United States District Court, D. Maine
MR. AND MRS. CATLING, individually and as next friends of TC, a minor, Plaintiff
YORK SCHOOL DEPARTMENT, Defendant
ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO STRIKE/
RECOMMENDED DECISION ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
C. Nivison, U.S. Magistrate Judge.
action commenced pursuant to the Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et
seq., Plaintiffs challenge the decision of the state hearing
officer denying Plaintiffs financial reimbursement for their
daughter's private educational placement and services.
(Complaint ¶¶ 1 - 7, ECF No. 1). The matter is
before the Court on Defendant's partial motion to dismiss
and motion to strike. (ECF No. 9.)
a review of the relevant pleadings and after consideration of
the parties' arguments, I deny the motion to strike and
recommend the Court deny the partial motion to dismiss.
the IDEA, each state “must provide a free appropriate
public education-a FAPE, for short-to all eligible
children” in order to receive certain federal funds.
Endrew F. ex rel. Joseph F. v. Douglas Cty. Sch. Dist.
RE-1, 137 S.Ct. 988, 993 (2017). A FAPE includes
“special education and related services . . . provided
in conformity with [an] individualized education program,
” or an IEP for short. 20 U.S.C. § 1401(9)(D). An
IEP is “[a] comprehensive plan prepared by a
child's ‘IEP Team' (which includes teachers,
school officials, and the child's parents) . . . drafted
in compliance with a detailed set of procedures.”
Endrew F., 137 S.Ct. 988, 994 (2017). An IEP must
include, among other requirements, “a statement of the
child's present levels of academic achievement and
functional performance, ” 20 U.S.C. § 1414
(d)(1)(A)(i)(I)-(III), “a statement of measurable
annual goals” id. § 1414
(d)(1)(A)(i)(II), and “a description of how the
child's progress . . . will be measured and when periodic
reports . . . will be provided.” Id. §
parents are concerned that their child is not receiving a
FAPE, they can file a complaint with the local educational
agency.” Pollack v. Reg'l Sch. Unit 75,
886 F.3d 75, 79 (1st Cir. 2018) (citing 20 U.S.C. §
1415(b)(6)(A)). “They can argue that their child is
being denied a FAPE substantively, on the grounds that his or
her IEP lacks certain special education or related
services.” Id. at 80 (citing 20 U.S.C.
1415(f)(3)(E)(i)). “And they can argue that their child
is being denied a FAPE due to procedural violations that, for
example, significantly impede the parents' opportunity to
participate in the IDEA decisionmaking process.”
Id.(citing 20 U.S.C. § 1415(f)(3)(E)(ii)(II)
(internal quotations and modifications omitted). Filing a
complaint begins a series of administrative procedures,
including an “impartial due process hearing”
before the state educational agency, the Maine Department of
Education. 20 U.S.C. § 1415(f)(1)(A), (g); 20-A M.R.S.
§ 7207-B; 05-071 C.M.R. ch. 101, § XVI. Following
the educational agency's final decision on the complaint,
an “aggrieved party” may file an action in state
or federal court seeking relief from the decision. 20 U.S.C.
and Procedural Background 
are residents of York, Maine, and are the natural parents and
legal guardians of T.C., a 16-year old student. (Complaint
¶ 4.) Defendant is a local education agency responsible
for educating the children of York, Maine. (Id.
has been identified as eligible for special education and
related services since 2006, when she was in pre-school.
(Id. ¶ 9.) The evaluations conducted by
Defendant's psychologist revealed that T.C. had
challenges in areas of attention, focus, and executive
functioning skills, (ADHD), as well as some language skills.
(Id. ¶¶ 12 - 13.)
Fifth Grade: 2013 - 14 School Year
February 2014, Plaintiffs, concerned about T.C.'s
academic performance in literacy and math, sought evaluations
at the Boston Children's Hospital. (Id.
¶¶ 16 - 17.) In August 2014, Dr. Debra Waber, a
neuropsychologist, found that T.C. had learning disabilities
unlikely to be detected by standard psychoeducational
testing. (Id. ¶¶ 18 - 23.)
Sixth Grade: 2014 - 15 School Year
the fall of 2014, Defendant consulted with Victoria
Papageorge, of Hyperion Learning, a learning disabilities
consultant, concerning programming for T.C. (Id.
¶¶ 24 - 28.) Ms. Papageorge recommended a number of
changes to T.C.'s IEP, including structured literacy
programs from Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes and Sharma
Math from the Center for Teaching and Learning Mathematics.
(Id. ¶¶ 26 - 27.) Defendant later replaced
Ms. Papageorge with a different consultant, Dr. Chris
Kaufman, a neuropsychologist. (Id. ¶ 30.)
the IEP team maintained the same services in the February
2015 IEP, updating only the IEP goals, Plaintiffs requested
additional assessments from the Boston Children's
Hospital at public expense. (Id. ¶ 31.)
Defendant denied the request. (Id. ¶ 32.) In
April 2015, Plaintiffs hired Ms. Papageorge as an education
consultant, who made certain recommendations. (Id.
¶¶ 33, 34.) T.C.'s special education teacher
followed some, but not all, of Ms. Papageorge's
recommendations. (Id. ¶ 35.)
Seventh Grade: 2015 - 16 School Year
October 2015, Plaintiffs again requested an updated
evaluation from Boston Children's Hospital at public
expense. (Id. ¶ 37.) Defendant denied the
request, explaining that it would conduct its own
assessments. (Id.) In December 2015, the IEP team
reviewed the results of the academic evaluation, and the IEP
also considered a report Ms. Papageorge prepared at private
expense. (Id. ¶ 39.) In late 2015 or early
2016, Plaintiffs obtained additional testing from Boston
Children's Hospital at private expense. (Id.
¶ 39.) The re-evaluation report endorsed T.C.'s
program, but the report noted that T.C. was two to three
grade levels behind in reading comprehension and math.
(Id. ¶¶ 40 - 43.)
February 2016, the IEP team developed an IEP for the
following year that did not include any goals or services to
address T.C.'s language deficits identified in the Boston
Children's Hospital re-evaluation; the district
considered but rejected the results of the re-evaluation,
concluding that the re-evaluation did not ...