Crofts et al v. Issaquah School District et al

Filing 17

ORDER granting Defendant's 8 Motion to Modify Initial Order and Set Briefing Schedule and denying Plaintiff's 13 Motion to Compel. Signed by Judge Richard A Jones.(TH) (cc: Plaintiff Jeremy Sanders served via U.S. Mail)

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HONORABLE RICHARD A. JONES 1 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 7 8 LAYNA CROFTS and JEREMY SANDERS, 9 10 11 12 Plaintiffs, CASE NO. C17-1365RAJ v. ORDER ISSAQUAH SCHOOL DISTRICT, MELISSA MADSEN, and RON THIELE, Defendants. 13 14 I. INTRODUCTION 15 16 This matter comes before the Court on Defendants’ Motion to Modify Initial 17 Order and Set Briefing Schedule and Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel. Dkt. ## 8, 13. For 18 the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS Defendants’ Motion to Modify and 19 DENIES Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel. 20 21 22 II. BACKGROUND Plaintiffs Layna Crofts and Jeremy Sanders, proceeding pro se, seek judicial 23 24 review of the final order of an administrative law judge pursuant to the Individuals with 25 Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1400 et seq. (“IDEA”). Dkt. # 6. On October 26 19, 2017, Defendants Issaquah School District, Melissa Madsen, and Ron Thiele, filed a 27 28 ORDER – 1 1 Motion to Modify the requirements of the Court’s Order Regarding Initial Disclosures, 2 Joint Status Report, and Early Settlement (the “Order”). Plaintiffs oppose this Motion to 3 Modify and filed their Motion to Compel in response. Dkt. # 13. 4 5 A. Defendant’s Motion Defendants request that the Court issue an order relieving the parties from the 6 7 initial case scheduling deadlines set forth in the Order and to set a briefing schedule for 8 resolution of Plaintiffs’ appeal. Defendants argue that this case is exempt from the 9 requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a) and (f) because it is an action for 10 review on an administrative record. 11 12 “[J]udicial review in IDEA cases differs substantially from judicial review of other 13 agency actions, in which courts generally are confined to the administrative record and 14 are held to a highly deferential standard of review.” Ojai Unified Sch. Dist. v. Jackson, 15 4 F.3d 1467, 1471 (9th Cir. 1993). The IDEA provides that “the court shall receive the 16 17 records of administrative proceedings, shall hear additional evidence at the request of a 18 party, and, basing its decision on the preponderance of the evidence, shall grant such 19 relief as the court determines is appropriate.” 20 U.S.C. § 1415(i)(2)(C)(ii). “[E]vidence 20 that is non-cumulative, relevant, and otherwise admissible constitutes ‘additional 21 22 evidence’ that the district court ‘shall’ consider pursuant to 20 U.S.C. § 23 1415(i)(2)(C)(ii).” E.M. ex rel. E.M. v. Pajaro Valley Unified Sch. Dist. Office of Admin. 24 Hearings, 652 F.3d 999, 1005 (9th Cir. 2011). Under Rule 26(a)(1)(B)(i), “an action for 25 review on an administrative record” is exempt from initial disclosures and from a Rule 26 27 28 26(f) conference. While judicial review in IDEA cases differs from judicial review of ORDER – 2 1 other agency actions because the Court may consider evidence outside the administrative 2 record, the requirements of Rule 26(a) and (f) are more appropriately applicable to full 3 judicial proceedings and not the type of judicial review contemplated by the IDEA. 4 Therefore, Defendants’ Motion to Modify the Order is GRANTED and the briefing 5 6 schedule as set out in Defendants’ Motion is adopted for this matter. Dkt. # 8. Plaintiff’s Motion 7 B. 8 Plaintiffs’ Motion requests that: 1) the parties hold a 26(f) conference before the 9 10 Court; 2) Plaintiffs’ briefs not be subject to a page limit; 3) Plaintiffs be allowed to try Melissa Madsen and Ron Thiele as co-defendants with Issaquah School District; 4) the 11 12 Court compel Defendants to answer the interrogatories sent to Ron Thiele, Melissa 13 Madsen, and Brian Deagle; 5) the Court rule that Plaintiffs may serve interrogatories on 14 “all of the people who work in ISD that Ron Thiele will turn over” in response to his 15 interrogatories; 6) the Court allow an extension for initial disclosures; 7) Defendants be 16 17 required to email all “motions, correspondence, etc.” to Plaintiffs; and 8) that the Court 18 enter an order allowing Plaintiffs to serve Defendants by email to Defendants’ counsel. 19 Dkt. # 13. 20 The Court grants Defendants’ Motion to Modify, therefore, Plaintiffs’ requests to 21 22 hold a 26(f) conference before the Court and for an extension of time to file initial 23 disclosures are DENIED as moot. Plaintiffs also request that the Court allow them to file 24 briefs without the restriction of a page limit because Plaintiffs are proceeding pro se. 25 While pro se litigants are treated more liberally than litigants with counsel, they must still 26 27 28 follow the same rules of procedure that govern other litigants. King v. Atiyeh, 814 F.2d ORDER – 3 1 565, 567 (9th Cir. 1987) overruled on other grounds by Lacey v. Maricopa Cty., 693 F.3d 2 896 (9th Cir. 2012). Plaintiffs’ pro se status is not a sufficient reason to allow them to 3 file unlimited pages of briefing, therefore, Plaintiffs’ request is DENIED. 4 Plaintiffs’ requests that the Court require Defendants to email all “motions, 5 6 correspondence, etc.” to Plaintiffs and to accept all service through email are also 7 DENIED. Plaintiffs provide no further information or detail why such requests are 8 necessary or require intervention by the Court. As noted by Defendants, Plaintiffs are 9 registered for delivery of pleadings through the U.S. District Court’s Electronic Case 10 11 Filing system and as such, will receive copies of the court filings in this case. Plaintiffs 12 provide no basis for the Court to order that Defendants must email these documents to 13 Plaintiffs directly or that Defendants must accept service by email. 14 Plaintiffs also ask the Court to compel Defendants to respond to interrogatories 15 16 sent to Ron Thiele, Melissa Madsen, and an unnamed party, Brian Deagle. Federal Rule 17 of Civil Procedure 37(a)(1) and Local Rule 37(a)(1) require that a motion to compel 18 discovery include a certification that the movant has in good faith conferred or attempted 19 to confer with the person or party failing to make disclosure or discovery in an effort to 20 21 obtain it without court action. Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(1). W.D. Wash. Local Civ. R. 22 37(a)(1). Plaintiffs provide no such certification in their Motion. As Plaintiffs have 23 failed to comply with the meet-and-confer requirements of Federal Rule of Civil 24 Procedure 37(a)(1) and LCR 37(a)(1), Plaintiff’s motion to compel responses to 25 26 discovery requests sent to named Defendants in this matter is DENIED with leave to 27 refile. To the extent that Plaintiffs’ Motion requests that the Court rule that they may 28 ORDER – 4 1 2 serve interrogatories on any persons that are not a named party to this action, it is DENIED pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 33. 3 4 Finally, Plaintiffs’ request that the Court allow them to try Melissa Madsen and Ron Thiele as co-defendants is the subject of Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. # 10) 5 6 7 and is not yet ripe for consideration. The Court declines to rule on this request at this time. 8 III. CONCLUSION 9 10 11 For the reasons set forth above, the Court GRANTS Defendants’ Motion to Modify (Dkt. # 8) and DENIES Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel (Dkt. # 13). 12 13 14 DATED this 9th day of November, 2017. 15 A 16 17 The Honorable Richard A. Jones United States District Judge 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 ORDER – 5

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