Since IDEA 2004 became the law one topic that has been troubling parents is the prospect of the school district shifting fees to parents when they file due process. In an Arizona case, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, ruled that since the parents' claim could have resulted in remedies in their favor their claim was sound and there could be no fee shifting. The parents lost the due process but were not held responsible for their school district's fees in excess of $140,000 (that number alone is truly astounding for a due process case even with an appeal).
In R.P. ex.rel. C.P. v. Prescott Unified School District, 56 IDELR, (9th Cir. 2011) ruled that the parents' failure to obtain relief and win their case did not mean that the case was baseless or frivolous. This case is consistent with a decision out of Missouri where the court similarly turned down the district's efforts to shift fees to parents for losing a due process. Under the current law, parents should bring cases that are well founded in the law and facts without fear of being tagged for the school district's fees in the event that they do not win the case. Winning or losing the case is not the standard for school's to shift fees claims to parents. It is highly advisable to consult an experienced attorney in the area of special education law to make sure that any due process claim is in fact well-founded in IDEIA and that the facts are sound to go forward with a due process filing.