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In 2002, L.J., a child with intellectual disabilities and autism, began using an individualized education plan (IEP). This IEP was meant to provide L.J. with the free appropriate public education (FAPE) that is guaranteed to all children across the United States. However, L.J.'s mother did not believe the School Board of Broward County adequately implemented L.J.'s IEP. L.J.'s mother's concern resulted in an almost twenty-year legal battle between L.J. and the Broward County School Board. This battle finally ended in June 2019, when the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit joined four other circuits in holding that the proper standard in determining whether a child's IEP is being adequately implemented is the "material deviation" standard.

Congress recognized the right to a FAPE in the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975. Known today as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), FAPEs are guaranteed to all intellectually disabled children across the country through the use of IEPs. Generally, parents can make two different legal challenges to their child's IEP: content challenges and implementation challenges. The Supreme Court of the United States has addressed IEP content challenges in a number of cases. However, the Court has yet to determine the proper standard for implementing a child's IEP. As a result, the circuit courts have been left to determine what standard to use in IEP implementation cases.