Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Adam C, et al v. Scranton School District

September 13, 2011

ADAM C, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
SCRANTON SCHOOL DISTRICT, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: (judge Caputo)

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the Court are four consolidated motions for reconsideration, (Docs. 176, 178, 180, 181), arguing reconsideration of the Court's Opinion and Order adopting in part and rejecting in part the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation. (Doc. 174). For the reasons explained below, all four motions for consideration will be denied.

I. Background

During the time period relevant to this action, Adam C. was a minor student who resided at home within the Scranton School District (SSD). Adam has an autism spectrum disorder and received special education services. Adam's difficulties led to his placement at Lourdesmont School, a private school with a partial-hospitalization program.*fn1

The record reflects that fights were not at all uncommon at Lourdesmont. Deposition testimony from staff suggested that "kids were always getting hurt," (Doc. 144-8 at 10), and that "there were fights every day," (Doc. 144-3 at 22). The police were frequently called to Lourdesmont. (Gerrity Aff; Doc. 144-3 at 1, 2). Despite the frequency of fights, many of the staff were not trained in behavior management techniques or how to intervene in disputes.

During his time at Lourdesmont, Adam was involved in approximately twenty fights with other children. On April 27, 2005, he became involved in a series of verbal exchanges with another student who had a history of behavior problems. The staff in the room could not redirect them, and the confrontation escalated to threats. Finally, the other child punched Adam, and both students exchanged blows.

Following the fight, Adam's mother was called to pick him up. She noticed that one side of his face was swollen, and she took him to the emergency room. Eventually, Adam suffered an aneurism, which he claims arose from the incident. Other injuries included headaches, eye damage, and a decrease in cognitive functioning.

On March 30, 2007, Adam and his parents filed this action against Scranton School District (SSD), the Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit (NEIU), and Lourdesmont. Adam brought statutory claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. He also brought common law claims of loss of consortium, breach of contract, and negligence. The three defendants each moved for summary judgment. These motions were referred to Magistrate Judge Prince for a report and recommendation. On December 16, 2010, the Magistrate Judge recommended granting summary judgment in Defendants' favor on all claims except the Plaintiffs' negligence claim against Lourdesmont. The Magistrate Judge also recommended permitting the negligence claim to go forward, but recommended granting Lourdesmont partial immunity so that liability must be predicated on gross negligence.

On March 17, 2011 the Court adopted in part and rejected in part the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation.

In my Opinion and Order, I adopted: (1) the recommendation that Defendants' motions for summary judgment on the loss of consortium claim be granted; (2) the recommendation that defendants' motions for summary judgment on the breach of contract claim be granted; (3) the recommendation that Lourdesmont's Motion for Summary Judgment on the negligence claim be denied; and (4) the recommendation that Lourdesmont's Motion for Summary Judgment on the American's with Disabilities Act (ADA) claim be granted.

I rejected the: (1) recommendation that Lourdesmont be granted partial immunity; (2) the recommendation that all Defendants' motions for summary judgment on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act claim be granted; and (3) the recommendation that SSD and NEIU's claims for summary judgment on the ADA claim be granted.

On the basis of the Court's Opinion and Order all parties have filed motions for reconsideration. For the reasons below all four motions to reconsider will be denied.

II. Discussion

A. Legal Standard for a Motion for Reconsideration

A motion for reconsideration is governed by Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which allows a party to move to alter or amend a judgment within twenty-eight days of entry. FED. R. CIV. P. 59(e). "The purpose of a motion for reconsideration is to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence." Harsco Corp. v. Zlotnicki, 779 F.2d 906, 909 (3d Cir.1985) (citation omitted). A judgment may be altered or amended if the party seeking reconsideration establishes at least one of the following grounds: "(1) an intervening change in controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence that was not available when the court granted the motion for summary judgment; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice." Max's Seafood Cafe, by Lou-Ann, Inc., v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir.1999). "A motion for reconsideration is not to be used as a means to reargue matters already argued and disposed of or as an attempt to relitigate a point of disagreement between the Court and the litigant." Ogden v. Keystone Residence, 226 F.Supp.2d 588, 606 (M.D. Pa.2002). "[R]econsideration motions may not be used to raise new arguments or present evidence that could have been raised prior to the entry of judgment." Hill v. Tammac Corp., Civ. A. No. 05-1148, 2006 WL 529044, at *2 (M.D. Pa. Mar. 3, 2006). Lastly, the reconsideration of a judgment is an extraordinary remedy, and such motions should be granted sparingly. D'Angio v. Borough of Nescopeck, 56 F.Supp.2d 502, 504 (M.D. Pa.1999).

B. Intentional Discrimination

Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration argues that intentional discrimination is not required to obtain damages under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act*fn2 or the ADA.*fn3 (Doc. 176). In support of this assertion, Plaintiff cites Ridgewood Board of Education v. N.E., 172 F3d 238, 253 (3d Cir. 1999), which states that "a plaintiff need not prove that defendants' discrimination was intentional."

Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration fails because it does not meet the legal standard required for it to be granted. As stated above, to succeed on a motion for reconsideration, the moving party must show: (1) a change in the law; (2) a change in the facts (new evidence); or (3) clear error on the part of the Court. There has been no change in the law or fact, and the Court's determination that intentional discrimination is necessary for compensatory damages was not in clear error. (Doc. 174 at 9 n.7). Kaitlin C. v. Cheltenham Township School District, No. 07-2930, 2010 WL 786530, offers strong support for my determination. In a comprehensive analysis of the above quote from Ridgewood, the Kaitlin C. court determined that "[t]here is no indication that the court's statement in Ridgewood was intended to apply to ยง 504 claims seeking compensatory damages. The Rehabilitation Act's remedies ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.