United States District Court, D. Columbia
Trenita Collins, AS PARENT/GUARDIAN OF D.C., Plaintiff: Steve
Nabors, MORAN & ASSOCIATES, Washington, DC USA; Carolyn W.
Houck, LAW OFFICE OF CAROLYN HOUCK, St. Michaels, MD USA.
District of Columbia, Defendant: Aaron Josiah Finkhousen,
LEAD ATTORNEY, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Washington, DC USA.
OPINION ADOPTING UNCONTESTED REPORT & RECOMMENDATION OF
BROWN JACKSON, United States District Judge.
Trenita Collins (" Plaintiff" ) is the mother of
" D.C." --a minor child who is a student with a
disability in the District of Columbia Public Schools System
(" DCPS" ). In this lawsuit, Plaintiff seeks to
recover from defendant District of Columbia ("
Defendant" ) attorneys' fees and costs that she
incurred in connection with an administrative due process
proceeding in which she alleged that DCPS failed to provide
D.C. with a free appropriate public education ("
FAPE" ) under the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (" IDEA" ). The Administrative
Hearing Officer decided in Plaintiff's favor on one of
the five grounds that she advanced; in the instant action,
Plaintiff seeks a judgment declaring that she was the
prevailing party in the administrative proceeding and
awarding her $59,361 in attorneys' fees and costs.
January 30, 2015, this Court referred this matter to a
Magistrate Judge for full case management. On May 15, 2015,
Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment (Pl.'s
Motion for Summ. J., ECF No. 11), arguing that she prevailed
at the administrative level and seeking attorneys' fees
and costs in the amount of $59,361 under the IDEA. (
Id. at 3-7.) On June 12, 2015, Defendant filed a
cross-motion for summary judgment (Def.'s Opp'n to
Pl.'s Mot. for Summ. J. & Cross-Mot. for Summ. J., ECF
No. 13) in which it conceded that Plaintiff was a prevailing
party with respect to one of her claims, but asserted that
this Court should reduce the fee award because (1)
counsel's hourly rate is unreasonable, with respect to
both the administrative proceeding and the instant
proceeding, and (2) Plaintiff only partially prevailed at the
administrative level. ( Id. at 2, 4-10.)
this Court at present is the Report and Recommendation that
the assigned Magistrate Judge, Alan Kay, has filed regarding
the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment. (
See ECF No. 20, attached hereto as Appendix A.) The
Report and Recommendation reflects Magistrate Judge Kay's
opinion that the Court should grant in part and deny on part
each party's motion. ( Id. at 17.) Specifically,
Magistrate Judge Kay finds that counsel billed a reasonable
number of hours overall ( id. at 11), but recommends
that this Court discount counsel's fees for the
administrative proceeding by 35% to reflect Plaintiff's
status as a partially prevailing party ( id. at
10-11), and that counsel's reimbursable hourly rate
should be set at " 75% of the 2014-2015 Laffey
Matrix rates with regard to counsel's work on the
administrative proceeding and  at 50% of those
Laffey Matrix rates with regard to the 4.8 hours
counsel billed for  preparation of the fee petition and
review of the billing records" ( id. at
Report and Recommendation also advises the parties that
either party may file written objections to the Report and
Recommendation, which must include the portions of the
findings and recommendations to which each objection is made
and the basis for each such objection. ( Id. at 18.)
The Report and Recommendation further advises the parties
that failure to file timely objections may result in waiver
of further review of the matters addressed in the Report and
Recommendation. ( Id. ) Under this Court's local
rules, any party who objects to a Report and Recommendation
must file a written objection with the Clerk of the Court
within 14 days of the party's receipt of the Report and
Recommendation. LCvR 72.3(b). As of this date--over a month
after the Report and Recommendation was issued--no objections
have been filed.
Court has reviewed Magistrate Judge Kay's report and
agrees with its careful and thorough analysis and
conclusions. Thus, the Court will ADOPT the Report and
Recommendation in its entirety. Accordingly, the Court will
GRANT IN PART and DENY IN PART Plaintiff's Motion for
Summary Judgment and GRANT IN PART and DENY IN PART
Defendant's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment, and will
award Plaintiff attorneys' fees in the amount of
$28,683.30 and costs in the amount of $787.00.
separate Order accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.
COLLINS, as Parent/Guardian of D.C., Plaintiff, v. DISTRICT
OF COLUMBIA, Defendant.
Action No. 15-136 (KBJ/AK)
STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE ...