CC v. Granby Bd. Of Educ.

U.S. District Court

September 30, 2006

In an interesting federal special education decision, the United States District Court, District of Connecticut, awarded plaintiff over $93,000 in attorney’s fees for a successful administrative hearing decision garnered through a Due Process procedure. The minor child/plaintiff, C, claimed that the defendant Granby Board of Education (“Board”), failed to provide him with a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) by virtue of rejecting a second round of specialized reading tutorial at an intensive program located in Stamford. Plaintiff’s mother challenged the denial and prevailed before an administrative hearing officer, who found that the board did not provide FAPE under IDEA during 2004 and 2005 and ordered the Board to pay for an additional twelve weeks of specialized reading instruction, plus transportation to Stamford.

The District Court found that the plaintiff qualified as a prevailing party under Buckhannon Bd. & Care Home, Inc. v. W. Va. Dep’t. of Health & Human Res., 532 U.S. 598 (2001), See also A.R. v. N.Y. City Dep’t. of Educ., 407 F.3d 65 (2d Cir. 2005). Thus – plaintiff was entitled to attorney’s fees pursuant to the fee shifting provision in IDEA, 20 U.S.C. § 1415(i)(3)(B). The interesting analysis results in the assessment of the “lodestar” calculation which determined the amount of attorney’s fees due plaintiff’s counsel. In this case – the court pens a thoughtful analysis of the attorney’s work, his expertise, hourly rate and the paralegal’s costs. In addition, the court denied the plaintiff’s motion to enforce the hearing officer’s decision because the plaintiff’s had not exhausted administrative remedies through the state Department of Education.

This case may be accessed through Westlaw or Lexis at this time.

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