United States District Court, E.D. California
R.F., a minor, by his Guardian Ad Litem, SEAN FRANKEL, Plaintiff,
DELANO UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT
(DOC. 1) WITH LEAVE TO AMEND
LAWRENCE J. O'NEILL UNITED STATES CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE
R.F., a minor, brings this action against Defendant Delano
Union School District under the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (“IDEA”). On February 15, 2017, the
Court entered an order denying Plaintiff's motion for
preliminary injunction and directing Plaintiff to show cause
why his complaint should not be dismissed. Doc. 27. On March
7, 2017, Plaintiff filed a response. Doc. 29. On March 17,
2017, Defendant filed a response. Doc. 30. For the reasons
explained below, the Court DISMISSES Plaintiff's
complaint with leave to amend.
Court will reiterate briefly the facts of this case, which
are drawn from prior filings. Plaintiff, who is 12 years old,
has autism, an intellectual disability, and a speech and
language disorder, and is non-verbal. Doc. 5-1 at 5; Doc.
18-2 at 2. While Plaintiff was attending school under an
individualized education program (“IEP”) in
Torrance, California, his mother passed away. Id.
Plaintiff's father decided to move Plaintiff to Delano,
California, where Plaintiff's grandmother and uncle live
and can provide additional childcare support. Doc. 5-7 at 2.
In June 2016, Plaintiff began living with his grandmother in
Delano for several days each week. Doc. 5-7 at 2.
enrolled in Delano Union School District on June 17, 2016.
Doc. 5-1 at 6. Defendant proposed an IEP which would
considerably reduce Plaintiff's services from what he had
been receiving in Torrance. Id. After rejecting
Defendant's proposed IEP, Plaintiff re-enrolled at
Torrance Unified School District, where he is currently
enrolled. Doc. 10 at 2; Doc 22 at 2. Plaintiff has never
attended classes at any Delano Union School District school.
Doc. 19-2 at 2. Plaintiff's father intends for Plaintiff
to reside and attend school in Delano full time. Doc. 30-1 at
filed a due process hearing request with the California
Office of Administrative Hearings (“OAH”) on
October 13, 2016. Doc. 5-1 at 6. Defendant also filed a due
process hearing request, and the hearings were consolidated.
Doc. 1 at ¶ 17. The hearing was scheduled to begin on
April 6, 2017. Doc. 29 at 2. Plaintiff expects a decision to
follow within 30 days after the hearing. Id.
November 28, 2016, following the OAH's denial of his
“stay-put” motion, Plaintiff filed a complaint
with the Court seeking declaratory and injunctive relief.
Doc. 1. On February 15, 2017, the Court denied
Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction, finding
that the dispute had been rendered moot because Plaintiff was
not residing within the area served by Delano Union School
District. Doc. 27. The Court ordered Plaintiff to show cause
why his complaint should not be dismissed. Id.
STANDARD OF DECISION
without leave to amend is improper “unless it is clear
. . . that the complaint could not be saved by any
amendment.” Steckman v. Hart Brewing, Inc.,
143 F.3d 1293, 1296 (9th Cir. 1998). Leave to amend
“need not be granted where the amendment of the
complaint would cause the opposing party undue prejudice, is
sought in bad faith, constitutes an exercise in futility, or
creates undue delay.” Ascon Props., Inc. v. Mobil
Oil Co., 866 F.2d 1149, 1160 (9th Cir. 1989). When
determining whether amendment would be futile, the court
examines whether the complaint could be amended to cure the
defect requiring dismissal “without contradicting any
of the allegations of [the] original complaint.”
Reddy v. Litton Indus., Inc., 912 F.2d 291, 296 (9th
Cir. 1990). “The court should freely give leave [to
amend] when justice so requires, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15, and
“must be guided by the underlying purpose of Rule 15 to
facilitate decision on the merits, rather than on the
pleadings or technicalities.” United States v.
Webb, 655 F.2d 977, 979 (9th Cir. 1981).
reasons explained in the Court's February 15, 2017,
Memorandum Decision and Order, Plaintiff's claims for
declaratory and injunctive relief are moot. See Doc.
27 at 14-15. Plaintiff has not offered any reason why his
complaint seeking injunctive and declaratory relief should
not be dismissed. Accordingly, the complaint is dismissed.
intends to amend his complaint to include claims for
compensatory education, transportation costs, and disability
discrimination. Doc. 29 at 2-3. Plaintiff's proposed
claims for compensatory education and transportation costs
arise under the IDEA. Doc. 29 at 2. Before a party may file a
civil action seeking judicial review of an IDEA dispute, the
party must exhaust the available administrative remedies.
Hoeft v. Tucson Unified Sch. Dist., 967 F.2d 1298,
1302 (9th Cir. 1992). Plaintiff has not exhausted his
administrative remedies or alleged that “resort to the
administrative process would either be futile or
inadequate.” Hoeft, 967 F.2d at 1033.
Therefore, it would be improper to permit Plaintiff to amend
his complaint to include claims arising under the IDEA at
also proposes to amend his complaint to include disability
discrimination claims under the Americans with Disabilities
Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12131 et seq., § 504 of
the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794, and
California's Unruh Civil Rights Act, California Civil
Code § 51 et seq., stating that Defendant
discriminated against him by requiring him to dis-enroll from
his previous school before enrolling in Delano Union School
District. Doc. 29 at 3. There is no indication, and
Defendant does not argue, that amendment to include
disability discrimination claims would be futile. Instead,
Defendant argues that the disability claims did not arise
until after Plaintiff filed his complaint, and that Plaintiff
has not yet formally sought to amend his complaint. Doc. 30
at 3. The Ninth Circuit has instructed that “a district
court should grant leave to amend even if no request to amend
the pleading was made, unless it determines that the pleading
could not possibly be cured by the allegation of other
facts.” Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130
(9th Cir. 2000). There is no indication that Plaintiff's
request to amend his complaint to include disability
discrimination claims stems from ...