Marcy  Gutierrez

Partner | Sacramento, Los Angeles

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Tel: 916.329.7433
Fax: 916.329.9050
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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.

Presenter Experience

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.

Professional Affiliations

California Council of School Attorneys
California Women Lead
Law and Public Policy Advisory Committee
Sacramento County Bar

Special Considerations for Students with Exceptional Needs Related to School Closures Due to COVID-19

By: Marcy GutierrezAlyssa BivinsErin FrazorTilman Heyer-

March 2020Number 16Frequently Asked Questions - Part 2BackgroundThe following updates and expands on the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) we issued on March 12, 2020 (available here), which provided general guidance for K-12 school districts in responding to the needs of students with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since that date, additional statutory and federal and state guidance has been issued, listed below. The information in this document is current through March 24, 2020, ...

Special Considerations for Students with Exceptional Needs Related to School Closures Due to COVID-19

By: Marcy GutierrezDeniss Escorcia Dimas-

March 2020Number 14Frequently Asked QuestionsBackgroundCOVID-19 is a novel form of coronavirus which causes respiratory disease that has affected communities worldwide, and cases of COVID-19 recently appeared in California communities, prompting concerns about student wellness, attendance, instruction, and school operations. This FrequentlyAsked Questions (FAQ) sets out general guidance for K-12 school districts as they respond to the needs of students with disabilities in the wake of COVID-1...

California Passes New Law To Increase Protection And Safety Of Special Education Students In Nonpublic Schools

By: Marcy GutierrezBrenda Arzate-

January 2020Number 3Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1172 this fall, which imposes additional requirements upon nonpublic schools (NPSs), as well as the local educational agencies (LEAs) that place students in NPSs, in order to increase the safety and protection of students in NPS placements. This legislation was passed following the high profile death of a 13-year-old special education student, who passed away after being placed in a prone restraint at an NPS.AB 1172 places ne...

New Law Will Allow Students With IEPs To Take Assistive Technology Devices Home With Them

By: Marcy Gutierrez-

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,...

Ninth Circuit Addresses Impact Of Dismissals And Settlement Of Due Process Complaints On The IDEA’s Administrative Remedy Exhaustion Requirement

By: Marcy GutierrezSloan SimmonsAmanda Cordova-

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...

Ninth Circuit Upholds District’s Unilateral Change Of Location Of IEP Services, Emphasizes Importance Of Academic Needs In LRE Analysis

By: Marcy GutierrezKyle Raney-

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...

New Law Limits the Use of Seclusion and Restraints in Schools, Requires Annual Data Report

By: Marcy GutierrezAmanda Cordova-

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...

Two New Laws Require Educational Agency Actions to Enhance Student Access to Health Services

By: Marcy Gutierrez-

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...

Non-Binding Order from OAH Requires School District Administer Medical Marijuana on Campus

By: Marcy GutierrezAimee PerryAlyssa Bivins-

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 ...

The Pot Thickens: Legal Updates on Marijuana and Schools

By: Marcy GutierrezAimee PerryAlyssa Bivins-

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...

Fall 2019 Legislative Roundup – Special Education Bills

By: Marcy GutierrezKyle RaneyAlyssa Bivins-

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.

What Is Least Restrictive Environment? What the Courts Say

By: Marcy Gutierrez-

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.