B.S., by and through his Parents and Natural Guardians, K.S. and M.S., Plaintiff - Appellant
Anoka Hennepin Public Schools, ISD No. 11; Tom Heidemann, Chair of Anoka Hennepin Board of Education; Minnesota Department of Education; Brenda Cassellius, Commissioner, in her individual and representative capacity; Office of Administrative Hearings; Tammy Pust, Chief Administrative Law Judge in her individual and representative capacity, Defendants - Appellees
Submitted, March 10, 2015
Appeal from United States District Court for the District of Minnesota - Minneapolis.
For B.S., by and through his Parents and Natural Guardians, K.S. and M.S., Plaintiff - Appellant: Margaret O'Sullivan Kane, Kane Education Law, LLC, Saint Paul, MN.
For Anoka Hennepin Public Schools, ISD No. 11, Tom Heidemann, Chair of Anoka Hennepin Board of Education, Defendants - Appellees: Charles Earl Long, Timothy R. Palmatier, Kennedy & Graven, Minneapolis, MN.
For Minnesota Department of Education, Brenda Cassellius, Commissioner, in her individual and representative capacity, Office of Administrative Hearings, Tammy Pust, Chief Administrative Law Judge in her individual and representative capacity, Defendants - Appellees: Martha J. Casserly, Assistant Attorney General, Attorney General's Office, Education Division, Saint Paul, MN.
Before WOLLMAN, BEAM, and LOKEN, Circuit Judges.
BEAM, Circuit Judge.
K.S. and M.S., parents of B.S., appeal the district court's denial of their petition for review in an Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) case against the Anoka Hennepin Public Schools, Independent School District Number 11 (the district), Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), and various employees of the MDE. We affirm.
B.S. was, at the time of the hearing, a sixteen-year-old identified with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and has had an individualized education program (IEP) with the district. A dispute arose between the parents and the school district over the IEP, and the parents requested a due process hearing pursuant to 20 U.S.C. § 1415 in May 2013. During a pretrial conference, B.S.'s counsel indicated that she usually needed a day and a half to present evidence, and counsel for the school district indicated one day would be sufficient. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) accordingly allotted nine hours of hearing time (eighteen hours total, divided evenly) for each party to present the testimony and cross-examination of its witnesses, and counsel were directed to plan their hearing presentations accordingly.
The due process hearing was held August 6, 7, and 8, 2013. Immediately prior to the start of the hearing the parties disclosed that they had settled several issues, including a claim for prospective relief, as the parties had already agreed to a new IEP for B.S. for the upcoming school year. Thus, the only claim remaining at that point was whether B.S. was entitled to compensatory education services for the alleged past denial of a free appropriate
public education (FAPE) by the school. On the first day of the hearing, counsel for B.S. spent approximately five hours examining the special-education administrator. At one point during this first day of testimony, counsel for the district objected, noting that B.S.'s counsel had already used almost half of the allotted nine hours of time. B.S.'s nine hours of time expired on the next day, while examining a second witness, B.S.'s special-education case manager. In the middle of B.S.'s examination of this second witness, the ALJ reminded B.S.'s counsel that the nine-hour time limit set at the pretrial conference would be enforced, and offered counsel the opportunity to reorder the presentation of evidence accordingly. Counsel for B.S. objected to the enforcement of the time limits and continued on with the lengthy examination of the special-education case manager. B.S's time expired while examining the special-education case manager, and B.S. was not allowed to question witnesses further or cross-examine the district's witnesses. The ALJ offered to let B.S. make an offer of proof by calling additional witnesses, including B.S.'s ...