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Friday, October 9, 2009

Rule 56.1 statements not required in IDEA cases

T.Y. v. NYC, 2nd Circuit, decided 10/9/09, 08-3527-cv: In the course of affirming the District Court’s ruling in favor of the NYC Board of Ed., the 2nd Circuit addressed the role of the summary judgment motion in IDEA cases and in particular, the rule 56.1 statement of material facts not in dispute. The parent’s attorney argued that the 56.1 statement was not required and that it was improper for the district to have submitted a 56.1 statement. The district court castigated the parent’s attorney for not filing a 56.1 statement and not responding to the district’s 56.1 statement. The District Court characterized the 56.1 statement as “necessary” stating that “it goes to the heart of the Court’s determination of whether or not summary judgment is appropriate.” The 2nd Circuit disagreed stating that:

[a] Rule 56.1 statement, while not required, may assist the court’s inquiry into whether IDEA procedures were followed and whether the result was reasonably designed to confer educational benefits. But while a Rule 56.1 statement may assist the court in reviewing
particular issues, it is not in and of itself dispositive. The district court's characterization of Appellee’s Rule 56.1 statement as "necessary" was therefore not entirely correct. The court's error was of no consequence, however, because we are satisfied that the court conducted an independent review and carefully reviewed the record, as is required by the statute.