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Alexis R. v. High Tech Middle Media Arts School

August 3, 2009

ALEXIS R., ET AL., PLAINTIFF,
v.
HIGH TECH MIDDLE MEDIA ARTS SCHOOL, ET AL., DEFENDANT.



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

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS

On March 5, 2009, Defendants High Tech Middle Media Arts School and High Tech High School ("High Tech"), filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Alexis R.'s ("Alexis") First Amended Complaint ("FAC"). Plaintiff filed a Response to Defendants' Motion, and Defendants subsequently filed a Reply. For the reasons discussed below, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

I. BACKGROUND

The following facts are taken from the FAC and the records of the administrative proceedings and other records of which the Court has taken judicial notice. The Court makes no finding as to the truthfulness of the allegations of the complaint.

On March 9, 2005, Alexis was in the sixth grade at Explorer Elementary School, which Defendants operate. At that time, an Individualized Education Program ("IEP") meeting was held, which determined that Alexis was eligible for special education services under the Deaf/Hard of Hearing classification. (Pl.'s First Amended Complaint ("FAC") ¶ 17.) In the Fall of 2005, Alexis entered seventh grade at High Tech Middle Media Arts School and Defendants deleted the Deaf/Hard of Hearing services from Plaintiff's IEP over her protests. (FAC ¶ 18.)

On March 22, 2006, High Tech Middle Media Arts School wrote an IEP proposing to disqualify Alexis from eligibility for special education services. (FAC ¶ 20.) On September 7, 2006, High Tech Middle Media Arts School wrote an IEP disqualifying Alexis from special education. (FAC ¶ 21.)

On September 20, 2006, High Tech Middle Media Arts School requested a due process hearing. (FAC ¶ 24.) On October 5, 2006, Plaintiff requested a due process hearing. (Id.) The cases were consolidated and heard by the Office of Administrative Hearings ("OAH") on December 7 through 15, 2006. The hearing addressed: (1) whether High Tech failed to assess Alexis in all areas of suspected disability, specifically in the areas of visual processing and auditory processing, and (2) whether High Tech could exit Alexis from the special education program because she no longer qualified for special education services. (FAC, Ex. A at 2.) On February 8, 2007, Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Susan Ruff issued the 2007 OAH Decision, holding that (1) Plaintiff prevailed on the issue of whether High Tech properly assessed Alexis in all areas of suspected disability and (2) Defendants prevailed on the issue of whether High Tech could properly exit Alexis from the special education program. (Id. at 20.)

Beginning February 9, 2007, and continuing until March 9, 2008, Alexis's parents paid for private tutoring and vision therapy for Alexis. (Defs.' Request for Judicial Notice ("DRJN"), Ex. J at 2.)

On June 19, 2007, this Court issued an Order on Stipulation to Stay Execution of Administrative Decision, which effected a "stay put" for Alexis at High Tech Middle Media Arts School. The stay put continued when Alexis entered High Tech High School at the beginning of the 2007-2008 school year. (DRJN, Ex. G at 1.)

In early 2008*fn1 Alexis withdrew from High Tech High School and enrolled in the San Diego Unified School District, San Diego Charter School. (DRJN, Ex. A at 1.) On June 2, 2008, this Court dismissed the case without prejudice because Plaintiff's withdrawal from High Tech mooted her equitable claims against Defendants. (Id. at 3.)

On July 1, 2008, Plaintiff requested a due process hearing from the OAH, which addressed Plaintiff's compensatory education claim. (DRJN, Ex. J at 2.) On August 28, 2008, this Court granted Plaintiff's motion to stay the 30 day period to amend her complaint. The Court granted Plaintiff leave to amend 30 days after the conclusion of the administrative claims process. (FAC ¶ 33.) On October 28, 2008, the OAH, ALJ Robert Helfand, dismissed Plaintiff's compensatory education claim with prejudice on the basis of the res judicata effect of the 2007 OAH Decision. (FAC, Ex. B at 3.)

On November 24, 2008, Plaintiff filed her First Amended Complaint with this Court.

II. DISCUSSION

Defendants argue that Plaintiff's first cause of action should be dismissed on two grounds. First, Defendants argue that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction because the claims for relief Plaintiff presented in her original due process complaint do not support a claim for reimbursement and became moot when Alexis withdrew from High Tech. Second, Defendants argue that Plaintiff's first cause of action fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted because ...


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