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
The 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.
Existing law limits the use of seclusion and restraints in schools for students with exceptional needs. Speci...
Governor 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 infor...
In 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.
Schools 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 sch...
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...
A federal district court in Southern California recently declined to issue a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of Senate Bill (SB) 277. As we previously reported, SB 277, which went into effect January 1, 2016, eliminated the "personal belief" exemption (PBE) from vaccine requirements for schoolchildren. (See 2015 Client News Brief No. 36.)
In July of 2016, several plaintiffs filed a request for a preliminary injunction, alleging that SB 277 and its elim...
In a recent decision, Douglas v. California Office of Administrative Hearings (9th Cir., May 13, 2016, No. 15-15261) __ Fed.Appx. __ [2016 U.S.App. LEXIS 8844], the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed that occupational therapy services, whether educationally or medically necessary, are "related services" under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) when they are included in a student's Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
The appellate court als...
A federal district court recently ruled that a school district and its employees did not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act of 2008 (ADA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) when they filed reports of parental child abuse with child welfare authorities. (Thomas E. Smith v. Harrington, Ph.D et al (March 27, 2015) 2015 U.S. Dist. Lexis 39628.) In Smith, a parent claimed that the child abuse reports were filed in retaliation for his a...
School districts must comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) when developing an appropriate IEP for deaf or hard-of-hearing (DHH) students, and must also comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to ensure their needs for effective communication are met. As previously reported by Lozano Smith, in August 2013, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held in K.M. v. Tustin Unified School District (9th Cir. 2013) 725 F.3d 1088, tha...
A federal appeals court has ruled that a school district's compliance with its obligations to a deaf or hard-of-hearing student under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) does not necessarily establish compliance with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit came on August 6, 2013 in a pair of consolidated cases involving two deaf and hard-of-hearing high school stu...
On August 12, 2013, in American Nurses Ass'n. v. Torlakson (Docket No. S184583), the California Supreme Court answered the long outstanding question whether trained school district personnel are legally allowed to administer insulin to diabetic students under a Section 504 Plan or Individualized Education Program (IEP). Torlakson is an appeal from a 2010 California court of appeal decision, which held that under California law, unlicensed school personnel were not a...