A father who is a lawyer and successfully represented his daughter in a dispute with a local public school district has lost his bid for attorney fees under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA).

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, following the precedent of two other circuits, held for the first time that the purpose of awarding attorney fees is to enable plaintiffs to obtain competent counsel and that awarding a parent fees could discourage plaintiffs’ use of independent, objective lawyers.

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