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Boose v. District of Columbia

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

May 22, 2014

LATONYA BOOSE, Plaintiff,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Defendant

For Latonya Boose, Plaintiff: Nicholas Ryan Ostrem, The Ostrem Firm, LLC, Arlington, VA.

Page 11

MEMORANDUM OPINION

RICHARD J. LEON, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Latonya Boose (" plaintiff" ) filed this action on behalf of her minor child, A.G., against the District of Columbia (" defendant" ) on March 8, 2013 seeking injunctive and declaratory relief under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq. (" IDEA" ). See Complaint (" Compl." ) at ¶ 1 [Dkt. #1]. Now before the Court are the parties' Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment. See Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (" Pl.'s Mot." ) [Dkt. #10]; Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (" Def.'s Mot." ) [Dkt. #11]. Upon consideration of the parties' pleadings, the entire record in this case, and relevant law, the Court DENIES plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and GRANTS defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.

BACKGROUND

A.G. attended Kimball Elementary School (" Kimball" ) for kindergarten--during the 2011-2012 school year--and first grade--during the 2012-2013 school year. See Compl. at ¶ 9. During the 2011-2012 school year, A.G. exhibited a number of problematic behaviors in the classroom. See Compl. at ¶ ¶ 10-12; Administrative Record (" AR" ) at 15, 28 [Dkt. #8]. A.G. continued to exhibit disruptive behavior at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year. See Compl. at ¶ ¶ 21-25; AR at 30-31. On September 10, 2012, A.G.'s homeroom teacher completed a National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality Vanderbilt Assessment Scale (" Vanderbilt Assessment" ), which is a screening assessment for Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, and Anxiety/Depression. See Compl. at ¶ ¶ 19-20;

Page 12

AR at 30-32. Despite the academic and behavior problems noted on the Vanderbilt Assessment in September, A.G.'s behavior and academic performance improved as the 2012-2013 school year progressed. See AR at 9.

On September 26, 2012, however, plaintiff filed an administrative Due Process Complaint Notice alleging that DCPS had failed " to identify, locate, and evaluate a student with a suspected disability," or in the alternative, that DCPS failed " to timely identify, locate, and evaluate a student with a suspected disability." See AR at 36-41 (emphasis added). During an October 23, 2012 meeting aimed at resolving the dispute, DCPS offered to " conduct a Comprehensive Psychological Evaluation and Functional Behavior Assessment," of A.G. and to " convene an [individualized education program] meeting to review the Independent Evaluation, and discuss eligibility." See AR at 70. Plaintiff rejected DCPS's offer. See id.

On December 3, 2012, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education's Student Hearing Office held an administrative hearing on plaintiff's Due Process claims. See AR at 106. The Hearing Officer issued her decision (" HOD" ) on December 8, 2012, dismissing plaintiff's administrative complaint with prejudice. See AR at 10. The Hearing Officer concluded that plaintiff had failed to meet her burden of proof to show that DCPS violated the " child find" provision of the IDEA,[1] noting that although A.G. began kindergarten and first grade unsatisfactorily, his academics and behavioral performance had improved over the course of both school years. See AR at 9-10.

Following a formal request from plaintiff asking DCPS to evaluate A.G. for potential special education services, DCPS provided a comprehensive psychological evaluation on February 1, 2013. See Ex. A to Pl.'s Mot. at 2 [Dkt. #10-3]; Ex. B to Pl.'s Mot. at 1 [Dkt. #10-4]. A multidisciplinary team (" MDT" ) met and determined that A.G. was eligible for special education services, but that compensatory education was not warranted. See Ex. C to Pl.'s Mot. at 3-4 [Dkt. #10-5]. The MDT also developed an Individualized Education Plan (" IEP" ) for A.G. See id.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Defendant moves for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. Summary judgment is proper where the pleadings, stipulations, affidavits. and admissions in a case show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). The court must accept as true the evidence of, and draw " all justifiable inferences" in favor of the party opposing summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 ...


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