Summer D. Dalessandro is the Managing Partner of Lozano Smith's San Diego office. Ms. Dalessandro began her legal career as an Associate with the firm in 2005. She is a noted special education attorney, representing K-12 school districts throughout the state in due process hearings, federal court appeals, mediations, IEPs and the manifestation determination review process. In addition to special education matters, her practice encompasses the full spectrum of student-related, charter school, and board governance issues that school districts face.
Prior to joining the firm in 2005, Ms. Dalessandro served as a law clerk for Judge Robert E. May in the Superior Court of California, County of San Diego.
Ms. Dalessandro is a skilled trainer, lending her knowledge of special education issues to the firm's popular Special Education Legal Consortium (SELC), which is presented in multiple California locations each year. She has also presented before the California Council of School Attorneys (CCSA), Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO) and California Association of Supervisors of Child Welfare and Attendance (CASCWA), among others.
Ms. Dalessandro is admitted to practice before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Southern, Central, and Northern Districts of California.
She received her J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law and studied abroad in the area of international and comparative constitutional law at Oxford University. She received her B.A. from Cornell University. Ms. Dalessandro was admitted to the California State Bar in 2004, and is also admitted to practice law in the state of Minnesota.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a decision in M.C. v. Antelope Valley Union High Sch. Dist. (9th Cir., Mar. 27, 2017, No. 14-56344) ___ F.3d ___ [2017 U.S.App. LEXIS 5347] that expanded procedural requirements in special education cases and opened the door for parents to add issues during a special education due process hearing. This decision appears to shift the balance in favor of parents' attorneys throughout California and other Ninth Circuit state...
On February 22, 2017, the United States Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools (2017) 580 U.S. ___ (Fry) that is expected to have a profound effect on the way lawsuits that arise under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) are litigated. The Court held that students with a disabilities are not requir...
Making clear that school districts should not ignore their obligations to initiate due process when parents refuse to consent to necessary components of special education, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently reversed and remanded the decision of a district court on the subject. In I.R. v. Los Angeles Unified School District, (9th Cir., November 17, 2015) 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 19900 (I.R.), the Ninth Circuit held that "school districts in California must comp...
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld the decision of a district court in Hawaii concluding that a student's parents must be reimbursed for the continued placement of their son, Sam K., in a private school due to the Hawaii Department of Education's (DOE) failure to convene an Individualized Education Program (IEP) prior to the start of the school year. In Sam K. v. Hawaii Dep't of Educ., (9th Cir., June 5, 2015) 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 9398, the Ninth Circui...
School districts may recover attorneys' fees and costs for frivolous claims under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA), section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and/or 42 U.S.C. section 1983 (Section 1983). The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently addressed a matter in which a school district attempted to recover such fees, overturning what would typically be the bulk of th...
On February 23, 2015, the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) issued a letter indicating that a parent may request a publicly funded independent educational evaluation (IEE) to assess an area that was not covered by the school district's evaluation. Under 34 C.F.R. section 300.502, parents may request a publicly funded IEE if they disagree with a district's assessment of their student. In general, if a parent requests an IEE at public expense, the public agenc...
It's that time of year! The beginning of the school year can be one of the busiest times of year in special education, densely packed with assessments and IEP team meetings. With that in mind, the Lozano Smith Special Education Practice Group offers some guidance to ensure a smooth and successful school year. Many of the reminders below stem from a recent case from the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), Aspire Public Schools (2013) OAH No. 2013040872.
On August 3, 2011, the Governor signed into law Assembly Bill (AB) 123, a bill aimed at limiting disruptions that threaten students' immediate physical safety when arriving at, attending, or leaving school. Penal Code section 626.8 previously made it a misdemeanor for any person to cause disruption at school, remain after being asked to leave, reenter after being asked to leave, or otherwise establish a continued pattern of unauthorized entry. AB 123 adds to secti...