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Douglas v. D.C.

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

August 28, 2014

JAYSHAWN DOUGLAS, Plaintiff,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Defendant

For JAYSHAWN DOUGLAS, Plaintiff: Steve Nabors, LEAD ATTORNEY, MORAN AND ASSOCIATES, Washington, DC; Charles Anthony Moran, LAW OFFICES OF CHARLES A. MORAN, Washington, DC.

For DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Defendant: Laura George, LEAD ATTORNEY, OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL, Washington, DC.

Page 226

MEMORANDUM OPINION

PAUL L. FRIEDMAN, United States District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the District of Columbia's motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, or, in the alternative, Rule 12(b)(6). Plaintiff Jayshawn Douglas claims that the District's refusal to allow Mr. Douglas access to his educational placement violated the " stay-put" provision, 20 U.S.C. § 1415(j), of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (" IDEA" ), and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The District moves to dismiss on the grounds that (1) this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction because Mr. Douglas failed to exhaust his administrative remedies under the IDEA; and (2) the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Because Mr. Douglas has already been granted relief as to his Section 1415(j) claim, only the Section 1983 claim remains. Upon careful consideration of the parties' arguments, the relevant legal authorities, and pertinent portions of the record in this case, the Court will grant the District's motion and dismiss this action with prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.[1]

I. BACKGROUND

The facts alleged in the complaint, which the Court treats as true for purposes of this motion, are as follows. Mr. Douglas is a student with disabilities who has been classified as " Other Health Impaired" under the IDEA. Compl. ¶ 8.[2] In May 2013, Mr. Douglas' individualized education program (" IEP" ) team established Dunbar Senior High School (" Dunbar" ), his " neighborhood school," as his educational placement

Page 227

and location of services. Compl. ¶ 12-13, 14. In accordance with the IEP, Mr. Douglas attended Dunbar during the 2012-2013 school year, but failed the ninth grade. Id. ¶ 11.

In July 2013, Dunbar announced a policy to " segregate[]" repeating ninth graders, like Mr. Douglas, from first-time ninth graders and place repeating students into " twilight academies." Compl. ¶ 16. On several occasions in Fall 2013, Mr. Douglas attempted to attend Dunbar " but was refused admission by Dunbar's administration" allegedly under the direction of Dunbar's principal, Mr. Jackson. Id. ¶ ¶ 18-19. Over the first few months of the 2013 school year, D.C. Superior Court Probation Officer Steve Dean attempted to intervene on Mr. Douglas' behalf, accompanying him to Dunbar; but the school continued to bar Mr. Douglas from attending class, despite reassurances from the D.C. Mayor's Liaison that Mr. Douglas " was entitled to attend Dunbar and should be admitted upon arrival." Id. ¶ ¶ 20-21 (citing Compl. Ex. 6).

On October 28, 2013, Mr. Douglas filed an administrative due process complaint with the District of Columbia's Office of the State Superintendent for Education's Student Hearing Office. Compl. ¶ ¶ 22-23 (citing Compl. Ex. 7). The administrative complaint invoked Mr. Douglas' " stay-put" rights under 34 C.F.R. § 300.518(a). Id. Although a hearing officer had been assigned to his administrative complaint, Mr. Douglas filed the instant complaint in this Court on November 7, 2013. Id. ¶ ¶ 24-25. The complaint has brought two claims. First, Mr. Douglas alleges that the District violated IDEA's " stay-put" provision, 20 U.S.C. § 1415(j); and second, he claims that the District denied his due process right to a free and appropriate public education, constituting a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Id. ¶ ¶ 42-52. Mr. Douglas sought a " stay-put" order and an award of $100,000 in compensatory damages. Id. at Prayer for Relief ¶ ¶ 1-2.

Mr. Douglas simultaneously filed a motion for a preliminary injunction and a motion for a temporary restraining order, both also seeking the " stay-put" order sought in Count One of the complaint. See PI Mot.; TRO Mot. After hearing oral argument on November 13, 2013, the Court granted Mr. Douglas' motion for a preliminary injunction, entering a " stay-put" order for the pendency of the administrative procedure, and denied as moot his motion for a temporary restraining order. See Mem. Op. at 1.[3] Shortly thereafter, the District filed this motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or, in the alternative, Rule 12(b)(6). See Def.'s Mot. Dismiss at 2.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Motion to Dismiss under Rule ...


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