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NH and MH: After the Due Process, a Section 504 damages action was eventually settled for $4,400,000.00 as compensation for the school's deliberate indifference toward 2 siblings with autism.


MD v. School: This case was settled at the Resolution Meeting a week or so after being filed. The claims were based upon flaws in the IEP development process. The private school program cost $81,000.00 per month and 'Stay-Put' was retained.


AA v. School: This was another case settled during the Resolution process within weeks of filing the case. Parents were given over $500,000.00 to use to pay for a private program when the school failed to make a public program available to him. 


Private Placement: This is a very typical remedy that families seek for violations of their rights. In the bus case, the student had won private school placement that was retained for 11 years.


The AdvocacyProject has filed or participated in 3 Class Actions 


Felix v. Cayetano, was a class action filed in 1994 against the Hawaii Department of Education alleging systematic denial of educational rights of children with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Keith Peck was a Plaintiffs' attorney on this case. In 2003 the State of Hawaii spent $284,037,140.00 on maintenance of services for disabled children based upon the consent Decree established by the class action.

Makin v. Chandler, Keith Peck was the original lead counsel on this case that sought to make the State of Hawaii provide adult, disabled residents, home, and community access to mental health-related services under the Olmstead Act.

W.G., et al, v. Kishimoto, The AdvocacyProject filed this class action on April 13, 2020, against the Hawaii Department of Education. This was the first of its kind legal action related to the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. Plaintiffs alleged that the state’s Department of Education provided non-disabled students educational-related services but failed to provide students eligible for federal protection under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974 and students eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act access to educational-related services. Plaintiffs sought an “equitable" means to determine the amount of compensatory education” for which students were entitled.  National Public Radio segment.

Select Cases

 Past success does not guarantee future results*. 


The AdvocacyProject has represented families in approximately 800 IDEA cases. Some seminal cases follow.




  • NH and MH: 24/7 Comp. Ed & 4.4 Million Damages action.

  • MD v. School: 81k monthly private placement (settlement).

  • AA v. School: 500k+ for multi-year placement (settlement).

  • Numerous Cases: Private placements. In one such case, after 11 years of transportation to a private school from Hana, Maui to Haiku, Maui (on the Hana Highway), and back, the bus company gave the bus to the family when the student graduated.

  • Numerous Cases: Reimbursement for Tutoring.

  • Multiple Cases: Funding for Out-of-State private placement.

  • Multiple Cases: Funding for private ABA clinical placement.

  • LR v. School: ABA services for DD students in public school.

  • Other Wins/Settlements



The AdvocacyProject has participated in approximately 15, 9th Circuit Court cases.

Natalie and Michelle H., et al v. Lemahieu, et al, 01-16582, 05-16236, 09-15754. ​The AdvocacyProject’s Keith Peck is cited as a lead counsel in this series of cases. This case began as an administrative hearing under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  In 2003 a claim was filed alleging deliberate indifference by the state education agency against 2 siblings with autism. After 2 interlocutory appeals to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and 12 years of litigation, the case was settled providing Plaintiffs 4.4 million dollars, 2 months before a scheduled jury trial. This case is widely credited with establishing a right to money damages under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974, in the 9th Circuit federal court jurisdiction. 

Doug C. v. Department of Education, 720 F.3d 1038 (9th Cir. 2013). The AdvocacyProject’s Keith Peck was lead counsel for parents and their autistic child challenging the federal court’s determination that holding an IEP without the parents when the school did not want to reschedule the meeting and the annual deadline was approaching was not a significant denial of parental participation. Mr. Peck reversed this ruling and also made law defining the role of private providers as necessary participants in certain situations and clarifying when an IEP team denies a family their rights under the doctrine of ‘lost educational opportunity’. Over 45 federal courts have cited and relied upon this decision as support for their decisions in later cases.  

C.B. v. Department of Education, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43961, Civ. No. 11- 00576 SOM/RLP (2012). AdvocacyProject’s Keith Peck was lead counsel for parents of an autistic child who sought to require the Department to fund a private placement for the child under the “stay put” provision of the IDEA, which requires that placements not change during the pendency of a hearing or appeal. 

L.A.S. v. Department of Education, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21232 (2013). The AdvocacyProject’s Keith Peck was lead counsel and secured a reversal and remand of a hearing officer’s conclusion that a parent’s request for reimbursement of private placement tuition was time-barred, and for the hearing officer’s failure to address the issue the parent presented, relating to the Department’s offer of a FAPE on the condition that the student receives services in a public school. L.A.S. 

REB v. Hawaii DOE,  Plaintiff objected to an individualized education plan for the student’s transition from a private school into public kindergarten. The panel held that the case was not moot because it could still grant effectual relief. On the merits, reversing in part, the panel held that transition services under the IDEA are not limited to students exiting the public school system. Rather, where transition services become necessary for disabled children to be educated and participate in new academic environments, these services must be included in individualized education programs in order to satisfy the IDEA’s “supplementary aids and services” requirement. The panel held that the Department of Education violated the IDEA by failing to address transition services in the proposed IEP. The panel held that the Department of Education also violated the IDEA by failing to specify in the IEP the least restrictive environment during the regular and extended R.E.B. V. STATE OF HAWAII DEP’T OF EDUC. 3 school year. This infringed the parent’s opportunity to participate in the IEP process and was, therefore, a denial of a free appropriate public education. Affirming in part, the panel held that the IEP was not required to specify the qualifications of a one-on-one aide. Finally, the panel held that the Department of Education violated the IDEA by failing to specify Applied Behavioral Analysis as a teaching methodology in the IEP because this methodology was integral to the student’s education. The panel remanded the case to the district court for a determination of the proper remedy. Dissenting in part, Judge Bea agreed that the case was not moot, and he agreed with the portions of the majority opinion affirming the district court. Dissenting from the holdings that found error, Judge Bea wrote that the Department of Education responded to the plaintiff’s concerns about the student’s transition, did not violate the IDEA’s least restrictive environment requirement, and was not required to specify the particular teaching methodology. 4 R.E.B. V. STATE OF HAWAII DEP’T OF EDUC. 

H. G., et al v. EDU-HI, et al, The AdvocacyProject’s Keith Peck was lead counsel through appeal to the 9th Circuit stage of this case. It started as an administrative hearing in 2009, was appealed to the United States District Court, was remanded back down to the administrative tribunal and then again to the District Court after which it was appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of appeals before being remanded and won at the District Court in May of 2018. The verdict resulted in a ruling that Hawaii’s Department of Education materially failed to implement a student with PDD-NOS Individualized Education Program and ordered a monetary award to the family of $441,622 plus $99,041 in interest.




The AdvocacyProject has filed or participated in approximately 100 USDC cases. 



Reviews Special Education Lawyer Maui Honolulu Hawaii
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Who we are, Where we work and What we believe.

These testimonials do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.

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                                                       In every practice area of the law, there is

                                                       one firm that predominates; you be the


                                                       Mr. Peck has dedicated his practice to the

                                                       representation of families under the 

                                                       Individuals with Disabilities Education Act,

                                                       Americans with Disabilities Act and

                                                       Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

                                                       of 1973 and has worked on well-over

                                                       1000 cases on behalf of children with

                                                       disabilities. His outstanding level of

                                                       experience in IDEA law is irrebuttable.

Starting his career focus during law school, he worked for a firm that represented parents on special education matters. Shortly after graduating from law school in 1996, Mr. Peck started his legal career

working for the Protection & Advocacy agency in Hawaii on cases that would promote systemic change for people with disabilities. In 1999, Mr. Peck founded his firm The Law Center, in Honolulu Hawai’i (now, LegalAction, a law corp.) focusing on representing families in special education matters, at no cost to them. He has been a national leader in the field ever since. Mr. Peck has been at the forefront of many important cases. 

Among his many victories, Mr. Peck prevailed in Doug C., over the state Department of Education establishing a new bright-line rule for judging procedural compliance with the I.D.E.A. in the 9th Circuit. Co-counsel in Hawaii’s class action for special education rights and original lead counsel on Hawaii’s Olmstead action, he also participated in establishing a right to money damages under Section 504 in the 9th Circuit, in Natalie and Michelle H., et al v. Lemahieu, et al.


He regularly appears before the United States District Court and has been lead counsel in over 100 United States District Court cases involving I.D.E.A. and constitutional issues.  Mr. Peck practices at the administrative, State Circuit Courts and Federal District Courts, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. His knowledge has helped scores of families receive critically important remedies for their children. He has mentored attorneys and conducted numerous workshops and seminars for parents and advocates.


Not for the faint of heart, special education law is a difficult area of practice. The state government hires and trains hearing officers to judge the cases brought against it. Federal court judges are generalists doing many areas of law and can be apologists for state agencies ignoring citizens' rights. To be successful, it helps to have legal representation that judges and state hearing officers know will appeal unjust decisions. This is why it is important to hire an attorney that judges understand will not take no for an answer. Not a timid person, if you are looking for an attorney that speaks truth to power, Mr. Peck is that person.


In addition to his work for families, he has also worked advising for-profit and non-profit boards on issues that affect the operation of programs and schools for children with autism spectrum disorder and other disabilities. He co-developed the 2014 American Bar Assc.'s continuing legal education seminar for advanced practice in special education law. He recently founded ParentAdvocate, LLC in order to provide free and cost-effective tools, and services to families with disabled children. He is a past lecturer for Lorman’s Educational Seminars on the I.D.E.A. and Section 504 matters and, has conducted thousands of consultations for parents.

With a perspective on Talmudic thought (תיקון עולם) and history as well as social justice, Mr. Peck attended the New School for Social Research, Pratt Institute, School of Architecture (focus on community development), and Marquette University, Law School. He divides his time between Hawaii, California, Paris, and China. 

Keith H.S. Peck, President and Chief Legal Strategist

From Kona to Hilo, Kauai, Lanai, Molokai and Honolulu, the Windward shore and Waimanalo: We help families in IEP meetings and Due Process Hearings.

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