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Terry v. Richland School District Two

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division

June 19, 2019

Lawrence Terry, Plaintiff,
Richland School District Two; Katinia Davis; Kappy Steck; Roger Wiley; Maranda Hayward; Benjamin Jackson; Shawn Williams; Amy Carpenter; Aneshia Seabrook; Ana Perez; Name Unknown Aide; Lisa Richardson, Defendants.



         I. Introduction

         The pro se Plaintiff, Lawrence Terry, filed this action for violations of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (“IDEA”), 20 U.S.C. §§ 1400, et seq., and state law tort claims. Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. On September 13, 2018, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss and Strike Improperly Named Defendants. (ECF No. 57). Pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), Plaintiff was advised of the dismissal procedure and the possible consequences if he failed to adequately respond to the Defendant's Motion. (ECF No. 60). On September 17, 2018, Plaintiff responded. (ECF No. 64). In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2), D.S.C., the case was referred to the Magistrate Judge.

         After reviewing the pleadings, the Magistrate Judge assigned to this action[1] prepared a thorough Report and Recommendation (“Report”) and opines that Plaintiff's Fourth Amended Complaint should be dismissed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and pursuant to FRCP Rule 12(b)(6), and also that supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state law claims be denied. (ECF No. 71). The Report sets forth, in detail, the relevant facts and standards of law on this matter, and this Court incorporates those facts and standards without a recitation. Plaintiff filed objections to the Report on October 25, 2018. (ECF No. 74). Thereafter, Defendants filed a Reply to Plaintiff's Objections. (ECF No. 75). On June 12, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion for a Status Conference and/or Rule on Pending Motions. (ECF No. 76). Thus, this matter is ripe for review.

         The Court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the Report to which specific objections are made, and the Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, or recommit the matter to the Magistrate Judge with instructions. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). In the absence of specific objections to portions of the Report of the Magistrate, this Court is not required to give an explanation for adopting the recommendation. See Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199 (4th Cir. 1983). Furthermore, “general and conclusory objections that do not direct the court to a specific error in the Magistrate's proposed findings and recommendations” are not specific objections and do no warrant de novo review. Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 48 (4th Cir. 1982).

         II. Background

         Plaintiff was previously employed by Defendant Richland School District Two (“the School District”) around November of 2014. In August 2016, Plaintiff's minor son, “J.T., ” enrolled as a student in the School District. In January 2017, J.T. was diagnosed with multiple learning disabilities, so the School District developed an Individual Education Plan (“IEP”) and Behavior Intervention Plan (“BIP”). According to Plaintiff, Defendants failed to properly communicate with Plaintiff about J.T.'s IEP and BIP and also failed to provide J.T. accommodations for his disabilities.

         At some point, Plaintiff filed an administrative claim with the South Carolina Department of Education regarding J.T.'s IEP or BIP, which resulted in a “due process hearing” in front of a hearing officer. Plaintiff claims the state hearing officer found that he was not entitled to a second due process hearing on new claims because the “stay put” was over. Specifically, Plaintiff asserts: “I do not agree with the SLHO findings that I did have the right to a second hearing on new claims but that she then stated it was moot based on ‘stay put' being over.” (ECF No. 26 p. 3).

         III. Discussion

         The Magistrate Judge suggests: “In light of Plaintiff's failure to articulate a claim for relief after four opportunities to amend his pleading, the court finds pursuant to its authority under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 that Plaintiff fails to state a plausible IDEA claim upon which relief can be granted, and dismissal of the claim is appropriate pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6).” (ECF No. 71 p. 4).

         In construing the objections in light most favorable to Plaintiff, he makes two objections to the Report. First, Plaintiff disagrees with the Magistrates' finding that Plaintiff's Fourth Amended Complaint should be dismissed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Plaintiff argues that under Part B of the IDEA CFR 300.516, any party who does not agree with the findings and decision in the state-level review has to bring a civil action in district court, so he did. Plaintiff then states:

Under section 34 CFR 300.513 titled “Separate request for a due process hearing” clearly states, “Nothing in the procedural safeguards section of the Federal regulations under Part B of IDEA (34 CFR 300.500 through 300.536) can be interpreted to prevent you filing a separate due process complaint on an issue separate from a due process complaint already filed.”

(ECF No. 74 p. 2).

         Plaintiff argues that he filed this in the district court “[b]ased on both of those safeguards listed in the Parent Handbook. . . .” Plaintiff then explains that he “wrote specific details of the events that involved Part B of the ...

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