Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lawsuit Could Cost Hawaii Millions

A much-delayed lawsuit concerning the Hawaii public school system’s treatment of two autistic girls in the mid-1990’s is set to go to trial in October and could cost the state “millions of dollars” in damages for each of the girls, according to public records.
Long delays in the case are attributable to rulings by an octogenarian federal court judge, Manuel Real, whose erratic courtroom behavior and quixotic legal decisions have brought him repeated rebukes and reversals from his appellate court superiors.
The parents of the girls first filed the lawsuit in 2000, alleging that the state had denied the two sisters crucial special education services from 1994 to 1998. The children, identified only as Natalie and Michelle in the suit, were just two and three years old in 1994. They are now 19 and 20.

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