United States District Court, District of Columbia
Michael J. Eig, Paula Amy Rosenstock, Michael J. Eig & Associates, PC, Chevy Chase, MD, for Plaintiffs.
Tasha Monique Hardy, Victoria Lynne Healy, Office of Attorney General, Washington, DC, for Defendant.
RUDOLPH CONTRERAS, District Judge.
Tadeusz Latynski-Rossiter is a nineteen-year-old student who suffers from learning disabilities. To address his needs, his parents placed him in a private school in Maryland. They seek reimbursement for his tuition under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (" IDEA" ), 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq. During administrative proceedings below, the hearing officer concluded that the parents lacked standing because their child is an adult. The parents brought this suit to challenge the hearing officer's decision. For the reasons explained below, the court will grant the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment, deny the District's cross-motion for summary judgment and remand this matter back to the hearing officer for further proceedings.
II. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Tadeusz  Latynski-Rossiter (" Tadzio" ) is the adult child of Maya Latynski and Caleb Rossiter. All three are plaintiffs in this action, in which they allege that the District of Columbia denied Tadzio a free appropriate public education, a right that is guaranteed by the IDEA. Tadzio suffers from several learning disabilities, and he attended a private school in Maryland to address his unique needs for the 2008-2009 school year. AR 191. Although the District recommended that he be relocated, his parents wished to keep him enrolled in private school from 2010 to 2012. Pl.'s Mot. at 5. Tadzio's parents decided to challenge the District's proposal, keep Tadzio enrolled in private school, and seek reimbursement for his tuition fees. Accordingly, they filed an administrative complaint and requested a due process hearing. AR 189-98. In the administrative proceedings below, the District filed a
motion to dismiss, arguing that Tadzio was an adult and that the parents lacked standing. AR 235-36. The hearing officer granted the District's motion, AR 3-5, and the plaintiffs brought this action to challenge the dismissal. Now before the court are the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment. Because the court finds that Tadzio's parents have standing to sue, it grants the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and denies the District's cross-motion for summary judgment.
A. Legal Standard on a Motion for Summary Judgment under the IDEA
Congress enacted the IDEA " to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living." Henry v. District of Columbia,750 F.Supp.2d 94, 96 (D.D.C.2010) (quoting 20 U.S.C. § 1400(d)(1)(A)). " A free appropriate public education entitles ‘ each child with a disability’ to an ‘ ...