Marcy Gutierrez is a Partner in Lozano Smith's Sacramento office and co-chair of the firm's Special Education Practice Group. She began her career in education as a public school teacher, and has been advising and representing school districts and other education entities for over fifteen years. Her areas of expertise include special education, student discipline, Title IX, the Brown Act, and litigation.
Ms. Gutierrez has effectively represented school districts in many venues, including cases successfully litigated at the administrative agency level as well as in the federal courts. In addition to special education, she also advises and represents school districts and other education entities with regard to student discipline, public records requests, and the broad spectrum of anti-discrimination and anti-harassment requirements that apply to public education agencies.
Ms. Gutierrez is a frequently requested guest speaker who has presented on many topics, such as Transition Planning, Autism, IEP Facilitation, and other topics related to special education as well as Section 504. She finds her expertise is best used by providing training to staff, where she emphasizes hands-on tools to provide educationally and legally appropriate programs for students with special needs.
Ms. Gutierrez earned her J.D. from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, and her B.A. from the University of California, Davis.
California Council of School Attorneys
California Women Lead
Law and Public Policy Advisory Committee
Sacramento County Bar
October 2019Number 51Governor Newsom recently signed Assembly Bill (AB) 605, which will require local educational agencies (LEAs) to allow students to use school-purchased assistive technology devices at the student's home or in other settings when the student's individualized education plan (IEP) team decides on a case-by-case basis that access to those devices is necessary in order for the student to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). This new law takes effect on January 1,...
October 2019Number 43The recent opinion of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Paul G. v. Monterey Peninsula Unified School District clarifies that dismissal or settlement of a special education due process hearing inadvance of a hearing and final administrative decision from the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), does not satisfy the requirement that a plaintiff exhaust administrative remedies under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) before initiating a lawsuit in federal c...
September 2019Number 41On April 24, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Ninth Circuit) issued a decision inR.M. v. Gilbert Unified School District, No. 17-16722 (9th Cir. Apr. 24, 2019), in which the parents of a special education student (Plaintiffs) challenged the Gilbert Unified School District's (District) decisions to: (1) increase the student's special education instruction by 20 minutes per day; and (2) unilaterally move the location of the student's service...
December 2018Number 90The California Legislature recently passed a new law aiming to promote student rights and safety by imposing limits on the use of behavioral restraints and seclusion in schools. Assembly Bill (AB) 2657, which prohibits the use of restraint or seclusion for any student except in specified circumstances, becomes effective on January 1, 2019.Current LawExisting law limits the use of seclusion and restraints in schools for students with exceptional needs. Specifically, Calif...
December 2018Number 92Governor Jerry Brown recently signed two Assembly Bills (AB) into law, designed to increase student access to health services. Both laws focus on mental health services for students.AB 2022: Bi-Annual Notice Requirement Regarding Access to Student Mental Health Services AB 2022 adds Education Code section 49428 and requires public schools, including charter schools, to provide students and their parents or guardians at least twice per school year with information regardi...
October 2018Number 55In a non-binding order, a California state administrative law judge from the Office of Administrative Hearings ("OAH") ruled that a public school district must allow a student's nurse to administer medical marijuana, as needed, on campus and transportation. The September 21, 2018 decision inStudent v. Rincon Valley Union Elementary School District (2018) OAH Case No. 2018050651 is unprecedented, but is not binding on other school districts.BackgroundThe case arose from a ...
October 2018Number 56Schools may soon be getting requests to permit students to take a marijuana-based epilepsy drug at school, thanks to a change in the way the federal government regulates it. Read on to learn more about Epidiolex and the state of the law regarding administration of medication at school, including marijuana based drugs.Separately, but related to administration of marijuana based drugs, Governor Jerry Brown recently vetoed a state bill that would have permitted school boards...
In a case of first impression, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of looser time limits on Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) claims. (Avila v. Spokane School District 81 (9th Cir.,
Mar. 30, 2017, No. 14-35965) ___ F.3d ___ < http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2017/03/ 30/14-35965.pdf>.) The Ninth Circuit's ruling reversed a district court decision which held that some of the plaintiff parents' claims were time-ba...
In a recent decision, N.E. v. Seattle School District (9th Cir., Nov. 17, 2016, No. 15-35910) ___ Fed.Appx. ___ 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 20612, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s denial of a student’s request for injunctive relief related to their stay put placement. The appellate court focused on the timing of the student’s due process complaint and his placement for the upcoming school year.
The N.E. case is interesting because it involv...
In its recent decision in Department of Health Care Services v. Office of Administrative Hearings(Nov. 29, 2016, F071023) __ Cal.App.4th __ <http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/F071023.PDF>, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal held that during a dispute between a local education agency (LEA) and a non-educational state agency over the provision of services included in an Individualized Education Program (IEP), the department or agency that provided the se...
Sloan Simmons sits down with Lozano Smith Special Education Practice Group Leaders Marcy Gutierrez and Aly Bivins, along with special education, 504, and student attorney Kyle Raney, to discuss this year’s legislative activity in the area of special education, as well to get their views on what school officials should be thinking about in the special education arena looking forward to 2020.
Host Sloan Simmons talks to Lozano Smith’s Special Education Practice Group Leader Marcy Gutierrez and special education litigator Kristy Boyes about the challenges schools face in providing the least restrictive environment (LRE) to students with special needs, and what guidance we can glean from federal law as enunciated by the Ninth Circuit, including in the 2019 case of Solorio
v. Clovis Unified School District (J.S.)
(9th Cir. Jan. 15, 2019) Case No. 17-16625, which was litigated by Sloan and Kristy before the district court and Ninth Circuit.