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A.A. v. Walled Lake Consolidated Schools

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

April 16, 2018

A.A. by and through his Parents and Next Friends, E.A. and M.A., Plaintiff,
v.
Walled Lake Consolidated Schools, Defendant.

          OPINION & ORDER DENYING DISTRICT'S MOTION TO COMPEL EXAMINATION OF STUDENT AND GRANTING, IN PART, PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO EXCLUDE THE DISTRICT'S EXPERTS

          Sean F. Cox, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff A.A. (“the Student”), by and through his Parents and Next Friends, E.A. and M.A. (“the Parents”) filed this action against Defendant Walled Lake Consolidated Schools (the “District”). After having litigated a dispute over the proper placement of the Student in the Defendant school district before an administrative law judge, Plaintiff filed this action against the District under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1401 et seq. (“the IDEA”). The District wants the Student placed in a classroom for cognitively impaired students at the District's Meadowbrook Elementary School (a “CI Classroom”), while the Student's Parents disagree and want him placed in a general education classroom at the District's Keith Elementary School.

         The matter is before the Court as to two discovery motions: 1) the District's motion seeking to compel a mental and physical examination of the Student; and 2) Plaintiff's Motion to Exclude the Districts' experts and their reports. Both motions were heard on April 5, 2017. As explained below, the Court shall DENY the District's motion seeking to compel an examination of the Student and shall GRANT Plaintiff's Motion to Exclude the District's Experts and their Reports, to the extent that the Court shall strike the “expert reports” provided by the District in this matter and shall limit the testimony that may be offered by the District's experts to: 1) the facts and opinions upon which they testified to during the administrative hearing; and 2) the facts and opinions upon which they testified to during their depositions in this case.

         BACKGROUND

         The Student and his parents live within the District's geographical boundaries. The Student is a child with Down syndrome and Speech Apraxia.

         In May of 2015, the District addressed the Student's placement and services for the 2015-2016 school year. The District's May 2015 IEP placed the Student in a CI classroom for cognitively impaired students at the District's Meadowbrook Elementary School. The Student's Parents disagreed with that IEP and wanted the Student to be placed in a general education classroom at the District's Keith Elementary School.

         On April 1, 2016, the District filed for a due process hearing, to resolve the dispute over the Student's placement. The District's due process complaint was forwarded to the Michigan Administrative Hearing System for hearing and was assigned to Administrative Law Judge Kandra Robbins.

         On September 2, 2016, the ALJ issued her “Decision And Order” (D.E. No. 5-2) wherein she concluded in the District's favor that the Student should be educated in the CI Classroom at Meadowbrook.

         On December 1, 2016, Plaintiff filed this action in federal court. The District filed a Motion to Dismiss, which this Court denied in an Opinion & Order on June 15, 2016.

         The Second Scheduling Order, issued in this matter on December 14, 2017, provides that: 1) witness lists were due February 1, 2018; 2) Discovery closes March 1, 2018, and any discovery motions are due two weeks before that (February 15, 2018); 3) dispositive motions are due April 2, 2018; and 4) final pretrial conference is August 21, 2018. (D.E. No. 74).

         On February 1, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Witness List and “Designation of Experts and Disclosure of Expert Testimony” pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(2). It named two experts: 1) Dr. Carol Quick, who had previously testified at the administrative hearing; and 2) Dr. Kathleen Whitbread, Ph.D. Plaintiff provided a detailed report from Dr. Whitbread, that explains what her opinions are and why she holds them. (D.E. Nos. 76 & 77). As to Dr. Quick, Plaintiff advised the District that “[h]er testimony is set forth in the due process hearing.” (D.E. No. 78 at Pg ID 2829).

         On February 1, 2018, the District filed its Witness List (D.E. No. 77), wherein it identified two “expert witnesses, ” that it may call at trial: 1) Aubry Dodge; and 2) Dr. Laurie Lundblad. (D.E. No. 77 at Pg ID 2826-27).

         On February 2, 2018, the District filed “Expert Reports” from Dr. Laurie Lundblad and Aubry Dodge, without the signatures of either of the experts. The District later re-filed those same reports on February 8th and 12th, with the signatures of those persons. (D.E. Nos. 81 & 82).

         ANALYSIS

         I. The District's Motion To Compel Mental And Physical ...


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