United States District Court, D. Kansas
TONI R. DONAHUE, Plaintiff,
KANSAS BOARD OF EDUCATION, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MURGUIA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff Toni Donahue, on a motion to alter or amend
judgment under Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, requests that the court correct “clear
errors” in its order dismissing her complaint for lack
of subject matter jurisdiction. (Doc. 126). Because the court
did not commit clear error in that order and because the
alleged errors were immaterial to the court's decision,
plaintiff's motion is denied.
initially came before this court requesting administrative
review under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
(“IDEA”). Plaintiff had filed a due process
complaint under the IDEA with defendant Olathe School
District USD No. 233 between October 23, 2017 and October 30,
2017. The effective filing date is disputed. On November 7,
2017, pursuant to the IDEA, defendant appointed a Hearing
Officer for plaintiff's case. Two days later, defendant
filed a notice of insufficiency arguing that plaintiff's
complaint omitted information required by statute. On
November 14, 2017, the Hearing Officer dismissed
plaintiff's due process complaint as insufficient.
Plaintiff appealed this dismissal but did not do so within
the time requirements of the IDEA. As a result, the Appeals
Review Officer dismissed plaintiff's appeal as untimely.
appealed that dismissal to this court. However, due to
plaintiff's untimely appeal to the Appeals Review
Officer, plaintiff failed to exhaust her administrative
remedies. The court therefore lacked subject matter
jurisdiction and dismissed the case. Plaintiff now takes
issue with that dismissal, alleging that the order's
factual background contained errors.
Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) provides authority for altering
or amending judgment, but does not identify the standard for
doing so. According to the Tenth Circuit, “Rule 59(e)
relief is available in limited circumstances, including
‘(1) an intervening change in the controlling law, (2)
[when] new evidence previously [was] unavailable, and (3) the
need to correct clear error or prevent manifest
injustice.'” Hayes Family Tr. v. State Farm
Fire & Cas. Co., 845 F.3d 997, 1004 (10th Cir. 2017)
(alterations in original) (quoting Servants of Paraclete
v. Does, 204 F.3d 1005, 1012 (10th Cir. 2000)). Such a
motion “is appropriate where the court has
misapprehended the facts, a party's position, or the
controlling law.” Servants of Paraclete, 204
F.3d at 1012. Misapprehension of facts immaterial to the
court's decision will not support a motion to alter or
amend judgment. See Pyles v. Boeing Co., No.
CIV.A.00-2394-KHV, 2003 WL 403343, at *2 (D. Kan. Feb. 20,
2003) (holding that the factual errors asserted by plaintiff
were not sufficient to support a motion to alter or amend
judgment because “[n]either fact was material, however,
to the Court's decision.”).
argues that the court made three errors in its order
dismissing plaintiff's complaint for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction. The errors alleged by plaintiff are
contained in (or omitted from) the second paragraph of the
Defendant began procedures for a due process hearing under
the IDEA on October 30, 2017. A Hearing Officer was appointed
on November 7, 2017. Defendant responded to plaintiff's
due process complaint that same day and filed both a Notice
of Insufficiency and an amended response on November 9, 2017.
Defendant's Notice of Insufficiency argued that
plaintiff's due process complaint was missing information
required by statute, and that plaintiff's complaint
should be dismissed due to the insufficiency.
three arguments of plaintiff can be summarized as follows.
Plaintiff first argues that it is erroneous to say that
defendant began procedures when she in fact began procedures
by filing a complaint. plaintiff next takes issue with the
filing date given. She maintains that she proved by a
“preponderance of evidence” that she filed the
complaint on October 23, and that it was wrong for the court
to suggest otherwise. Plaintiff relies on the
Twombly standard for this proposition, arguing that
the court should have taken her allegations as true. And
last, plaintiff argues that the final sentence of the
above-identified paragraph suggests defendant's arguments
were improperly accepted as fact by the court. None of these
arguments is availing.
it is of no consequence that the court stated defendant
“began” the due process inquiry. In the preceding
paragraph, the court noted that plaintiff first filed a due
process complaint. The fact that plaintiff initiated the due
process inquiry by filing a complaint was never in dispute.
The second paragraph of the factual background simply notes
that defendant began its own procedures on October 30.
plaintiff did not prove an effective filing date of October
23 for her due process complaint by a preponderance of
evidence. And plaintiff's reliance on Twombly
for the proposition that the court must accept her stated
facts as true is misplaced. Twombly governs the
pleading standard on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, and has no
applicability here. See Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, ...