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Monday, April 12, 2010

Court rejects school district effort to recover attorney fees from parent

ALIEF INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT v. C. C. (S.D.Tex. 4-7-2010): District sought to reevaluate child. Parent refused consent. District received permission from state agency to evaluate and did so. Parent filed hearing request alleging various violations and district counterclaimed alleging, inter alia, that its recommendations were proper and that the parent had filed the hearing request for “an improper purpose”. The parent subsequently sought dismissal of his own claim and the district’s claim. The district refused to withdraw its claims and the hearing went forward on the district’s claims which were essentially to prove the appropriateness of their recommendations. The district prevailed at hearing except on the issue of whether the parent’s complaint was filed for an improper purpose. The district appealed the adverse determination and sought fees in federal court. The court rejected the district’s claim for fees finding that its counterclaim did not arise under §1415 because it did not allege any violation of the IDEA.