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C.W., A Minor Child By and Through Her Mother v. Capistrano Unified School

August 3, 2012

C.W., A MINOR CHILD BY AND THROUGH HER MOTHER, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CAPISTRANO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT, DEFENDANT.



JS-6

ORDER AFFIRMING ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE'S DECISION

Before the Court is a document titled "Motion for Summary Judgment," which is an appeal of a decision by the Office of Administrative Hearings in an action under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA").*fn1 (Dkt. 19). After reviewing the moving papers and oral argument, the court AFFIRMS the decision by the Office of Administrative Hearings.

I.Background

This appeal is brought on behalf of student C.W. ("Student") by her mother K.S. ("Mother") against Capistrano Unified School District ("District"). As discussed in this opinion, infra, the Court finds that the ALJ's decision is thorough and careful and thus adopts the ALJ's findings of fact in their entirety. The Court summarizes those findings here very briefly to provide context for this appeal.

a.June 14, 2010, through October 28, 2010: beginning of triennial assessment, creation of Prior Report, and IEP Team meeting regarding Prior Report No one disputes that Student has "long been eligible for special education" based on her disability, which is classified as "Other Health Impairment." ALJ Decision, Bates no. 165, 175. Precisely because Student is eligible for special education, District conducted a "triennial assessment" of Student. Id. at 165.

Part of this assessment began on June 14, 2010, and continued through October 21, 2010. Id. This part of the triennial assessment was recorded in an October 22, 2010, report ("Prior Report"). Id. This Prior Report was discussed at an Individualized Education Program ("IEP")*fn2

Team meeting on October 28, 2010. Id. at 165; Bates no. 190-237.

Student's appeal does not challenge the sufficiency of this Prior Report.

b.September 22, 2010, through January 5, 2011: triennial assessment continued and creation of Disputed Report

On September 22, 2010, District requested Mother's consent to conduct an additional part of the triennial assessment to determine Student's visual and motor skills. Id. at 165. This part of the triennial assessment was conducted from December 3, 2010, through January 5, 2011 and was recorded in another report ("Disputed Report"). See Disputed Report, Bates no. 242.

The "purpose" of this Disputed Report was to "evaluate [Student's] present levels and to assist the IEP team in developing an IEP." See ALJ Decision, Bates no. 175. The purpose of the Disputed Report was not to "determine [Student's] eligibility" for special education services. Id.

The Disputed Report does not contain the phrase "[Student] may need special education and related services." The Disputed Report instead states on its first page that a prior "IEP lists [Student's] educational diagnosis as OHI -- Other Health Impairment." See Disputed Report, Bates no. 242. The Disputed Report also identifies five "Unique Needs" of Student and fourteen "accommodations . . . to assist [Student] in the classroom." Id. at 250. The Disputed Report concluded with the assessor's statement that "[i]t was a privilege to evaluate [Student]." Id. at 251.

c.January 12, 2011: Mother tells District that the Disputed Report is stupid

At the January 12, 2011, meeting to discuss the Disputed Report, Mother informed the IEP Team that the Disputed Report was "stupid." ALJ Decision, Bates no. 172-73, ¶ 39-40. Mother did not provide additional insight into the basis for her belief that the Disputed Report was stupid. Transcript, Bates no. 498-99.

d.January 25, 2011: Mother and representative "disagree" with the Disputed Report

On January 25, 2011, Mother's representative sent a letter stating that, "[o]n behalf of [Mother], we hereby disagree with the" Disputed Report. See January 25, 2011, Letter, Bates no. 319-320. The letter does not provide additional insight into the basis for the disagreement.

The letter "request[ed] an independent educational evaluation for occupational therapy" for Student. Id.

e.March 7, 2011: District requests due process hearing to defend Disputed Report

After reevaluating the Disputed Report, District concluded that it was sufficient and thus requested a due process hearing to avoid the additional expense of an independent educational evaluation. The District filed its complaint on Mach 7, 2011, which is 41 days ...


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