|FROM:||The Legal Taxi|
|RE:||Subject Matter Jurisdiction|
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Subject Matter Jurisdiction under IDEA
Student (my client) won a case at the administrative level for reimbursement of costs for private educational expenses. It was appealed by Defendant, and decision was upheld. That decision was issued in State Circuit Court. In another matter for the same student, the Defendant settled a case for reimbursement of costs for private educational expenses. Later, Defendant refused to pay some of these costs and I brought a claim is USDC for reimbursement outstanding from both cases. Briefing on the merits is complete, but the Judge questions subject matter jurisdiction. As to the case that was settled, he may be correct. The law under which the case arises is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. 20 U.S.C. § 1415(i)(2).
Relevant Statute and Cases
We received a query concerning the issue of subject-matter jurisdiction (SMJ) by a federal district court hearing matter arising from two IDEA claims. We have researched the provisions of the IDEA that grant concurrent powers to state and federal courts. We have located some exemplary cases that deal with issues of SMJ under the IDEA and more generally. Finally, we have located a law review article that we recommend because it addresses issues of SMJ under IDEA.
(a) Establishment of procedures. Any State educational agency, State agency, or local educational agency that receives assistance under this part [20 USCS §§ 1411 et seq.] shall establish and maintain procedures in accordance with this section to ensure that children with disabilities and their parents are guaranteed procedural safeguards with respect to the provision of a free appropriate public education by such agencies.
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- (i) Administrative procedures
- (1) In general.
- (A) Decision made in hearing. A decision made in a hearing conducted pursuant to subsection (f) or (k) shall be final, except that any party involved in such hearing may appeal such decision under the provisions of subsection (g) and paragraph (2). * * *
- (2) Right to bring civil action.
- (A) In general. Any party aggrieved by the findings and decision made under subsection (f) or (k) who does not have the right to an appeal under subsection (g), and any party aggrieved by the findings and decision made under this subsection, shall have the right to bring a civil action with respect to the complaint presented pursuant to this section, which action may be brought in any State court of competent jurisdiction or in a district court of the United States, without regard to the amount in controversy.
- (B) Limitation. The party bringing the action shall have 90 days from the date of the decision of the hearing officer to bring such an action, or, if the State has an explicit time limitation for bringing such action under this part [20 USCS §§ 1411 et seq.], in such time as the State law allows.
- (C) Additional requirements. In any action brought under this paragraph, the court--
- (i) shall receive the records of the administrative proceedings;
(ii) shall hear additional evidence at the request of a party; and
(iii) basing its decision on the preponderance of the evidence, shall grant such relief as the court determines is appropriate.
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- (o) Separate complaint. Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude a parent from filing a separate due process complaint on an issue separate from a due process complaint already filed.
- Under 34 CFR § 300.515(a), which is applicable to 20 USCS § 1415(f) of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 USCS §§ 1400-1487, public agency must ensure that not later than 45 days after expiration of 30 day period final decision is reached in hearing; Haw. Admin. R. 8-56-77(a) similarly provides that Hawaii Department of Education shall ensure that no later than 45 days after receipt of request for hearing final decision is reached in hearing; nothing in these provisions supports conclusion that hearing officer lacks subject matter jurisdiction once decision deadline lapses. Paul K. v Hawaii (2008, DC Hawaii) 567 F Supp 2d 1231.
- Out of state private care providers had no standing under U.S. Const. art. III to bring claim against state department of education under Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) to recover expenses for treating minor because Congress did not intend for IDEA to provide procedural safeguards to providers under 20 USCS § 1412 and 20 USCS § 1415 and providers were not aggrieved parties entitled to redress for suffering financial injuries. Piedmont Behavioral Health Ctr., LLC v Stewart (2006, SD W Va) 413 F Supp 2d 746.
- Rule 12. Defenses and Objections: When and How Presented; Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings; Consolidating Motions; Waiving Defenses; Pretrial Hearing
(a) Time to Serve a Responsive Pleading
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(b) How to Present Defenses. Every defense to a claim for relief in any pleading must be asserted in the responsive pleading if one is required. But a party may assert the following defenses by motion:
(1) lack of subject-matter jurisdiction;
(2) lack of personal jurisdiction;
(3) improper venue;
(4) insufficient process;
(5) insufficient service of process;
(6) failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted; and
(7) failure to join a party under Rule 19.
- A motion asserting any of these defenses must be made before pleading if a responsive pleading is allowed. If a pleading sets out a claim for relief that does not require a responsive pleading, an opposing party may assert at trial any defense to that claim. No defense or objection is waived by joining it with one or more other defenses or objections in a responsive pleading or in a motion.
- (c) Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. After the pleadings are closed--but early enough not to delay trial--a party may move for judgment on the pleadings.
- (d) Result of Presenting Matters Outside the Pleadings. If, on a motion under Rule 12(b)(6) or 12(c), matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court, the motion must be treated as one for summary judgement under Rule 56. All parties must be given a reasonable opportunity to present all the material that is pertinent to the motion.
- (i) Hearing Before Trial. If a party so moves, any defense listed in Rule 12(b)(1)-(7)--whether made in a pleading or by motion--and a motion under Rule 12(c) must be heard and decided before trial unless the court orders a deferral until trial.
§ 1983. Civil action for deprivation of rights:
- Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia.
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