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CATLIN v. SOBOL

December 10, 1997

DANIEL CATLIN, individually and as a parent and natural Guardian of Dunbar Elliot Catlin a/k/a "DELL" Catlin, a handicapped child; DUNDEEN CATLIN, individually and as a parent and natural Guardian of Dunbar Elliot Catlin a/k/a "DELL" Catlin, a handicapped child; and DUNBAR ELLIOT CATLIN, a handicapped child a/k/a "DELL" Catlin; Plaintiffs,
v.
THOMAS SOBOL, Commissioner of Education of the State of New York; JOHN F. HOLDORF, Superintendent of Schools of the Edmeston Central School District; and THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE EDMESTON CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT; Defendants.


HOWARD G. MUNSON, SENIOR U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: MUNSON

INTRODUCTION

 Presently before the court are three motions. First, plaintiffs have filed a motion for a declaration that pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA") and § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794, the Edmeston Central School District ("District") may not seek tuition reimbursement from plaintiffs. Alternatively, plaintiffs seek a declaration that if they are required to pay tuition that the District may not charge them for tuition from 1985-1994 at a rate in excess of the rate charged to regular education students or for any time after their son, Dell, reached the age of 18 on April 22, 1991.

 In addition to opposing this motion, the defendants John Holdorf and the District (hereinafter referred to collectively as "the District") cross-move for summary judgment dismissing the complaint. Finally, defendant Thomas Sobol as Commissioner of Education for the State of New York ("the Commissioner") cross-moves to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

 The court heard oral argument in support of, and in opposition to, these motions on June 30, 1997, in Albany, New York, and reserved decision at that time. *fn1" The following constitutes the court's disposition of these motions.

 BACKGROUND

 Familiarity with the facts of this case are assumed. However, the court will briefly set forth the issues that remain to be resolved after the Second Circuit's September 4, 1996, decision. Defendants appealed from this court's final judgment, holding that New York Education Law § 3202(4)(b) violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. See Catlin v. Sobol, 881 F. Supp. 789 (N.D.N.Y. 1995). On appeal, defendants argued that this court erred in granting plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment on the Due Process claim. Plaintiffs contended that the Equal Protection Clause, the IDEA, and § 504 provided alternative bases for affirming this court's decision.

 The Second Circuit held that New York Education Law § 3202(4)(b) did not violate the Due Process Clause. It also found no violation of the Equal Protection Clause, the IDEA or the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and therefore no alternative ground for affirming this court's decision. Accordingly, the Second Circuit reversed this court's decision to the extent that it held that § 3202(4)(b) violated the Due Process Clause. Thus, on remand, the only issue which remains to be decided is what person or entity is financially responsible for Dell Catlin's education between the years 1985-1994.

 DISCUSSION

 I. Commissioner's Cross-Motion to Dismiss

 The Commissioner argues that because the only issue which remains outstanding involves the District's claim for reimbursement of tuition and plaintiffs' attempt to resist that claim the complaint should be dismissed as to him. Plaintiffs have no objection to this cross-motion. Accordingly, the court GRANTS the Commissioner's cross-motion to dismiss the complaint against him.

 II. Plaintiffs' Motion and the District's Cross-Motion

 The District argues that plaintiffs may not pursue their motion for summary judgment unless and until plaintiffs seek and obtain leave of the court pursuant to Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to amend their complaint to set forth the issues raised by this motion.

 Plaintiffs' response to this argument is that there is no need for them to amend their complaint to seek relief from Massachusetts because they do not seek such relief nor is such relief necessary for the disposition of this case. See Thomas Reply Affidavit at P 4. Basically, plaintiffs argue, as they have throughout this litigation, that Dell is entitled to a free appropriate public education under the IDEA and if the District wants to be reimbursed for the education it ...


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