D.F. v. Ramapo Central School

430 F.3d 595 (2005)

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D.F. v. Ramapo Central School

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
430 F.3d 595 (2005)

  • Written by Jody Stuart, JD

Facts

N.F. was diagnosed with severe autism and associated conditions. For the 2002–2003 school year, the Ramapo Central School District (Ramapo) (defendant) developed an individualized education plan (IEP) for N.F. Under the IEP, N.F. was enrolled in Ramapo’s special preschool placement program at Prime Time for Kids (Prime). N.F. received full-day applied-behavior-analysis (ABA) therapy at Prime. The IEP did not provide for N.F. to receive additional ABA therapy at home. N.F.’s parents (plaintiffs) found the lack of at-home therapy unsatisfactory. N.F.’s parents requested a due-process hearing to assess whether the IEP satisfied the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (act) requirement that disabled students receive a free, appropriate public education (FAPE). The hearing officer concluded that at-home ABA therapy was not needed to ensure a FAPE for N.F. and that Ramapo had therefore satisfied its legal obligations. The state review officer (SRO) affirmed the hearing officer’s decision. N.F.’s parents challenged the SRO’s decision in federal district court, and both parties moved for summary judgment. During oral argument, the district court made several inquiries regarding whether N.F. had made meaningful progress at Prime. The district court (1) found significant evidence that N.F. failed to make meaningful progress under the IEP, (2) found that N.F. had consequently been denied a FAPE, and (3) did not consider the issue of whether retrospective evidence of a student’s progress was properly considered in determining the validity of an IEP. The district court granted summary judgment to N.F.’s parents. Ramapo appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Calabresi, J.)

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