United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
A.C., a minor, by JERRY C. and JENNIFER C., his parents, Plaintiffs
SCRANTON SCHOOL DISTRICT and SALISBURY BEHAVIORAL, HEALTH, INC., Defendants
MALACHY E. MANNION United States District Judge.
Jerry C. and Jennifer C., individually and on behalf of their
minor son A.C., filed this action alleging that A.C. was
discriminated against and denied his right to a free
appropriate public education (“FAPE”) by
defendant Scranton School District (“SSD”) due to
his disabilities in violation of federal law, including the
Americans with Disabilities Act and §504 of the
Rehabilitation Act. Plaintiffs also raised federal claims as
well as state law claims against New Story, a private school
which provides special education to students, owned and
operated by defendant Salisbury Behavioral Health, Inc.,
(collectively “New Story”). Plaintiffs alleged
that New Story denied A.C.'s right to FAPE and subjected
him to an inappropriate standard of care as well as needless
use of physical restraints.
in this case are plaintiffs' RA and ADA claims, Counts I
& II, against SSD which are based on allegations occurring
after April 8, 2013. Also, plaintiffs' ADA and RA claims
against New Story contained in Counts III and IV, as well as
plaintiffs' state law claims contained in Counts V and VI
of the complaint remain. (Doc. 40, Doc. 41).
pending before the court is SSD's motion to dismiss,
(Doc. 49), the crossclaims New Story asserted
against it alleging that SSD is solely liable to plaintiffs
for any damages they may recover and, is liable over or
jointly and severally liable with New Story under
indemnification and contribution. (Doc. 47 at 25-26). For the
following reasons, SSD's motion to dismiss will be
the complete factual background of this case was detailed in
the court's June 13, 2016 memorandum, (Doc. 40),
it will not be fully repeated herein. Suffice it to say that
plaintiffs' complaint, (Doc. 1), alleges that
A.C. is a ten year old disabled child with special needs who
has been diagnosed with Mixed Development Disorder, Autistic
Spectrum Disorder, Mild Mental Retardation, ADHD and Mixed
Receptive and Expressive Language Disorder. Based on his
disabilities, A.C. is a student eligible for special
education services as provided by the Individuals with
Disabilities Educations Act (“IDEA”). A.C.
resides within SSD and is a student of SSD. During the time
that A.C. has been a student of SSD, Jennifer C. made
repeated efforts to work with the administration for the
proper placement and appropriate education of her son. She
complained to SSD about the repeated use of physical
restraints on A.C. by SSD staff. Subsequently, SSD
transferred A.C. to New Story, since it was licensed and
approved to provide special education for elementary and
secondary students with mental and physical disabilities. SSD
contracts with New Story School to provide education to
district students at New Story's facility in Throop,
Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. According to the complaint,
New Story is a private academic school which is licensed and
approved to provide special education for elementary and
secondary students with various physical and mental
impairments. Jennifer C. agreed to A.C.'s transfer by SSD
to New Story. Plaintiffs allege that after A.C. was placed at
New Story, he was improperly treated, including excessive use
of physical restraints on numerous occasions, and that he did
not receive the appropriate and required care. This treatment
allegedly affected A.C.'s physical and emotional well
being and hindered his educational progress. Plaintiffs'
claim that the treatment at New Story deprived A.C. of his
right to a FAPE and subjected him to an inappropriate
standard of care for a child with his needs and disabilities.
February 6, 2014, plaintiffs advised SSD that they wanted
A.C. placed in an appropriate setting back within the
district, and A.C. was removed from New Story.
plaintiffs commenced this action on November 17, 2015, (Doc.
1), asserting federal claims against both SSD and
New Story under the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§12131,
et seq., (Counts I & III, respectively), and under
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
(“RA”), 29 U.S.C. §794, (Counts II
& IV, respectively). The plaintiffs also raise state law
claims for negligence and intentional infliction of emotional
distress (“IIED”) against New Story, (Counts V &
VI). As relief against SSD and New Story regarding their
federal claims, plaintiffs request compensatory damages and
attorneys' fees. Plaintiffs request compensatory damages,
punitive damages and attorneys' fees against New Story
with respect to their state law claims.
January 22, 2016, SSD filed a motion to dismiss the
plaintiffs' complaint with respect to both of their
federal claims under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), and in the
alternative a motion to strike allegations in the complaint
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f) that are time barred. (Doc. 17, Doc.
28, Doc. 33).
February 2, 2016, New Story filed a motion to dismiss the
plaintiffs' complaint with respect to all of their claims
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). (Doc. 29, Doc. 34).
13, 2016, the court issued a memorandum, (Doc. 40),
and order, (Doc. 41), denying SSD's motion to
dismiss, (Doc. 13), with respect to plaintiffs'
RA and ADA claims, (Counts I & II), which are based on
allegations occurring after April 8, 2013. SSD's motion
to dismiss was granted to the extent that plaintiffs'
allegations pre-dating April 8, 2013 cannot be the basis for
their federal claims since they are time barred. SSD's
motion to strike plaintiffs' allegations pre-dating April
8, 2013 was denied. New Story's motion to dismiss, (Doc.
14), all of plaintiffs' claims against it was
27, 2016, SSD filed its answer to plaintiffs' complaint
with affirmative defenses. (Doc. 46). On July 15, 2016, New
Story filed its answer to plaintiffs' complaint with
affirmative defenses as well as crossclaims against
(Doc. 47). In its crossclaims, New Story alleges that if the
averments in plaintiffs' complaint are established and
plaintiffs prevail on their claims, “[SSD] is solely
liable, liable over or jointly and severally liable, with New
Story under the Doctrine[s] of Indemnification and
Contribution.” New Story also alleges that if
plaintiffs recover damages, “then said damages are the
result of the acts or omissions of [SSD], and not the acts or
omission of New Story.” (Id. at 25-26).
court's jurisdiction over the plaintiffs' federal
claims is based on 20 U.S.C. §1415(i)(2) and 28 U.S.C.
§1331. The court's pendent jurisdiction over the