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Wooley v. Valley Center-Pauma Unified School Dist.

July 11, 2007

MYRON WOOLEY AND JULIANA WOOLEY, PARENTS OF EW, A MINOR, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
VALLEY CENTER-PAUMA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT, A LOCAL EDUCATIONAL AGENCY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Barry Ted Moskowitz United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS

Defendant Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District ("Defendant" or "School District") has filed a motion to dismiss the Complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim. For the reasons discussed below, Defendant's motion is GRANTED.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs Myron and Juliana Wooley are the parents of E.W., a sixth-grader at Lilac Elementary School. E.W. qualifies for special education due to diagnoses of autism, mild mental retardation, speech and language impairment, motor delays, visual-perceptual and attention deficits, and social delays. (Compl. ¶ 8.)

This is the second action Plaintiffs have brought against the District in this Court. In the first action, Case No. 06cv2451 BTM(RBB), Plaintiffs alleged that the District had denied E.W. a free appropriate public education ("FAPE"), as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA"), from the 2002-2003 school year through the 2006-2007 school year. Plaintiffs asserted causes of action for (1) rescission of a settlement agreement the parties had entered into on February 17, 2006*fn1 ; (2) a compensatory education; (3) violation of civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act; and (4) attorney's fees and costs.

Pursuant to a stipulation filed by the parties, the Court dismissed with prejudice Plaintiffs' claim for rescission of the settlement agreement and Plaintiffs' claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The remaining claims were dismissed by an order filed on January 22, 2007. In that order, the Court held that Plaintiffs had failed to exhaust their administrative remedies and had failed to establish that exhaustion would be futile due to the alleged inadequacy of the administrative process.

On February 13, 2007 Plaintiffs filed a new request for a due process hearing with the Office of Administrative Hearings ("OAH"). (Ex. 2 to Compl.) In the request, Plaintiffs complain that the District failed to offer and provide E.W. a FAPE for the 2005-2006 school year and the 2006-2007 school year. For each school year in dispute, Plaintiffs identify a number of reasons why E.W. was denied a FAPE.

On March 26, 2007, the District filed a motion to limit the issues to be heard based on the parties' settlement agreement and the stipulated dismissal with prejudice in the prior court action. Specifically, the District requested dismissal of the following issues pertaining to the 2005-2006 school year:

Issue One: Failure to offer and provide a FAPE for the 2005-2006 school year through the failure to timely provide a 1:1 CARES Aide; Issue Two: Failure to offer and provide a FAPE for the 2005-2006 school year through the failure to allow E.W.'s NPA aide to assist her in all areas of her school day, including the accompanying of E.W. to the bathroom and the bus; and Issue Three: Failure to offer and provide a FAPE for the 2005-2006 school year through the failure to timely complete a comprehensive autism assessment by Dr. Robert Patterson, an occupational therapy assessment by Susanne Smith Roley, and a language and speech evaluation by San Diego State University.

Plaintiffs withdrew Issue One on the basis of the settlement agreement, but opposed the dismissal of Issues Two and Three.

On April 6, 2007, the OAH granted the District's motion to limit the issues. Subsequently, Plaintiffs voluntarily withdrew their request for a due process hearing and commenced this action.

II. DISCUSSION

Defendant argues that this action should be dismissed because Plaintiffs have failed to exhaust their administrative remedies. The Court agrees.

Under the IDEA, parents who present complaints with respect to any matter relating to the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of a child, or the provision of a free appropriate education to such child, are entitled to an impartial due process hearing by the State educational agency or the local educational agency. 20 U.S.C. ยง 1415(b)(6), (f). Any party aggrieved by the "findings and decision" made in the due process action has the right ...


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