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.

D.C. v. Lewiston School Department

United States District Court, D. Maine

June 17, 2016

D.C. and S.C., individually and o/b/o J.C., Plaintiffs
v.
LEWISTON SCHOOL DEPARTMENT, Defendant

          MEMORANDUM DECISION ON MOTIONS TO PRESENT ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE

          JOHN H. RICH III UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Both 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.

         I. Applicable Legal Standard

         This 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 elaborated:

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 resources.

Id. (citation and internal punctuation omitted).

         The 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 administrative proceeding.

Town of Burlington v. Department of Educ., 736 F.2d 773, 790 (1st Cir. 1984), aff'd, 471 U.S. 359 (1985).

         II. Factual Background

         On May 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. Id.

         By decision dated June 29, 2015, [1] 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.

         III. Discussion

         A. The ...


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.