Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Kim Thomas v. District of Columbia

March 29, 2011

KIM THOMAS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ricardo M. Urbina United States District Judge

Re Document No.: 2

MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING THE DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Kim Thomas, on behalf of her minor son T.T., brings this action pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA"), 20 U.S.C. §§ 1400 et seq., alleging that the defendant, the District of Columbia, through the Office of the State Superintendent of Education ("OSSE") and the District of Columbia Public Schools ("DCPS"), failed to provide T.T. with a free appropriate public education ("FAPE") while he was enrolled at City Lights Public Charter School ("City Lights"). The defendant has moved to dismiss the complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). Although the court determines that it has subject matter jurisdiction over this controversy, it dismisses the case because the plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

II. FACTUAL & PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

T.T. is a child who is eligible to receive full-time special education services pursuant to the IDEA. Compl. ¶ 11. T.T. attended City Lights during the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 school years, until the school closed in February 2009. Id. ¶ 10. During that time, City Lights acted as its own local education agency ("LEA") under the IDEA.*fn1 Def.'s Mot. at 9 n.2 & Ex. 3; see also Pl.'s Opp'n at 5. On February 18, 2009, after City Lights closed, T.T. received a Notice of Placement from the DCPS to attend High Road Upper School. Compl. ¶ 11.

City Lights had developed two Individualized Education Plans ("IEPs") for T.T. while he was a student there. Id. ¶ 12. The first IEP was in effect from March 14, 2007 until October 9, 2008, and the second IEP was in effect from October 9, 2008 to December 15, 2009. Id. On December 23, 2009, the plaintiff filed an administrative complaint pursuant to 20 U.S.C. § 1415(f)(1) requesting a due process hearing. See generally Def.'s Mot., Ex. 1.*fn2 In her administrative complaint, the plaintiff asserted that the DCPS and the OSSE failed to provide T.T. with a FAPE because they failed to ensure that T.T. had appropriate IEPs while at City Lights. Id. at 1-2. The plaintiff further alleged that the IEPs inaccurately classified T.T.'s abilities, ordered insufficient services, contained inappropriate goals and objectives and did not prescribe necessary extended school year services. Id. Additionally, the plaintiff claimed that the DCPS and the OSSE failed to provide for and ensure and monitor the appropriate placement of T.T. Id. According to the plaintiff, these deficiencies on the part of the DCPS and the OSSE hindered T.T.'s education during his time at City Lights. Compl. ¶ 14.

After a due process hearing, a hearing officer ruled on February 1, 2010, that the OSSE was an improper party and that the plaintiff's complaint against the DCPS was outside of the scope of the hearing officer's purview. See generally Def.'s Mot., Ex. 2.*fn3 Accordingly, the hearing officer dismissed the plaintiff's administrative complaint. Id., Ex. 3 at 7.

Pursuant to the IDEA, after receiving the hearing officer's decision, the plaintiff filed a civil action in this court. See generally Compl. The defendant has moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). See generally Def.'s Mot. The motion is now fully briefed and the court turns to the applicable legal standards and the parties' arguments.

III. ANALYSIS

A. Legal Standard for a Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1)

Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and the law presumes that "a cause lies outside this limited jurisdiction." Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994); see also Gen. Motors Corp. v. Envtl. Prot. Agency, 363 F.3d 442, 448 (D.C. Cir. 2004) (noting that "[a]s a court of limited jurisdiction, we begin, and end, with an examination of our jurisdiction").

Because "subject-matter jurisdiction is an 'Art[icle] III as well as a statutory requirement[,] no action of the parties can confer subject-matter jurisdiction upon a federal court.'" Akinseye v. District of Columbia, 339 F.3d 970, 971 (D.C. Cir. 2003) (quoting Ins. Corp. of Ir., Ltd. v. Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee, 456 U.S. 694, 702 (1982)). On a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence that the court has subject matter jurisdiction. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561 (1992).

Because subject matter jurisdiction focuses on the court's power to hear the claim, however, the court must give the plaintiff's factual allegations closer scrutiny when resolving a Rule 12(b)(1) motion than would be required for a Rule 12(b)(6) motion for failure to state a claim. See Macharia v. United States, 334 F.3d 61, 64, 69 (D.C. Cir. 2003); Grand Lodge of Fraternal Order of Police v. Ashcroft, 185 F. Supp. 2d 9, 13 (D.D.C. 2001). Thus, the court is not limited to the allegations contained in the complaint. Hohri v. United States, 782 F.2d 227, 241 (D.C. Cir. 1986), vacated on other grounds, 482 U.S. 64 (1987). Instead, "where necessary, the court may consider the complaint supplemented by undisputed facts evidenced in the record, or the complaint supplemented by ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.