Shelton v. Maya Angelou Public Charter School, Civil Action No. 07-933 (CKK).

CourtUnited States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
Writing for the CourtColleen Kollar-Kotelly
Citation578 F.Supp.2d 83
PartiesDerrick SHELTON, Plaintiff, v. MAYA ANGELOU PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL, Defendant.
Docket NumberCivil Action No. 07-933 (CKK).
Decision Date26 September 2008
578 F.Supp.2d 83
Derrick SHELTON, Plaintiff,
v.
MAYA ANGELOU PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL, Defendant.
Civil Action No. 07-933 (CKK).
United States District Court, District of Columbia.
September 26, 2008.

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COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

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Roxanne D. Neloms, James E. Brown & Associates, Washington, DC, for Plaintiff.

Paul S. Dalton, Dalton, Dalton & Houston, P.C., Alexandria, VA, for Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY, District Judge.


Plaintiff, Derrick Shelton, an adult student, brought this action under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

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("IDEA"), 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et. seq.,1 as well as 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against Defendant, Maya Angelou Public Charter School ("MAPCS"). The IDEA provides that all children with disabilities will be provided a free and appropriate public education ("FAPE"), and provides for procedural safeguards to ensure that disabled children receive individualized education programs ("IEP") to fulfill the Act's goals. This case comes before the Court in connection with an April 5, 2007 Hearing Officer Determination ("HOD") and related proceedings. Specifically, Plaintiff's May 21, 2007 Complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief alleges that Defendant has failed to comply with the April 5, 2007 HOD. Along with his Complaint, Plaintiff filed a Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction ("TRO/PI Motion"). See Docket No. [2]. The Court denied Plaintiff's TRO/PI Motion without prejudice on June 12, 2007, after the parties held discussions and reached an agreement regarding the implementation of the April 5, 2007 HOD. See 6/12/07 Order, Docket No. [7].

Currently pending before the Court are motions for summary judgment filed by each party. Plaintiff's Motion argues that MAPCS has failed to comply with the April 5, 2007 HOD, that the April 5, 2007 HOD was correct, and that MAPCS has violated 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In contrast, Defendant's Motion argues only that the Hearing Officer erred in his April 5, 2007 HOD and also that this entire action is moot in light of the Court's denial of Plaintiff's TRO/PI Motion. Upon a searching examination of both parties' filings, the relevant statutes and case law, and the entire record herein, the Court finds that this action is not moot, that Defendant has failed to establish any error in the April 5, 2007 HOD, and that Defendant failed to comply with the April 5, 2007 HOD. The Court also finds, however, that Plaintiff has not established that MAPCS's failure to comply with the April 5, 2007 HOD resulted in a denial of FAPE, and that Plaintiff is not entitled to summary judgment on his claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Accordingly, the Court shall GRANT-IN-PART and DENY-IN-PART Plaintiff's [22] Motion for Summary Judgment, and shall DENY Defendant's [23] Motion for Summary Judgment.

I: BACKGROUND

At the outset, the Court observes that the District Court for the District of Columbia has supplemented Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 with LCvR 7(h), which requires that each party submitting a motion for summary judgment attach a statement of material facts to which that party contends there is no genuine issue, with specific citations to those portions of the record upon which the party relies in fashioning the statement. The party opposing such a motion must, in turn, submit a statement of genuine issues enumerating all material facts which the party contends are at issue and thus require litigation. See LCvR 7(h). Where the opposing party fails to discharge this obligation, a court may take all facts alleged by the movant as admitted. Id. As the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has emphasized, "[LCvR 7(h)] places the burden

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on the parties and their counsel, who are most familiar with the litigation and the record, to crystallize for the district court the material facts and relevant portions of the record." Jackson v. Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, 101 F.3d 145, 151 (D.C.Cir.1996) (citing Twist v. Meese, 854 F.2d 1421, 1425 (D.C.Cir.1988); Guarino v. Brookfield Township Trustees, 980 F.2d 399, 406 (6th Cir.1992)). Because of the significance of this task and the potential hardship placed on the court if parties are derelict in their duty, courts require strict compliance with LCvR 7(h). See id. at 150 (citations omitted).

As the parties were advised before they filed their Motions for Summary Judgment, this Court strictly adheres to the text of Local Civil Rule 7(h) when resolving motions for summary judgment. See 8/21/07 Order, Docket No. [14]; see also Burke v. Gould, 286 F.3d 513, 519 (D.C.Cir.2002). Although discretionary in the text of the Local Civil Rule 7(h), in resolving the present summary judgment motion, this Court "assume[s] that facts identified by the moving party in its statement of material facts are admitted, unless such a fact is controverted in the statement of genuine issues filed in opposition to the motion." LCvR 7(h)(1). The United States District Court for the District of Columbia has recently clarified that, for "cases in which judicial review is based solely on the administrative record ... motions for summary judgment and oppositions thereto shall include a statement of facts with references to the administrative record." LCvR 7(h)(2). Local Civil Rule 7(h)(2) does not alter the parties' obligations to submit statements of material fact in support of motions for summary judgment in administrative review cases. Rather, as the Comment to Local Civil Rule 7(h) states, LCvR 7(h)(2) "recognizes that in cases where review is based on an administrative record the court is not called upon to determine whether there is a genuine issue of material fact, but rather to test the agency action against the administrative record." See Comment to LCvR 7(h).

In setting out the factual background, where possible, the Court cites to the parties' statements of facts filed in accordance with Local Civil Rule 7(h). The Court has reviewed the record citations by the parties to ensure that the representations made in the parties' statement are accurate, and notes that so-called "factual assertions" that are unsupported by citations to accurate record evidence are insufficient to create issues of material fact. The Court also cites directly to the record, if appropriate, to address facts not covered by the parties in their statements of material facts. Moreover, the Court only uses the facts in a manner consistent with the approach taken by the parties in their briefing and arguments made to the Court. See, e.g., Morgan v. Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., 328 F.3d 647, 655 n. 10 (D.C.Cir.2003). Again, the Court emphasizes that, in accordance with the Local Civil Rule, it "assume[s] that facts identified by the moving party in its statement of material facts are admitted, unless such a fact is controverted in the statement of genuine issues filed in opposition to the motion." LCvR 7(h)(1).

A. Events Occurring Prior to the April 5, 2007 Hearing Officer Determination

Plaintiff Derrick Shelton attended Maya Angelou Public Charter School during the 2006-2007 school year. Def.'s Stmt. of Mat'l Facts as to Which There is No Genuine Issue ("Def.'s Stmt.") ¶ 1; Pl.'s Response to Def.'s Stmt. of Mat'l Facts ("Pl.'s

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Resp.") ¶ 1.2 Plaintiff's Individualized Education Plan ("IEP") identifies him as learning disabled and calls for a total of four (4) hours and twenty-five (25) minutes of specialized instruction and counseling per week: ninety (90) minutes of counseling, one (1) hour of special education consultation, and one (1) hour and fifty-five (55) minutes of advisory services. Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 1; Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 2; Pl.'s Resp. ¶ 1. During the first quarter of the 2006-2007 school year, Plaintiff performed well academically and was on the honor roll. Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 3; Pl.'s Resp. ¶ 1, Administrative Record ("A.R.") at 3 (4/5/07 HOD). In addition, however, prior to November 17, 2006, Plaintiff was suspended for a total of four days: two in September 2006 for being disrespectful to a teacher and two in connection with other incidents for one day each. A.R. at 3 (4/5/07 HOD).

On November 17, 2006, Plaintiff was involved in an incident with another MAPCS student (his girlfriend at the time). Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 4; Pl.'s Resp. ¶ 2. While Plaintiff asserts that he acted in self-defense, see Pl.'s Resp. ¶ 2, the parties do not dispute that Plaintiff assaulted the other student, was immediately disciplined by being removed from MAPCS, and was not allowed to return to MAPCS as a student after November 17, 2006, see Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 2; Def.'s Stmt. ¶¶ 4-5; Pl.'s Resp. ¶ 2; A.R. at 3-4 (4/5/07 HOD). On November 22, 2006, MAPCS sent a letter to Plaintiff's father, informing him that Plaintiff had been suspended with the intent to expel. Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 6; Pl.'s Resp. ¶ 3; A.R. at 212. The letter indicated that MAPCS's special education coordinator would be scheduling a manifestation determination review ("MDR") meeting as soon as possible. A.R. at 4 (4/5/07 HOD); A.R. at 212.

Pursuant to the IDEA, an MDR meeting "shall" be held "within 10 school days of any decision to change the placement of a child with a disability because of a violation of a code of student conduct." 20 U.S.C. § 1415(k)(1)(E). It is undisputed that the MDR in Plaintiff's case was not held until December 19, 2006. Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 11; Pl.'s Resp. ¶ 4; A.R. at 4-5 (4/5/07 HOD). Before the Hearing Officer below, Plaintiff argued that MAPCS denied him FAPE when it failed to convene an MDR meeting within 10 school days of his suspension, see A.R. at 9 (4/5/07 HOD); however, the Hearing Officer concluded that MAPCS's delay in convening the MDR meeting was justified and did not constitute a denial of FAPE. Id. at 9-10. In reaching this conclusion, the Hearing Officer credited testimony that Plaintiff's "father wanted to delay the meeting." Id. The Hearing Officer also noted that...

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11 practice notes
  • Barroca v. Hurwitz, Civil Action No. 13-1286 (RBW)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • September 28, 2018
    ...United States is res judicata in relitigation of the same issue between that party and another officer of the government." Nuckols, 578 F.Supp.2d at 83 (emphasis in original) (quoting Sunshine Anthracite Coal Co. v. Adkins , 310 U.S. 381, 402–03, 60 S.Ct. 907, 84 L.Ed. 1263 (1940) ).The Nor......
  • Beckwith ex rel. L.B. v. Dist. of Columbia, Case No: 15-cv-1284-RCL
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • September 15, 2016
    ...caused a deprivation of educational benefits." 20 U.S.C. § 1415(f)(3)(E)(ii)(III) ; see also Shelton v. Maya Angelou Pub. Charter Sch. , 578 F.Supp.2d 83, 102–03 (D.D.C.2008) (assessing a failure to implement claim as a procedural violation); David Ferster, Broken Promises: When Does a Scho......
  • D.C. ex rel. T.C. v. Mount Olive Twp. Bd. of Educ., Civil No.: 12-5592 (KSH)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • March 31, 2014
    ...so as "to progress toward meeting the goals set out in the child's IEP." See, e.g., Shelton v. Maya Angelou Pub. Charter Sch., 578 F. Supp. 2d 83, 93-94 (D.D.C. 2008). A suspension for longer than ten days triggers these "change of placement" requirements. 34 C.F.R. § 300.536(a)(1); see She......
  • J.P.M. v. Palm Beach Cnty. Sch. Bd., Case No. 10–80473–CIV.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
    • January 30, 2013
    ...are inadequate to compensate the plaintiff for the harm he or she allegedly suffered. Shelton v. Maya Angelou Public Charter School, 578 F.Supp.2d 83 (D.D.C.2008) (noting that some courts consider only the first and third factors). Walker v. District of Columbia, 157 F.Supp.2d 11, 30 (D.D.C......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
11 cases
  • Barroca v. Hurwitz, Civil Action No. 13-1286 (RBW)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • September 28, 2018
    ...United States is res judicata in relitigation of the same issue between that party and another officer of the government." Nuckols, 578 F.Supp.2d at 83 (emphasis in original) (quoting Sunshine Anthracite Coal Co. v. Adkins , 310 U.S. 381, 402–03, 60 S.Ct. 907, 84 L.Ed. 1263 (1940) ).The Nor......
  • Beckwith ex rel. L.B. v. Dist. of Columbia, Case No: 15-cv-1284-RCL
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • September 15, 2016
    ...caused a deprivation of educational benefits." 20 U.S.C. § 1415(f)(3)(E)(ii)(III) ; see also Shelton v. Maya Angelou Pub. Charter Sch. , 578 F.Supp.2d 83, 102–03 (D.D.C.2008) (assessing a failure to implement claim as a procedural violation); David Ferster, Broken Promises: When Does a Scho......
  • D.C. ex rel. T.C. v. Mount Olive Twp. Bd. of Educ., Civil No.: 12-5592 (KSH)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • March 31, 2014
    ...so as "to progress toward meeting the goals set out in the child's IEP." See, e.g., Shelton v. Maya Angelou Pub. Charter Sch., 578 F. Supp. 2d 83, 93-94 (D.D.C. 2008). A suspension for longer than ten days triggers these "change of placement" requirements. 34 C.F.R. § 300.536(a)(1); see She......
  • J.P.M. v. Palm Beach Cnty. Sch. Bd., Case No. 10–80473–CIV.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
    • January 30, 2013
    ...are inadequate to compensate the plaintiff for the harm he or she allegedly suffered. Shelton v. Maya Angelou Public Charter School, 578 F.Supp.2d 83 (D.D.C.2008) (noting that some courts consider only the first and third factors). Walker v. District of Columbia, 157 F.Supp.2d 11, 30 (D.D.C......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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