The opinion of the court was delivered by: GREEN
Presently pending is the defendants' Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Costs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA"), 20 U.S.C. § 1415(e)(4)(B) (1994). Upon consideration of the defendants' motion, the opposition thereto, the supplemental pleadings filed in accordance with this Court's Order of May 6, 1996, and the entire record herein, the defendants' motion will be granted.
The plaintiff shall be ordered to pay the defendants $ 82,663.44.
Congress enacted the IDEA to ensure that children with disabilities are provided with "free appropriate public education which emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs." 20 U.S.C. § 1400(c). Under the IDEA, a disabled child is provided with an individualized education program ("IEP"), which is based upon his or her particular needs and developed through the joint participation of the local education agency, the teacher and the parents. Id. §§ 1412(4), 1414(a)(5). The IDEA also establishes procedures for challenging decisions related to disabled children that include administrative hearings and litigation in state or federal court. Id. § 1415(e)(2).
The defendants seek attorneys' fees and costs for administrative and civil litigation based on the "stay put" provisions of the IDEA, which provide that "unless the State or local educational agency and the parents or guardian otherwise agree, the child shall remain in the then-current educational placement of such child." Id. § 1415(e). The defendants were enrolled at the Lab School of Washington during the 1988-89 school year. However, in June of 1989, the plaintiff Superintendent of School for the District of Columbia attempted to change each defendant student's placement. The defendants petitioned for a hearing at which they successfully opposed the changes. On November 2, 1989, an administrative hearing officer ordered the plaintiff to restore funding for each defendant at the Lab School.
The plaintiff Superintendent of Schools sought review of the administrative hearing officer's decision, filing suit in this Court on December 4, 1989. The case was litigated over a period of almost five years, but ultimately was dismissed as moot on November 1, 1994. Although judgment was not entered on the merits, the plaintiff was denied the relief sought and the defendants successfully preserved the administrative hearing officer's decision below.
Defendants in the civil litigation (who were the petitioners in the administrative hearing below) seek attorneys' fees and costs. Finding the defendants' initial fee petition to be inadequate, the Court ordered the defendants to provide additional information regarding the rates charged, currently and historically, the prevailing market rates, and data regarding the experience of the attorneys who provided the services in this case. See Order of May 6, 1996. The Court also provided the plaintiff with an opportunity to respond and to identify with precision the fee amounts, if any, to which it objected.
The defendants' request is broken down as follows:
Roher $ 9,647.89
Jarman $ 3,883.77
Bobier/Daveler $ 5,044.70
Mark $ 8,045.92
Jenkins v. Roher $ 60,261.16
Fee reply $ 900.
Supplemental mem. $ 1,900.
Supplemental reply $ 1,080.
Total $ 90,763.44
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