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Soto v. Clark County School District

United States District Court, D. Nevada

July 26, 2017

VALERIE SOTO, Plaintiffs,


         Presently before the court is Clark Country School District's (“defendant”) motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 7). Valerie Soto (“plaintiff”), on behalf of herself and minor child YD, filed a response (ECF No. 10), to which defendant replied (ECF No. 13).

         I. Facts

         This case involves plaintiff's settlement agreement with defendant related to a deficiency of accommodations made for her disabled daughter, YD, and her subsequent claim in federal court concerning the same issues addressed in the agreement. See (ECF Nos. 1, 7-11).

         Plaintiff's daughter, YD, has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. (ECF No. 1 at 5). Thus, YD is “primarily nonverbal” and “demonstrates challenging behaviors, including self-injurious behavior, aggression, and tantrums.” (Id.). YD is enrolled as a student within the defendant school system, and defendant's employees were aware of YD's disorder and that she required “reasonable accommodation of a Functional Behavior Analysis (FBA) and Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs) to allow [her] meaningful access to education.” (Id. at 6). There is no evidence that defendant completed an FBA, allegedly “a necessary step for an appropriate [BIP].” (Id.).

         On October 29, 2014, without a BIP and “[a]s a consequence of [defendant's] inappropriate approach to YD's behaviors, [she] was allowed to kick herself up to 85 times during a tantrum and punch herself in the arms and neck, as well as bang her body into doors, walls, desks or anything hard” without any restraint by defendant's employees. (Id.).

         “Despite repeated requests for [h]omebound [s]ervices” from January 6, 2015, to May 12, 2015; a physician's order that YD “remain home from school due to physical issues”; and after plaintiff “provided [defendant] with excuses from YD's physicians, ” defendant did not provide YD with any “[h]omebound [s]ervices.” (Id. at 7). Plaintiff hired her daughter's own tutors while YD was away from school. (Id.).

         On January 22, 2016, plaintiff filed for a due process hearing pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (the “IDEA”), regarding its “regulations against [defendant] concerning the failure to provide a Free Appropriate Public Education” (“FAPE”) during the 2015- 16 school year. (ECF No. 7-11 at 2).

         On May 4, 2016, the parties stipulated to a settlement agreement in which defendant agreed, among other things, to conduct an FBA in order to “develop a [BIP] . . . develop a data collection plan, and ensure that all staff working with [YD] are familiar with the BIP and made aware how to implement the BIP.” (Id. at 3). Additionally, plaintiff agreed to “withdraw the January 22, 2016 request for an impartial due process hearing, with prejudice, after the final execution of this Settlement Agreement.” (Id. at 6). The settlement agreement was to “remain in effect until the agreed upon provisions [were] implemented or one year from the date of execution of [the] agreement, whichever [was] earlier.” (Id.).

         On August 31, 2016 plaintiff filed her complaint alleging that YD had been “deprived . . . of a program designed to meet her individual education needs as adequately as the needs of her peers without disabilities” in violation of 29 U.S.C. § 794 (section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act) and 42 U.S.C. § 12132 (title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act). (ECF No. 1 at 8). In the instant motion, defendant argues inter alia that plaintiff's complaint should be dismissed given “[p]laintiff's failure to exhaust administrative remedies by withdrawal and settlement of [p]laintiff's Section 504 and ADA claims.” (ECF No. 7 at 2).

         II. Legal Standard

         The court may dismiss a plaintiff's complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A properly pled complaint must provide “[a] short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Although rule 8 does not require detailed factual allegations, it does require more than labels and conclusions. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Furthermore, a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not suffice. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677 (2009) (citation omitted). Rule 8 does not unlock the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than conclusions. Id. at 678-79.

         To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Id. When a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability, and shows only a mere possibility of entitlement, the complaint does not meet the requirements to show plausibility of entitlement to relief. Id.

         In Iqbal, the Supreme Court clarified the two-step approach district courts are to apply when considering a motion to dismiss. Id. First, the court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint. However, this requirement is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Id. Second, only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss. Id. at 678. Where the complaint does not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has “alleged - but not shown - that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Id. at 679. When the allegations in a complaint have not crossed the line from conceivable to plausible, plaintiff's claim must be dismissed. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.

         The Ninth Circuit addressed post-Iqbal pleading standards in Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 ...

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