United States District Court, D. Maine
D.C. and S.C., individually and o/b/o J.C., Plaintiffs
LEWISTON SCHOOL DEPARTMENT, Defendant
MEMORANDUM DECISION ON MOTIONS TO PRESENT ADDITIONAL
H. RICH III UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
sides in this dispute arising under the Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA"), 20 U.S.C.
§ 1400 et seq., seek leave to add evidence to
the administrative record that is currently before the court.
Plaintiffs' Motion to Permit Presentation of Additional
Evidence ("Plaintiffs' Motion") (ECF No. 13);
Defendant Lewiston School Department's Motion to Permit
Presentation of Additional Evidence ("Defendant's
Motion") (ECF No. 15). I deny the plaintiffs' motion
and grant that of the defendant, for a limited purpose.
Applicable Legal Standard
action is brought pursuant to 20 U.S.C. § 1415, which
provides, in relevant part, that a party aggrieved by the
decision of a hearing officer with respect to the free public
education provided to a disabled child may bring an action in
federal court in which the court "shall hear additional
evidence at the request of a party[.]" 20 U.S.C. §
1415(i)(2)(C). The First Circuit has interpreted this
statutory language to require a reviewing court to grant a
party leave to present additional evidence only when that
party presents "solid justification" for such
supplementation of the record. Roland M. v. Concord Sch.
Comm., 910 F.2d 983, 996 (1st Cir. 1990). It has
As a means of assuring that the administrative process is
accorded its due weight and that judicial review does not
become a trial de novo, thereby rendering the
administrative hearing nugatory, a party seeking to introduce
additional evidence at the district court level must provide
some sold justification for doing so. To determine whether
this burden has been satisfied, judicial inquiry begins with
the administrative record. A district court should weigh
heavily the important concerns of not allowing a party to
undercut the statutory role of administrative expertise, the
unfairness involved in one party's reserving its best
evidence for trial, the reason the witness did not testify at
the administrative hearing, and the conservation of judicial
Id. (citation and internal punctuation omitted).
First Circuit has observed:
The reasons for supplementation will vary; they might include
gaps in the administrative transcript owing to mechanical
failure, unavailability of a witness, an improper exclusion
of evidence by the administrative agency, and evidence
concerning relevant events subsequent to the administrative
hearing. The starting point for determining what additional
evidence should be received, however, is the record of the
Town of Burlington v. Department of Educ., 736 F.2d
773, 790 (1st Cir. 1984), aff'd, 471 U.S. 359
14, 2015, the plaintiff parents filed a request for a due
process hearing on behalf of J.C. Administrative Record
("Record"), Vol. IV at 789. The issue was whether
J.C. was subjected to a change in placement within the
meaning of 34 C.F.R. § 300.356 and in violation of 34
C.F.R. §§ 300.530 and 300.531. Id. at 791.
A due process hearing was held on June 9 and 10, 2015.
Id. at 789. Six witnesses testified at the hearing.
decision dated June 29, 2015,  the hearing officer ruled that
J.C. had not been subject to a change in placement within the
meaning of 34 C.F.R. § 300.536 nor in violation of 34
C.F.R. §§ 300.530 or 300.351. Id. at 806.