Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District RE-1. The central issue in Endrew F. is defining the level of educational benefit a school district must confer on children with disabilities to provide them with the FAPE guaranteed by the IDEIA. [More]

Helping Schools Deal with Transgender Issues

Amid national strain and debate surrounding gender identity--from boycotts of Target due to its transgender bathroom policy to state laws and city ordinances that are aimed to restrict restroom use to biological at birth gender--school districts find themselves thrown into this national debate. Guidance from courts and agencies continues to evolve, leaving school districts floundering amidst the controversy with a lack of adequate legal direction to help them balance the prohibition of discrimination against privacy and safety concerns for the student body and community. [More]