Mayerson & Associates was formed in 2000 as the nation’s very first civil rights law firm dedicated to the representation of individuals with autism. Our firm was responsible for the first autism case to reach the U.S. Supreme Court, Hamilton County Department of Education v. Deal, 546 U.S. 936 (2005). More than 60 other reported decisions at the federal level attest to the firm’s leadership in the field.
Mayerson & Associates’ practice areas now include bullying, inclusion, assistive technology support, housing, employment, vocational/transition training, Carter (reimbursement) hearings, Connor (direct funding) hearings, suspension and expulsion hearings, discrimination and related damage claims, child protective services proceedings, IEP development, compensatory education, issues pertaining to residential, post-secondary and graduate school options, matters involving sexual abuse, insurance coverage disputes, custodial disputes, and the many situations where “reasonable accommodations” are warranted. To date, the firm has represented more than 1,000 families in more than 30 states. The firm also consults internationally to families living abroad.
The firm, which has grown to a core litigation team of six attorneys and four paralegals, is considered by many to be the premier, go-to firm for high-stakes and high-profile matters, as well as any case likely to be appealed to a federal court. Mayerson & Associates represented the plaintiffs in the recent landmark federal “bullying” case of T.K. v. New York City Department of Education, (2nd Cir. 1/20/16)). The firm also represented the plaintiffs in R.E. v. New York City Department of Education, 694 F.3d 167 (2d Cir. 2012), R.K. v. New York City Dep’t of Education, 694 F. 3d 167 (2d Cir. 2012); P.K. v. New York City Dep’t of Education, 2013 U.S. Ct. App. WL 2158587 (2nd Cir. 2013), and C.F. v. New York City Dep’t of Education, No. 11-5003-CV 2014, U.S. App. LEXIS 4085 (2nd Cir. March 4, 2014), four other extremely important IDEA-based decisions that are now helping to prevent school districts from victimizing parents at trial with unfair “bait and switch” litigation tactics.
Mayerson & Associates represented the plaintiffs in Anthony Starego, et al. v. NJSIAA, et al., (D.N.J. 2013), a groundbreaking federal case that, when settled, awarded Anthony Starego, a varsity football player with autism, an unprecedented fifth season of competitive play and “inclusion” as a placekicker for his public high school. Anthony and his team then made history by going on to win the 2013 state championship, with Anthony contributing points from two successful field goals.
The firm also represented the plaintiffs in T.M. v. Cornwall CSD, an inclusion case that had attracted the attention of the U.S. Department of Education and the Justice Department, where the Second Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that Congress’ “least restrictive environment” mandate applies to ESY (Summer) IEP programming just as it does during the regular portion of the school year and that therefore, school districts are charged with considering a genuine “continuum” of options for the extended school year.
In July, 2015, the firm won a landmark federal jury trial where the core issue was whether or not a former paraprofessional aide had sexually abused a 12 year old student with Down Syndrome. After a two week trial in New Haven, the jury accepted the account given by the student and rejected the testimony of more than a half dozen school district witnesses who had challenged or outright rejected the student’s allegations.
Mayerson & Associates has never been content to simply “talk the talk.” In furtherance of its mission, the firm is demonstrably committed to employing and training individuals with autism and other related challenges. To date, the firm’s employment efforts have been entirely successful. The firm also devotes significant time training and mentoring promising law students. At the request and invitation of not-for-profit organizations including but not limited to Autism Speaks, the firm also prepares and files amicus (friend of the court) briefs in federal cases where the firm believes it is in the public interest to do so. Finally, each year, Mayerson & Associates proudly represents, pro bono, a number of families who have meritorious cases, but do not have the financial resources to engage counsel.
As the firm’s bios reflect, Mayerson & Associates’ attorneys are published in the field and regularly appear as featured presenters at national conferences. This tradition was started in 2005 with the publication of Gary Mayerson’s book, How To Compromise With Your School District Without Compromising Your Child (DRL Books). As the title suggests, many cases can and should be settled without having to proceed to a formal hearing or trial. The firm thus strives to maintain a careful balance—to be prepared to resolve disputes yet be equally prepared to litigate if an appropriate resolution is not feasible.