Luo v. Owen J. Roberts School District, 061118 FED3, 16-4412

Docket Nº:16-4412
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM
Party Name:JENN-CHING LUO, Appellant v. OWEN J. ROBERTS SCHOOL DISTRICT; GEOFFREY BALL; BRIAN SCHNEIDER; SHARON W. MONTANYE
Judge Panel:Before: SHWARTZ, KRAUSE and FISHER, Circuit Judges
Case Date:June 11, 2018
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
 
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JENN-CHING LUO, Appellant

v.

OWEN J. ROBERTS SCHOOL DISTRICT; GEOFFREY BALL; BRIAN SCHNEIDER; SHARON W. MONTANYE

No. 16-4412

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

June 11, 2018

NOT PRECEDENTIAL

Submitted Pursuant to Third Circuit LAR 34.1(a) June 8, 2018

On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (E.D. Pa. No. 2-15-cv-04248) District Judge: Honorable Thomas N. O'Neill, Jr.

Before: SHWARTZ, KRAUSE and FISHER, Circuit Judges

OPINION [*]

PER CURIAM

Pro se appellant, Jenn-Ching Luo, appeals from the District Court's order entered

I.

Luo is the father of B.L., a minor who receives special education services in the Owen J. Roberts School District in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. B.L. was originally placed in a day program within the district, but Luo later asked that B.L. be moved to a residential program. B.L.'s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team agreed to a residential placement. After meetings with Special Education Supervisor Geoffrey Ball, however, Luo received a revised IEP indicating that B.L. was ineligible for such placement. The revised IEP also included a Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) directing Luo to take a parent-training course under the School District's supervision. The School District also issued a Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP) notifying Luo of its intent to implement the proposed SDI requiring parent training.

Luo objected and filed an administrative due process complaint under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. §§ 1400-1482. Following a hearing in August 2014, Hearing Officer Cathy A. Skidmore ordered an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) in order to determine B.L.'s needs. Luo objected and informed the School District that he intended to appeal the Hearing Officer's decision.

Accordingly, in November 2014, Luo commenced an action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. (E.D. Pa. Civ. No. 14-cv-6354) (Luo I). Luo named as defendants: the School District; Sharon Montayne, the School District's attorney; Supervisor Ball; Hearing Officer Skidmore; and Keri Kolbay, a psychologist hired to conduct the IEE.[1]

Meanwhile, the School District proceeded to conduct the IEE. At a meeting in January 2015, the IEP team proposed revisions to B.L.'s IEP based on Kolbay's recommendations. Among other revisions, the IEP recommended that a behavioral specialist observe B.L. at school and at home. To this end, and with Luo's consent, the School District's psychologist, Brian Schneider, evaluated B.L. Dr. Schneider concluded that B.L. was more independent at school than at home, and recommended that Luo undergo parent training. Around this time, the School District issued another NOREP notifying Luo of its intent to implement the proposed SDIs requiring parent training.

Luo filed a number of additional administrative complaints challenging the School District's actions and recommendations. A hearing on the consolidated complaints took place on February 13, 2015. This time, the hearing officer found in Luo's favor in several respects.

The School District then initiated its own case against Luo in the District Court seeking reversal of the hearing officer's decision. (E.D. Pa. Civ. No. 15-cv-2952) (Luo II). Luo responded with counterclaims against the School District challenging the need for the IEE and raising claims for both breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and malicious abuse of process. Luo also filed a third-party complaint raising due process and malicious-abuse-of-process claims against the attorneys who represented the School District at the administrative level and law firm Sweet Stevens Katz & Williams LLP. Following additional administrative hearings, Luo commenced another...

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