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.

Allen v. District of Columbia

United States District Court, District of Columbia

August 18, 2015

KEITH ALLEN, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

ROYCE C. LAMBERTH, District Judge.

The plaintiffs in eleven cases[1] filed motions seeking enforcement of court orders that awarded them attorneys' fees pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1415(i)(3)(B)(1). Because their cases concern the same material facts and issues of law, the Court consolidated them for consideration of these motions. ECF No. 44.

I. BACKGROUND

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA") authorizes Courts to award reasonable attorneys' fees as part of the costs "to a prevailing party who is the parent of a child with a disability." 20 U.S.C. § 1415(i)(3)(B)(I). However, Congress viewed an explosion in IDEA litigation as "usurping... resources from education to pay attorney fees." H.R. Rep. No. 105-670, at 50 (1998). Consequently, Congress capped the fees payable by the District in a rider to the Appropriations Act for fiscal year ("FY") 1999:

None of the funds contained in this Act may be made available to pay the fees of an attorney who represents a party who prevails in an action, including an administrative proceeding, brought against the District of Columbia Public Schools under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq.) if -
(1) the hourly rate of compensation of the attorney exceeds the hourly rate of compensation under section 11-2604(a), District of Columbia Code [$50]; or
(2) the maximum amount of compensation of the attorney exceeds the maximum amount of compensation under section 11-2604(b)(1), District of Columbia Code [$1, 300], except that compensation and reimbursement in excess of such maximum may be approved for extended or complex representation in accordance with section 11-2604(c), District of Columbia Code.

Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1999, Pub. L. No. 105-277 § 130, 112 Stat. 2681 (1998) ("1999 Act").

The D.C. Circuit subsequently upheld the constitutionality of the 1999 Act's fee caps. It held that while the rider limited the District's ability to pay attorneys' fees, it did not restrict the courts' authority to award reasonable fees against the District. See Calloway v. District of Columbia, 216 F.3d 1 (D.C. Cir. 2000). The incongruity of prohibiting the appropriation of funds explicitly provided for in IDEA is a matter for Congress - not the courts - to resolve. Id. at 10.

A similar rider was included in the FY 2000 appropriations bill:

None of the funds contained in this Act may be made available to pay the fees of an attorney who represents a party who prevails in an action, including an administrative proceeding, brought against the District of Columbia Public Schools under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq.) if -
(1) the hourly rate of compensation of the attorney exceeds 120 percent of the hourly rate of compensation under section 11-2604(a), District of Columbia Code [120% of this rate was $60]; or
(2) the maximum amount of compensation of the attorney exceeds 120 percent of the maximum amount of compensation under section 11-2604(b)(1), District of Columbia Code [120% of this rate was $1, 560], except that compensation and reimbursement in excess of such maximum may be approved for extended or complex representation in accordance with section 11-2604(c), District of Columbia Code.

District of Columbia Appropriations Act of 2000, Pub. L. No. 106-113, 113 Stat. 1501, 1517 (Nov. 29, 1999).

The 2001 appropriations bill was similar, except it set an independent cap of $2, 500.
None of the funds contained in this Act may be made available to pay the fees of an attorney who represents a party who prevails in an action or any attorney who defends any action, including an administrative proceeding, brought against the District of Columbia Public Schools under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq.) if -
(1) the hourly rate of compensation of the attorney exceeds 250 percent of the hourly rate of compensation under section 11-2604(a), District of Columbia Code; or
(2) the maximum amount of compensation of the attorney exceeds 250 percent of the maximum amount of compensation under section 11-2604(b)(1), District of Columbia Code, except that compensation and reimbursement in excess of such maximum may be approved for extended or complex representation in accordance with section 11-2604(c), District of Columbia Code; and
(3) in no case may the compensation limits in paragraphs (1) and (2) exceed $2, 500.

District of Columbia Appropriations Act of 2001, Pub. L. No. 106-522, 114 ...


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.