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Partner - Linda L. Yoder

Linda L. Yoder

Partner

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Linda serves as co-chair of the firm's School Law Practice Group. For more than 25 years, she has advised public and independent schools,  colleges and universities and related education entities on the full spectrum of education law. Linda’s experience is unparalleled: As a thought leader, legal advisor, litigator, and trial and appellate attorney, her career offers a window onto the most pressing issues that educational institutions, educators, parents and students have faced over the decades — and must address today. Many of the cases she has handled have clarified or defined national and Connecticut law and set standards in areas such as statutes of limitation, non-renewal of teaching staff and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Prior to joining Shipman & Goodwin, Linda served the State of New Jersey as a Deputy Attorney General in the Office of the Attorney General’s Division of Criminal Justice Appellate and Trial Sections. While there,  she was a member of the team that represented the State of New Jersey before the United States Supreme Court in New Jersey v. T.L.O, the seminal case with regard to school searches. At the Attorney General’s office and after entering private practice, Linda has successfully argued cases before the New Jersey and Connecticut Supreme Courts, federal district courts and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in addition to handling hundreds of matters in courtrooms, negotiations, alternative-dispute resolution forums, administrative hearings and class action litigation.

Linda’s practice currently is focused on education-related legal issues relating to staff and faculty employment, operations of educational institutions and student matters. She advises on matters ranging from faculty performance concerns, disability-related claims, and special education investigation and litigation of civil rights claims, including Title IX, sexual harassment, race-based discrimination and First Amendment rights, and student discipline. Drawing on her significant litigation experience, Linda offers effective, proactive counsel on day-to-day and strategic issues to develop policies and address contract disputes, faculty and student handbooks, school security, administration of medications, confidentiality of student and employee information, and other legislative and regulatory requirements affecting educational institutions. She has also worked with advocacy groups and Connecticut agencies to help shape policy and, most recently, is advising school districts and other educational institutions to identify adaptations necessary to deliver educational and related services to students while protecting the safety and health of students, faculty and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Linda understands that schools often stand at the forefront of emerging social and legal issues —such as the legalization of marijuana, rights of transgender individuals and Americans with Disabilities Act accommodations — and recognizes the special sensitivities surrounding disputes in these areas. She works closely with clients and her clients’ stakeholders to identify common ground and achieve solutions that, where possible, resolve competing demands without resort to litigation.

Linda speaks frequently 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. For several years, she has served on the Executive Committee of the Connecticut Bar Association, Education Section.

Distinctions

  • Listed as a Connecticut Super Lawyer®: Schools & Education (2017-2018)
  • American Bar Foundation: Fellow
  • Settlement Special Master for the United States District Court (2005-2009)

Teaching Positions

  • Quinnipiac University School of Law, Adjunct Professor, Education Law (2017)

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
  • Connecticut Bar Association: Chair, Education Section
  • Hartford County Bar Association
  • Connecticut Council of School Attorneys
  • National School Board Association Council of School Attorneys
  • National Association of College and University 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).

Publications

August 26, 2020  Linda Yoder Quoted in Special Ed Connection Article, "How to implement common accommodations in a remote learning environment"
August 26, 2020  Linda Yoder Quoted in Special Ed Connection Article, "Dos and don'ts for implementing accommodations on Section 504 plans during remote learning"
February 25, 2020  Linda Yoder Quoted in Special Ed Connection Article, "Your guide to documenting accommodations in Section 504 plans"
February 25, 2020  Linda Yoder Quoted in Special Ed Connection Article, "4 common accommodations -- and how to write them into students' plans
August 8, 2019  2019 Education Legislation Summary
April 12, 2019  Linda Yoder Quoted in Special Ed Connection Article, "Prepare gen ed teachers to attend, participate in 504 meetings"
August 6, 2018  2018 Education Legislation Summary
October 5, 2017  Key Dates for Premium Processing of H-1B Petitions and DACA Renewals
September 28, 2017  Presidential Proclamation Outlines Rules for New Travel Ban
September 8, 2017  DHS Rescinds Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): What You Need to Know About the End of DACA
July 17, 2017  USCIS Releases New Form I-9
June 29, 2017  Department of State Will Begin Implementing 90-Day Travel and Refugee Ban Beginning June 29, 2017
June 27, 2017  Supreme Court Decides to Hear Travel and Refugee Ban Case and Clarifies Enforcement of Executive Orders Pending Hearing
May 17, 2017  Redesigned Permanent Resident Card and Employment Authorization Documents
May 16, 2017  A Harbinger For Some U.S. Visa Applicants of More Rigorous Vetting and Longer Waits for U.S. Visas?
May 2, 2017  USCIS Announces Targeted Use of Site Visits to Certain H-1B Employers to Detect H-1B Visa Fraud and Abuse
April 27, 2017  Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") Announces New Office for Victims of Illegal Immigrant Crime
April 26, 2017  Employers Should Review USCIS Fillable Forms I-9 Completed Based on Download From USCIS Website Between November 14 and November 17, 2016 for Social Security Number Glitch
April 26, 2017  United States District Court Judge Blocks Trump Administration from Withholding Federal Funds from Sanctuary Cities
April 19, 2017  Starting May 1, 2017 USCIS Will Issue Redesigned Green Cards and Employment Authorization Documents
March 8, 2017  President Trump Issues March 6th Executive Order Revising Travel Ban
February 27, 2017  Department of Homeland Security Issues Two Memos Regarding Implementation of Two Recent Executive Orders on Immigration Enforcement
February 10, 2017  Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds the Temporary Restraining Order on Enforcement of President Trump's January 27th Executive Order
February 7, 2017  Oral Argument Scheduled for Today on Enforcement of President Trump's January 27th Executive Order
February 2, 2017  Executive Orders Regarding Immigration
October 3, 2016  Family Policy Compliance Office Issues FERPA Privacy Guidelines

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Practice Areas

Industries & Featured Services

Education

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

Bar Admissions

  • Connecticut

Court Admissions

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

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