United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER RE: CROSS-MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION OF
PLAINTIFFS' CLAIMS FOR REIMBURSEMENT UNDER THE IDEA Re:
Dkt. Nos. 136, 137
ILLSTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court are two motions: defendants’ motion for
summary adjudication of plaintiffs’ claims for
reimbursement under the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (“IDEA”); and plaintiffs’
motion for reimbursement of educational expenses pursuant to
the IDEA. Docket Nos. 136, 137. For the reasons set forth
below, the Court hereby GRANTS plaintiffs’ motion and
DENIES defendants’ motion.
action, brought under the IDEA and Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act, concerns a dispute over the educational
opportunities provided to C.M., a child who has been
identified as an individual with learning disabilities. The
facts and procedural history of this case are complex. A
detailed summary and timeline are set forth in the
Court’s February 7, 2012 order regarding the
parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment, Docket No.
78, as well as in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion,
M.M. v. Lafayette Sch. Dist., 767 F.3d 842 (9th Cir.
2014). For brevity, the Court now recites only the background
relevant to the motions at hand.
case involves three related actions, two of which are now
closed. Plaintiffs filed their Second Amended
Complaint in this case on March 21, 2011. Docket No. 29. On
February 7, 2012, the Court ruled on the parties’
cross-motions for summary judgment. Docket No. 78. The Court
granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment and
denied the majority of plaintiffs’ motion. Id.
appealed to the Ninth Circuit, which affirmed in part,
reversed in part, and remanded the case. The appeals court
found that defendant Lafayette School District (the
“District”) “procedurally violated the IDEA
by not providing the parents with [C.M.’s] complete RTI
[Response-to-Intervention] data.” M.M., 767
F.3d at 855-56. Under the facts of this case, that procedural
violation denied C.M. a free appropriate public education
(“FAPE”). Id. at 856. Having found that
the District denied C.M. a FAPE, the Ninth Circuit explained
that it “need not address the question of whether the
resulting IEPs [individualized educational programs] were
reasonably calculated to enable C.M. to receive educational
benefits.” Id. (citing Amanda J. v. Clark
Cty. Sch. Dist., 267 F.3d 877, 895 (9th Cir. 2001)).
appeals court further stated:
School districts may be ordered to reimburse the parents of a
child who has been denied a FAPE for the cost of private
instruction. 20 U.S.C. § 1412(a)(10)(C)(ii); see
also 34 C.F.R. § 300.148(c). During the OAH hearing
and at the district court, the parents sought reimbursement
for C.M.'s audiology and processing assessments,
sound-based therapy, and private reading programs that they
provided for C.M. at their own expense. Both the ALJ and the
district court determined that the parents were not entitled
to reimbursement because they had concluded that the District
had not denied C.M. a FAPE. Because we conclude otherwise, we
remand to the district court for reconsideration of this
Id. Mandate returning the case to this Court was
issued on December 12, 2014. Docket No. 105.
August 27, 2015, following briefing on the remaining areas of
dispute upon remand, the Court issued an order regarding case
management. Docket No. 116. In that order, the Court stated
that it would consider plaintiffs’ claim for
reimbursement under the IDEA, limited to the categories of
expenses that the Ninth Circuit listed in its opinion, which
are the same expenses that plaintiffs previously sought at
the administrative hearing and before this Court.
Id. at 8. These categories are: “C.M.’s
audiology and processing assessments, assessment by
Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes, Tomatis therapy, and
Lindamood-Bell reading interventions . . . as well as
compensatory education services in an intensive remedial
reading program through Lindamood-Bell.” Id.
at 8-9 (citing M.M. v. Lafayette Sch. Dist., Nos.
09-4624, 10-4223, 2012 WL 398773, at *32 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 7,
2012)). The Court granted leave to plaintiffs to file a
motion to supplement the administrative record by September
18, 2015, later extended to October 9, 2015, to add any
evidence regarding these categories of reimbursement.
Id. at 9; Docket No. 119.
did not file a motion to supplement the administrative
record. On October 13, 2015, plaintiffs filed a motion to
file a supplement to the Second Amended Complaint.
See Docket No. 123. On November 18, 2015, the Court
denied plaintiffs’ motion. Docket No. 132. The Court
also denied defendants’ motion for judgment on the
April 1, 2016, defendants filed a motion for summary
adjudication of plaintiffs’ claims for reimbursement
under the IDEA. Docket No. 136. On April 29, 2016, plaintiffs
filed a motion for reimbursement of educational expenses
pursuant to the IDEA, also framed as an opposition to
defendants’ motion. Docket Nos. 137, 139. Defendants
filed an opposition to plaintiffs’ motion, also framed
as a reply in support of defendants’ motion. Docket
Nos. 140, 141. Plaintiffs then filed a reply in support of
their motion. Docket No. 145. The parties also sought a stay
of proceedings on plaintiffs’ Section 504 retaliation
claim while the parties pursue settlement. Docket Nos. 142,
143. The parties requested that the Court rule on the present
cross-motions regarding plaintiffs’ entitlement to
reimbursement prior to the settlement conference set for
September 27, 2016. See id.
13, 2016, the Court ordered plaintiffs to file proof of the
expenditures for which they are seeking reimbursement and
gave defendants leave to oppose plaintiffs’ filing.
Docket No. 146. Plaintiffs filed proof of their expenses on
June 24, 2016, and defendants filed an opposition on July 5,
2016. Docket Nos. 148, 149.
IDEA provides that the district court may “grant such
relief as the court determines is appropriate.” 20
U.S.C. § 1415(i)(2)(C)(iii). More specifically,
“[s]chool districts may be ordered to reimburse the
parents of a child who has been denied a FAPE for the cost of
private instruction.” M.M., 767 F.3d at 856
(citing 20 U.S.C. § 1412(a)(10)(C)(ii); 34 C.F.R. §
300.148(c)). Where parents enroll their child in private
services “without the consent of or referral by the
public agency, a court . . . may require the agency to
reimburse the parents for the cost of that enrollment if the
court . . . finds that ...