The opinion of the court was delivered by: LINDBERG
Plaintiff, Board of Education of Community High School District No. 218 (School District), has filed a complaint against the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (DMHDD); Joseph A. Spagnolo, in his official capacity as the Illinois State Superintendent of Education, and Anna Patla, in her official capacity as the Director of the DMHDD; and Mr. and Mrs. B., the parents of J.B., alleging violations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. §§ 1415 and 1413(a)(13), the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794, and the School Code of Illinois, 105 ILCS 5/14-8.02(j). Defendants Mr. and Mrs. B. filed a partial motion to dismiss the complaint under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). For the reasons set forth below, the motion to dismiss is granted in part and denied in part.
Congress enacted the IDEA, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq., for the purpose of ensuring
that all children with disabilities have available to them ... a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs, to assure that the rights of children with disabilities and their parents or guardians are protected, to assist States and localities to provide for the education of all children with disabilities, and to assess and assure the effectiveness of efforts to educate children with disabilities.
20 U.S.C. § 1400(c). Congress set up two mechanisms to ensure that children with disabilities would receive the education guaranteed by the statute. First, the statute requires that each state must file a detailed plan for the education of disabled children in order to become eligible for federal financial assistance. 20 U.S.C. § 1413. Second, the state must create procedural safeguards to protect the rights of parents and children enumerated in the act. 20 U.S.C. § 1415(a), (b)(1). Specifically, these procedures must allow parents to "present complaints with respect to any matter relating to the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of the child," 20 U.S.C. § 1415(b)(1)(e), and to present such complaints in "an impartial due process hearing" before a state educational agency, 20 U.S.C. § 1415(b)(2).
The outcome of an administrative due process hearing is subject to review by the federal courts. The IDEA creates an express right of action for "any party aggrieved by the findings and decision" of an administrative hearing officer. 20 U.S.C. § 1415(e)(2). The statute authorizes the courts to review the records of the administrative hearings, to "hear additional evidence at the request of a party," and to "grant such relief as the court determines is appropriate" and is supported by a preponderance of the evidence. Id. The IDEA further allows the court, in its discretion, to award "reasonable attorneys' fees as part of the costs to the parents or guardian of a handicapped child or youth who is the prevailing party." 20 U.S.C § 1415(e)(4)(B).
This action concerns the proper educational placement for J.B., a high school student with severe psychiatric and behavioral disabilities. In December, 1992, J.B.'s parents sought an Individual Care Grant (ICG) from the state Department of Mental Health and Development Disabilities (DMHDD) in order to place their son in a twenty-four hour residential care facility. The DMHDD denied the ICG request on December 23, 1992. J.B.'s parents subsequently appealed this decision, but their appeal was denied by the DMHDD on February 5, 1993. On February 23, 1993, J.B.'s parents unilaterally placed their son in Kidspeace, a twenty-four hour residential care facility located in Pennsylvania.
On January 7, 1993, before J.B.'s parents appealed the initial DMHDD ruling, elementary School District No. 130 convened a multidisciplinary conference and determined that J.B. was not eligible for special education services under either the IDEA or Article 14 of the Illinois School Code. On the following day, J.B.'s parents requested a Level I special education hearing, which was ultimately held in April, 1993. Prior to the hearing, both J.B.'s parents and School District No. 130 filed motions to join the DMHDD in the proceedings, but these motions were denied by the Level I hearing officer. On April 30, 1993, the hearing officer ordered School District No. 130 to fund the entire cost of J.B.'s placement at Kidspeace. School District No. 130 complied with this order through the end of the 1993-1994 school year, at which time J.B. became the programmatic and financial responsibility of plaintiff School District No. 218.
On September 12, 1994, School District No. 218 proposed an Interim Educational Plan (IEP) under which it agreed to fund J.B.'s placement at Kidspeace until it completed a full evaluation of J.B.'s educational needs. Two days later, J.B.'s parents challenged the proposed IEP by requesting another Level I due process hearing. School District No. 218 filed a motion to join both the DMHDD and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) as parties to the Level I hearing, but this motion was denied by the Level I hearing officer.
On February 2, 1994, prior to the resolution of the Level I due process hearing, School District No. 218 convened a second multidisciplinary IEP conference and determined that J.B.'s educational needs could be met by a therapeutic day school rather than a twenty-four hour residential care facility. The School District invited the DMHDD to send a representative to the IEP conference on February 2, 1994, but the DMHDD elected not to participate. J.B.'s parents then challenged the outcome of this IEP conference in its pending Level I due process hearing.
On March 19, 1995, the Level I hearing officer ordered School District No. 218 to continue funding the full cost of J.B.'s placement at Kidspeace. This decision was affirmed by a Level II hearing officer on June 12, 1995. Moreover, the Level II hearing officer affirmed the lower hearing officer's decision to deny the School District's motion to join the Agency Defendants in the hearing.
Plaintiff, School District No. 218, then filed a complaint in this court against the ISBE and the DMHDD (collectively, Agency Defendants); Joseph A. Spagnolo, in his official capacity as the Illinois State Superintendent of Education, and Anna Patla, in her official capacity as the Director of the DMHDD (collectively, Director Defendants); and Mr. and Mrs. B., the parents of J.B. (collectively, Parent Defendants). The substance of the complaint is reviewed in detail below.
On October 27, 1995, Parent Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint. First, they assert that the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over plaintiff's claims against the Direct and Agency Defendants inasmuch as those defendants were not parties in the underlying administrative hearings.
Second, they claim that plaintiff has failed to allege any injury by Agency Defendants. Third, they argue that there is no private right of action to enforce the regulatory provisions of the IDEA. The court addresses these issues in turn.
The court may dismiss a complaint "only if it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of its claim that would entitle it to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80, 78 S. Ct. 99 (1957). In making this determination, the court "must view plaintiff's allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Oswalt v. Godinez, 894 F. Supp. 1181, 1183-84 (N.D. Ill. 1995) (citation omitted). Consequently, "all well-pleaded facts and allegations in the plaintiff's complaint must be ...