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C.B. v. Pittsford Central School District

September 14, 2009

C.B., INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF E.B., A CHILD WITH A DISABILITY, PLAINTIFF
v.
PITTSFORD CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT, DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles J. Siragusa United States District Judge

DECISION AND ORDER

INTRODUCTION

This is an action, pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act ("IDEA"), 20 U.S.C. § 1415(i)(2), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794 et seq., and Article 89 of the New York Stated Education Law, seeking review of a decision of the New York State Department of Education. Now before the Court is Defendant's motion to dismiss the action (Docket No. [#2]).

BACKGROUND

On October 10, 2008, Plaintiff commenced this action. The Complaint identifies the Plaintiffs only as set forth in the caption of this Decision and Order, namely, "C.B., individually and on behalf of E.B., a child with a disability." Neither the summons nor Complaint identifies the Plaintiffs by their actual names. When Plaintiffs filed the complaint, they did not file the administrative record.

The Complaint purports to set forth two causes of action: 1) a claim for review of the underlying administrative decision; and 2) a claim for attorney's fees, "should plaintiffs prevail." (Complaint ¶ 99). In that regard, Plaintiffs are appealing a decision of the New York State Department of Education's State Review Officer, issued on July 23, 2008. (Complaint ¶ 16).*fn1 On February 4, 2009, Plaintiffs served the summons and complaint on Defendant. (Oakes Affidavit ("Aff."), ¶ 6).

On February 17, 2009, Defendant filed the subject motion to dismiss (Docket No. [#2]). There are essentially three aspects to the motion. First, Defendant contends that the entire action must be dismissed, pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ("FRCP"), since Plaintiffs did not file the administrative record simultaneously with the filing of the Complaint. According to Defendant, such simultaneous filing was required by 20 U.S.C. § 1415(i)(2)(C)(i). Because of such failure, Defendant maintains, the Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over the action, and the Complaint fails to state a claim.

As a second ground for dismissal, Defendant argues that the Complaint and Summons fail to comply with FRCP Rules 4, 10, 5, 5.2, and 12(b)(4), since neither contains the Plaintiff's actual names, and since Plaintiffs did not obtain leave of the Court to proceed anonymously.

Finally, Defendant contends that the second cause of action, for attorney's fees, must be dismissed pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6), since the attorney's fee provision upon which Plaintiffs rely, 20 U.S.C. § 1415(i)(3), pertains only to "prevailing parties," and Plaintiffs did not prevail in the administrative proceeding.

On March 18, 2009, Plaintiffs filed a certified copy of the administrative record. On May 14, 2009, Plaintiffs filed a response to the motion (Docket No. [#6]). First, Plaintiffs concede that the second cause of action, for attorney's fees, should be dismissed without prejudice. Additionally, Plaintiffs maintain that Defendant's objection to Plaintiffs' use of their initials is frivolous, since at least one District Judge in this District has approved the practice of allowing parents to proceed on behalf of their children anonymously, using only initials. And finally, Plaintiffs argue that Defendant's objections regarding the filing of the administrative record are moot, since the record was filed on March 18, 2009.

On June 12, 2009, Defendant filed a reply (Docket No. [#8]), reiterating that the action should be dismissed in its entirety, for failure to file the administrative record simultaneously with the Complaint, and for failure to provide Plaintiffs' actual names. With regard to Plaintiffs' names, Defendant maintain that although courts have permitted litigants to proceed anonymously, Plaintiffs here have not obtained such permission from the Court.

On September 10, 2009, counsel for the parties appeared before the undersigned for oral argument of the motion.

DISCUSSION

Filing of the Administrative Record Defendants' motion, as it pertains to the administrative record, is brought pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ("FRCP"). With regard to ...


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