Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Greene County Tech School District v. MW

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division

March 31, 2019

GREENE COUNTY TECH SCHOOL DISTRICT PLAINTIFF
v.
MW, an adult, and CARLA WILSON, mother of MW DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          KRISTINE G. BAKER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Greene County Tech School District (the “District”) filed this action pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), 20 U.S.C. §§ 1415(i)(3)(A), (j), for injunctive relief to secure the maintenance of the current educational placement of MW, a 19-year-old student at Greene County Tech High School (Dkt. No. 1). Before the Court is the District's motion to dismiss the appeal (Dkt. No. 26). Defendants MW, an adult, and Carla Wilson, mother of MW (collectively “the Wilsons”), responded in opposition to the motion, and the District filed a reply (Dkt. Nos. 28, 30). The District moves to dismiss this action for mootness and lack of subject matter jurisdiction (Dkt. No. 26, ¶ 1). For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants the District's motion to the extent it seeks to dismiss any claim for attorney's fees under the IDEA, and the Court denies the District's motion to the extent the District seeks to dismiss the counterclaim and third-party complaint in this action.

         I. Background

         The following facts come from the District's complaint, unless otherwise noted (Dkt. No. 1). MW is a 19-year-old student at Greene County Tech High School and was on course to graduate in May 2017 (Id., ¶¶ 1, 5). MW has cerebral palsy (Id., ¶ 5). She has limited verbal ability, limited control of her muscular functions, and is unable to feed herself (Id.). MW has an individualized educational plan (“IEP”) and an initialized healthcare plan (“IHP”) (Id.). She takes general education classes with time in special education (Id.).

         The District alleges that it was informed that MW had been the subject of a swallow study done at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas (Id., ¶ 6). The study recommended that MW's primary care physician (“PCP”) issue orders about what food and liquids MW should be given and how they should be taken (Id., ¶ 6). The District alleges that it requested the PCP's orders from Ms. Wilson, but she refused to provide the orders to the District (Id., ¶ 7). The District further alleges that it requested that Ms. Wilson sign a release so that the District could get the orders, to deliver the orders to the District, or to authorize the District's nurse to talk with the PCP and receive the orders, but the District claims that Ms. Wilson refused (Id.). The District asserts that it believed it was unsafe for district personnel to feed MW without receiving information from MW's PCP (Id., ¶ 8).

         On January 9, 2017, Ms. Wilson, on behalf of MW, filed a special education due process complaint against the District, which was assigned Arkansas Department of Education (“ADE”), Special Education Division No. H-17-20 (Id., ¶ 2). On February 3, 2017, the hearing officer issued a stay-put order requiring that the District allow MW to return to school during the pendency of the special education due process case (Id., ¶ 9). On March 13, 2017, the District brought this action against the Wilsons seeking an injunction mandating Ms. Wilson release medical information to the District to permit MW's further attendance at school in compliance with the stay-put order (Id., at 4-5). The District specifically sought medical information from MW's PCP regarding what foods and liquids MW should be given and how those foods and liquids should be taken (Id., ¶ 6). On March 30, 2017, the District filed a motion for injunctive relief seeking a preliminary and final injunction against the Wilsons (Dkt. No. 8). Specifically, the District requested an injunction requiring Ms. Wilson to cease and desist from blocking access of the District to MW's medical information from her PCP, mandating that Ms. Wilson take necessary steps to release the medical information to the District, and permitting MW to attend school as required by the stay-put order (Id., at 4).

         On April 2, 2017, the Wilsons filed a counterclaim against the District and a third-party complaint against the District; Gene Weeks, Superintendent and Chief Executive Officer of the District; Chad Jordan, Principal of Greene County Tech High School; and Tammy Birmingham, Director of Special Education in the District (Dkt. No. 13). The Wilsons' counterclaim and third-party complaint allege violations of procedural and substantive due process and equal protection protected by the Fourteenth Amendment, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and for violation of stay-put under 20 U.S.C. § 1415(j); Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Rehabilitation Act”), 29 U.S.C. § 701 et seq.; and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12131-12165, for unlawful discrimination based on disability (Dkt. No. 13, at 16-29). These are all federal claims, giving rise to federal jurisdiction in their own right. On April 4, 2017, the Wilsons filed a motion for preliminary injunction (Dkt. No. 17). The Wilsons requested an injunction ordering the District to allow MW to return to school, to implement the services and supports on MW's IEP, and to allow access to a private healthcare aide for MW (Id., at 9).

         On April 6, 2017, the Court held an evidentiary hearing where the parties agreed to the following: (1) the District withdrew its motion to dismiss without objection; (2) the District agreed to follow the stay-put order entered by the ADE hearing officer in No. H-17-20 (Dkt. No. 17-2); (3) the parties agreed to reserve the issue of attorneys' fees associated with their cross-motions for injunctive relief; and (4) the parties agreed that the Court would retain jurisdiction of the action (Dkt. No. 25, at 1). Based on the parties' agreement, the Court denied as moot the then pending cross-motions for injunctive relief on April 6, 2017 (Dkt. No. 24). In this Court's Order from May 4, 2017, the Court acknowledged “that the parties have reserved the issue of attorneys' fees associated with their cross-motions for injunctive relief.” (Dkt. No. 25, at 1). In that Order, the Court retained jurisdiction “over any disputes that should arise regarding the terms or conditions of the stay-put order issued by the ADE hearing officer.” (Id., at 2).

         On November 3, 2017, the hearing officer entered a Final Decision and Order in the ADE, Special Education Unit No. H-17-27 (Dkt. No. 26, Ex. 1). The hearing officer ordered the following:

1. Upon receipt of this order, but no later than November 30, 2017, the Parent will provide the District with the necessary documentation in order for Easter Seals to conduct an adaptive communication evaluation and any assistive technology evaluations they deem appropriate to assist the Student in the classroom as well as in implementation of the associated related services.
2. Upon receipt of this order the Parent will sign consent for District personnel responsible for the health and safety of the Student to receive directions on types of foods and how best to assist with feeding as well [as] administer prescribed medications for the Student.
3. Upon receipt of this order, but no later than November 30, 2017, the District will submit the CIRCUIT request for Easter Seals to conduct the augmentative communication and assistive technology evaluations as noted in number (1) above.
4. Upon receipt of this order, but no later than January 5, 2018, the District will conduct a facilitated IEP conference to develop an IEP for the Student to complete classes necessary for her to receive a high school diploma. The Parent will not dictate which District personnel will be present to assist in the development of the IEP.
5. Should the Parent fail to comply with item one (1) above the District will still be obligated to conduct the facilitated IEP conference as ordered in item three (3), and develop an IEP based on the best information available as of January 5, 2018.

(Id., at 55-56). Under the IDEA, a party aggrieved by the findings and decision of the hearing officer has 90 days from the date of the decision to bring a civil action in either federal district court or a state court of competent jurisdiction. 20 U.S.C. § 1415(i)(2). Neither the District nor the Wilsons filed such an appeal.

         II. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.