The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mcmahon, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S CROSS-MOTION FOR
Plaintiffs and defendant cross-move for summary judgment.
Jeffrey is an eighteen year old with a learning disability. His
learning disability became apparent as early as the second grade,
when he was classified by the District as a child with special
Jeffrey's ninth grade individualized education program ("IEP")
revealed a fifth grade reading ability, severe language deficits
and comprehensive problems. Mrs. S sought services from the
District to address her son's needs. The District maintained that
Jeffrey did not qualify for remedial reading because his ability
was not low enough — and that he could and would meet the
standards of a New York State Regent's Diploma.
The District issued another IEP in 1998 ("1998 IEP"). The 1998
IEP attempted to address Jeffrey's academic needs by placing him
in a resource room for 180 minutes weekly, and providing him
speech and languages services two times per week for 30 minute
periods in both individual and small group instruction. According
to plaintiffs, the 1998 IEP was insufficient. As a result, Mrs.
S. hired a psychotherapist, Dr. Starishevsky, and a tutor, Lynn
Giacomarra, to help her son.
Jeffrey's report card for the 1998-99 academic year (his tenth
grade) reflected that Jeffrey had failed every subject during the
fourth quarter, and a failing final yearly grade average in all
subjects except "resource room." In a May 12, 1999 annual review,
the District conducted a speech and language evaluation, an
educational evaluation, a classroom observation evaluation, and a
In June 1999, the District's Committee on Special Education
("CSE") met and considered Jeffrey's educational needs relating
to his need to repeat the tenth grade. CSE developed an IEP dated
June 22, 1999 (the "1999 IEP") that recommended that Jeffrey's
interests might be best served by his attending a special
education program in Rockland County. However, according to
plaintiffs, the CSE informed Mrs. S that it was unclear whether
alternative programs in Rockland County could accommodate
Jeffrey. Despite a promise to make the arrangements to enable
Mrs. S to look at the programs that might be available, the
District never got back to her until long after the decision had
to be made as to where Jeffrey would attend school in the
1999-2000 school year.
Mrs. S then hired a special education consultant, Marilyn
Arons. Arons reviewed Jeffrey's academic history, his educational
test results, and the evaluations of his performance and learning
disabilities. Arons also met with Jeffrey to evaluate his
academic challenges, and to develop an appropriate plan to
reverse his failing performance.
Arons proposed to Lee Kapleau, chairperson of the District's
CSE, that Jeffrey be placed at The Pine Ridge School in Vermont
("Pine Ridge"), which was on the emergency approved placement
list for New York State schools. Kapleau told Arons that if Mrs.
S planned to dispute the recommended 1999 IEP, then she was free
to request a due process hearing.
Mrs. S enrolled Jeffrey at Pine Ridge for the 1999-2000 school
The due process hearing was held on January 24, 2000, February
24, 2000, and February 28, 2000, during which Lee Kapleau
testified as the only witness. At all times during the hearings,
Ms. Arons served ...