United States District Court, D. Oregon, Eugene Division
OPINION AND ORDER RE: DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
MUSTAFA T. KASUBHAI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
brought this action alleging that Eugene School District 4J
(“Defendant” or the “District”)
violated the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (the
“IDEA”), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
(“Section 504”), the Americans with Disabilities
Act (the “ADA”), and Oregon Revised Statute
Chapter 659A. ECF Nos. 1, 14. Both parties consent to
jurisdiction by a U.S. Magistrate Judge. ECF No. 11.
the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. ECF No. 15.
For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss (ECF No. 15) is GRANTED as to the IDEA claim and the
Oregon law claim; and is DENIED as to the ADA and Section 504
claims, and their related declaratory relief.
alleges the following in the Complaint. Plaintiff was a
student eligible for special education services and was
enrolled in the International High School, International
Baccalaureate, and the French Immersion Program offered by
the District. First Am. Compl. ¶ 28, ECF No. 14. The
District created an Individualized Education Program
(“IEP”) to provide specially designed
instructions and related services, and to accommodate
Plaintiffs disabilities. Id. ¶¶ 28-29.
the 2013-14 school year (the ninth grade), Plaintiff was
enrolled in a French language class taught by Michael Stasack
(“Stasack”) at South Eugene High School
(“SEHS”). Id. ¶ 33. Stasack failed
to implement the accommodations listed in Plaintiffs IEP.
Id. ¶¶ 34-35.
the 2014-15 school year (the tenth grade), Plaintiff was not
enrolled in a class taught by Stasack. Id. ¶
34. All of Plaintiff s teachers properly implemented
Plaintiffs accommodations described in Plaintiffs IEP.
Id. ¶ 36.
the 2015-16 school year (the eleventh grade), Plaintiff again
enrolled in Stasack's French language class. Id.
¶ 37. Plaintiff alleges that Stasack refused to
implement the accommodations listed in Plaintiffs IEP and
made belittling remarks towards him. Id.
¶¶ 37-45, 54. “Plaintiffs self-esteem
and emotional stability was fragile.” Id.
¶ 44. On January 31, 2016, Plaintiffs parents contacted
SEHS administrators expressing concerns about the
discriminatory behavior towards Plaintiff. Id.
¶ 43. Plaintiffs parents filed a bullying and harassment
complaint against Stasack with the District and with the
Teachers Standards and Practices Commission. Id.
¶¶ 50-51, 53.
District completed its investigation in late March 2016 and
found that Stasack had failed to implement Plaintiffs IEP
accommodations. Id. ¶¶ 54, 58. The
District offered Plaintiff an alternative educational
placement for the rest of the 2015-16 school year in which
Plaintiff would be “fully entitled to pursue his
current academic program and [would] be supported in doing so
with unquestioned implementation of his IEP.”
Id. ¶ 57. Plaintiff was placed with a native
French licensed educator for independent study. Id.
Plaintiff alleges that this independent study placement was
an inferior educational opportunity. Id. ¶ 175.
The District also reassigned Stasack to another school for
the following school year of 2016-17. Id. at 59. At
the end of the 2015-16 school year, students in the French
Immersion Program organized a walkout to protest
Stasack's reassignment. Id. ¶ 61. The
walkout excluded Plaintiff. Id.
their subsequent email correspondence with SEHS, Plaintiffs
parents complained that students bullied Plaintiff.
Id. ¶ 68. Plaintiffs parents wrote: “The
fact that Mr. Stasack set the tone for [the] special
education kids to be treated as not deserving of
participation in the French Immersion/IB program set the
stage for nearly the entire class to think that is OK to
leave behind the kids with special needs and even to brazenly
act in ways that was certain to leave them feeling powerless
and ostracized.” Id. at ¶ 74. Plaintiffs
parents also wrote that Plaintiff “was left in a
position to be unreasonably differentiated … in a way
that substantially interferes with his educational benefit by
creating a hostile environment.” Id.
the 2016-17 school year (the twelfth grade), Plaintiff
alleges that other students enrolled in the French Immersion
Program bullied and harassed Plaintiff. Id.
¶¶ 77-85. Plaintiffs mother reported to SEHS
that other students' parents planned to invite Stasack to
the graduation ceremony and requested SEHS not allow
Stasack's attendance. Id. ¶ 77. SEHS
responded that it could not refuse Stasack's attendance
because the ceremony was a public event. Id.
Plaintiffs mother also reported to SEHS the
“harassment” behavior by a student who stood in
SEHS wearing a sweatshirt showing “Meeesieur
Mike” and “sayings” associated only with
Stasack. Id. ¶ 78. Plaintiff alleges that the
student ordered the sweatshirt and invited other students to
order the sweatshirt. Id. ¶ 79. Plaintiff also
alleges that the International High School office had
distributed the sweatshirts to students. Id. SEHS
declined to prohibit students from wearing the sweatshirts
citing students' right to free speech, but SEHS
recommended that the sweatshirts not be worn to the
graduation ceremony. Id. ¶ 80.
student wore the sweatshirt to the graduation rehearsal, but
no one wore it at the graduation ceremony. Id.
¶ 83. At the graduation ceremony, one of the student
speakers was the student who had “engaged in bullying
behavior” towards Plaintiff. Id. ¶ 85.
This student spoke that she was proud of her class' civil
rights actions, what they had learned about civil rights and
how to address bullying at SEHS. Id. Plaintiff
alleges that even though SEHS was aware of Plaintiffs
distress over these events, SEHS let the bullying student
speak at the ceremony and approved her speech. Id.
The student's speech caused additional emotional distress
to Plaintiff. Id.
graduated in June 2017 and attended college. Id.
¶¶ 85, 87. He turned eighteen on August 22,
2017. Id. at Ex. 1, p. 9, ECF No. 14-1.
12, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Request for a Due Process Hearing
(“Due Process Complaint”) with the Oregon
Department of Education (“ODE”) on his own behalf
raising claims under the IDEA, Section 504, the ADA, and
Oregon law. First Am. Compl. ¶ 13, ECF No. 14. The ODE
referred this matter to the Office of Administrative Hearings
(“OAH”). First Am. Compl. Ex. 1, p. 1, ECF No.
14-1. The Senior Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
Joe L. Allen granted Defendant's Motion to Dismiss the
Due Process Complaint and dismissed Plaintiffs Due Process
Complaint with prejudice. Id. at Ex. 1, pp. 1-2, 9.
filed this action on January 15, 2019 “in appeal of the
underlying due process hearing” In the Matter of
the Education of Student and Eugene School District 4J,
OAH No. 2018-ABC-01842 (“Final Order”).
See Compl., ECF No. 1; First Am. Compl. 1, ECF No.
14. Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a
claim. ECF No. 15.
the plaintiff “fail[s] to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted, ” the action must be dismissed.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). To survive a motion to dismiss, the
complaint must allege “enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).
While a complaint . . . does not need detailed factual
allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the
“grounds” of his “entitle[ment] to
relief” requires more than labels and conclusions, and
a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do, see Papasan v. Allain, 478
U.S. 265, 286 (1986) (on a motion to dismiss, courts
“are not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion
couched as a factual allegation”). Factual allegations
must be enough to raise a right to relief above the
Id. at 555 (citations omitted). Moreover, when
assessing the sufficiency of any civil complaint, a court
must distinguish factual contentions - which alleged behavior
on the part of the defendant that, if true, would satisfy one
or more elements of the claim asserted - and
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). In
short, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to state a claim for relief that is
plausible on its face.” Id. (citations and
internal quotations omitted).
amendment would be futile, it is appropriate to dismiss the
claim with prejudice. See Universal Mortg. Co. v.
Prudential Ins. Co., 799 F.2d 458, 459 (9th Cir.1986)
(“Although leave to amend ‘shall be freely given
when justice so requires,' it may be denied if the
proposed amendment either lacks merit or would not serve any
purpose because to grant it would be futile in saving the
General Framework of the IDEA, Section 504, and the ADA
IDEA was enacted to ensure all children with certain physical
or intellectual disabilities receive a free appropriate
public education (“FAPE”). 20 U.S.C. § 1400.
As defined in the IDEA, a FAPE comprises “special
education and related services” - both
“instruction” tailored to meet a child's
“unique needs” and sufficient “supportive
services” to permit the child to benefit from that
instruction. Fry v. Napoleon Cmty. Sch., 137 S.Ct.
743, 748-49 (2017) (citation and internal quotations
omitted). The only relief available under the IDEA is relief
for the denial of a FAPE. Id. at 752, 755.
contrast, Title II of the ADA and § 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act cover people with disabilities of all
ages, and do so both inside and outside schools.”
Id. at 756. Title II of the ADA prohibits any
“public entity” from discriminating based on
disability and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
prohibits discrimination based on disability in any
“federally funded program or activity.” 42 U.S.C.
§§ 12131-32; 29 U.S.C. § 764(a). “In
short, the IDEA guarantees individually tailored educational
services, while Title II and § 504 promise
non-discriminatory access to public institutions.”
Fry, 137 S.Ct. at 756. ...