Linda L. Yoder

Partner

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Linda Yoder is a partner in the School Law Practice Group and has over 25 years of experience advising public and independent schools and colleges on education matters. Linda has worked with many school districts throughout the state on general education, litigation and special education matters. She began working in the education area as one of the attorneys representing the State of New Jersey before the United States Supreme Court in New Jersey v. T.L.O, the seminal case with regard to a school searches. She currently focuses her practice in the areas of special education, investigations of discrimination claims including Title IX, sexual harassment or race discrimination, and representation of schools in administrative and court litigation matters involving such areas as First Amendment rights, student discipline, or contract disputes. She has successfully argued cases before the Connecticut Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Many of these cases have clarified or defined the law in the State of Connecticut. For example, these cases established standards for statutes of limitation, non-renewal of teaching staff and intentional infliction of emotional distress. In addition, she advises schools with regard to the day-to-day issues of running a school such as responding to questions about administration of medications, confidentiality concerns, employee matters, addressing school security issues and new legislation.

Linda is a frequent speaker on issues facing educational institutions at functions sponsored by various professional organizations and the State Department of Education, and at in-service programs offered by school districts. She is active in the Connecticut Bar Association Education Section as well as the Connecticut Council of School Attorneys.

Before joining the firm, Linda served the State of New Jersey as a Deputy Attorney General in the Division of Criminal Justice.

Distinctions

  • Settlement Special Master for the United States District Court (2005-2009)

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
  • Connecticut Bar Association
  • Hartford County Bar Association
  • Connecticut Council of School Attorneys
  • National School Board Council of School Attorneys

Superior Court Affirms That Parents Who Complain to Public Schools About Staff Have Limited Immunity From Suit

A Connecticut Superior court issued a ruling in the case of Sidney v. Spader, entering summary judgment in favor of parents who were sued after asking a public high school to investigate concerns about a coach. A high school teacher, and coach, was not given a coaching position for the following year, after the school administration investigated concerns raised by several parents about some coaching practices. The plaintiff, Mr. Sidney, sued two of the parents claiming tortious interference with business relations. In a case of first impression, the Court ruled that "individuals who express dissatisfaction to school officials regarding the conduct of teachers and principals are shielded from liability under the Noerr Pennington doctrine so long as the petition is not a sham." The court further ruled that the complaints in this case did not constitute a sham because the school took disciplinary action based on its investigation of the complaint. Therefore, the complaints were not objectively baseless and the alleged motives of the parents were not relevant. Hence, the court granted the defendants' motions for summary judgment.

Successful Representation in IDEA Case

Successfully represented the Woodstock, Connecticut Board of Education in defense of a claim brought under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA").  Plaintiff sued our client, claiming that the Board had failed to appropriately identify the child as eligible for special education services in a timely way, and to require the Board to reimburse the parents for their payment of tuition to a private school.   At the administrative hearing, the Board of Education won. The plaintiff appealed the hearing officer's decision to the United States District Court of Connecticut in which the decision for the Board of Education was upheld. The plaintiff sought judgment in the United States 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals which upheld the lower courts' rulings. A.P. v. Woodstock Board of Education, 370 F. App’x 202, 55 IDELR 61 (2d Cir. 2010).

Practice Areas

Education

  • Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 1981, magna cum laude
  • Grove City College, B.A., 1978,
    magna cum laude

Bar Admissions

  • Connecticut
  • Rhode Island
  • New Jersey

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of CT
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
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