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C.B., A Minor, By and Through His Guardian Ad Litem, Alexis Baquerizo v. Garden Grove Unified School District

January 18, 2012

C.B., A MINOR, BY AND THROUGH HIS GUARDIAN AD LITEM, ALEXIS BAQUERIZO PLAINTIFF,
v.
GARDEN GROVE UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Ronald S.W. Lew Senior, U.S. District Court Judge

ORDER Re: Motion for Attorney's Fees and Costs [50], Motion for Attorney's Fees and Costs [81], Motion to Lift Stay [89], and Motion for Attorney's Fees and Costs for the Underlying Administrative Hearing, for the District Court Matter, for the Ninth Circuit Appeal, and for Fees and Costs for Opposition to Defendant's Petition to the Supreme Court and for Enforcement [105]

On January 10, 2012, Plaintiff CB's ("Plaintiff") Motion for Attorney's Fees and Costs [50], Motion for Attorney's Fees and Costs [81], Motion to Lift Stay [89], and Motion for Attorney's Fees and Costs for the Underlying Administrative Hearing, for the District Court Matter, for the Ninth Circuit Appeal, and for Fees and Costs for Opposition to Defendant's Petition to the Supreme Court and for Enforcement [105] came on for regular calendar before the Court. The Court, having reviewed all papers submitted pertaining to this Motion and having considered all arguments presented to the Court, NOW FINDS AND RULES AS FOLLOWS:

The Court hereby DENIES as moot Plaintiff's Motions for Attorney's Fees and Costs filed on October 19, 2009, [50] and April 21, 2011, [81] as the Court's present ruling addresses all relevant issues therein. Plaintiff's Motion to Lift Stay [89], filed on May 25, 2011, is also DENIED as moot as the Court ordered the stay lifted on November 17, 2011. Plaintiff's Motion for Attorney's Fees and Costs for the Underlying Administrative Hearing, for the District Court Matter, for the Ninth Circuit Appeal, and for Fees and Costs for Opposition to Defendant's Petition to the Supreme Court and for Enforcement [105] is DENIED in part and GRANTED in part.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is a minor who is eligible for special education as a handicapped student under California law and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA"). Plaintiff has been enrolled in the Garden Grove Unified School District at all times relevant to this suit. Plaintiff's guardian, Alexis Baquerizo, ("Guardian") did not accept the placement offered to Plaintiff by Defendant Garden Grove Unified School District ("Defendant"), and therefore, Guardian placed Plaintiff in the Reading and Language Center ("RLC") and sought reimbursement for the associated costs. On August 20, 2007, Plaintiff, through Guardian, filed an administrative request for due process seeking reimbursement for Plaintiff's education costs at RLC. A due process hearing occurred before Administrative Law Judge Richard M. Clark on May 5-8, 2008 ("Due Process Hearing"). Judge Clark awarded a portion of Plaintiff's education expenses and denied the remaining amount.

A. Case Number 08-05047

On July 31, 2008, Plaintiff filed a complaint for attorney's fees relating to the Due Process Hearing. The Parties eventually signed a settlement agreement ("Agreement"), which agreed to settle all disputes and claims related to Case Number 08-05047, including claims for attorney's fees.

B. Case Number 08-01041

On September 17, 2008, Defendant filed an appeal for partial reversal of the Due Process Hearing decision. The Court dismissed the action with prejudice as the Court found that the Parties had settled all relevant issues in the Agreement.

C. Case Number 08-01047

On September 22, 2008, Plaintiff filed the present Action for partial reversal of the Due Process Hearing decision [1]. The Court conducted a bench trial and entered Judgment on October 5, 2009, and found that Plaintiff should be reimbursed for the full cost of attending RLC. On September 30, 2009, Defendant appealed the Court's finding to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. On March 28, 2011, the Ninth Circuit issued its decision affirming this Court's ruling. Defendant filed a petition for rehearing, and on May 18, 2011, the Ninth Circuit issued a mandate denying rehearing and affirming this Court's award of full reimbursement to Plaintiff. Subsequently, Defendant filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court. This was denied on October 31, 2011, and therefore, Plaintiff filed the present Motion for Attorney's Fees [105] requesting attorney's fees for all stages of the litigation.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

The IDEA permits recovery of reasonable attorneys' fees and costs to a "prevailing party" in an action under the statute. 20 U.S.C. § 1415(i)(3)(B)(i) reads:

In any action or proceeding brought under this section, the court, in its discretion, may award reasonable ...


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