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Doe v. East Lyme Board of Education

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

January 17, 2019

JOHN DOE, by and through his parent, JANE DOE Plaintiffs,



         Following a bench trial before this Court, Defendant was ordered "to reimburse plaintiffs in the amount of $36, 555.94 plus interest (the amount of which remains to be calculated) and to place $203, 478.10 for compensatory education into an escrow account, as soon as practicable, after all calculations have been finalized, with the costs associated with the escrow account and agent's services divided equally between defendant and plaintiffs." (Judgment [Doc. # 248].) The Court now addresses the additional calculations and interest determinations necessary to implement the judgment.

         I. Background

         Following the Court's Memorandum of Decision on Reimbursement of Plaintiffs' Out-of-Pocket Expenses and Compensatory Education [Doc. # 245], several issues remained to be addressed to implement the judgment for the Plaintiffs. First, the value of the reimbursement and compensatory awards was calculated "based upon reimbursement expenses only through January 11, 2017," but could be adjusted based upon submission of "appropriate additional documentation of reimbursable expenses incurred between then and the date of Judgment." (Id. at 1, n.1.) Upon submission of such documentation, "the amount of compensatory education will be reduced accordingly and the reimbursement calculation concurrently increased." (Id.) Second, following the parties' submission of "their [proposed] interest calculations and methodology," the interest owed to Plaintiffs on the reimbursement award must be determined. (Id. at 43, n.51.)

         II. Discussion

         A. Physical Therapy Payments

         Ms. Doe took John to Lawrence Memorial Hospital for 12.2 hours of physical therapy in 2013 and 2014. (Mem. of Decision at 9.) The Court declined to "award Plaintiffs reimbursement of [those] physical therapy costs because the parties appear to have overlooked the Court's prior determination that those hours were paid by insurance," weighing an affidavit from Ms. Doe which stated that the costs of physical therapy she provided to John were covered by insurance more heavily than Ms. Doe's trial testimony that the 12.2 hours of physical therapy were not paid for by insurance because the affidavit "occurred far closer in time to when the physical therapy services were provided." (Id. at 9 n.9.)

         Plaintiffs contend that "the Court misapprehended the applicability of insurance to Ms. Doe's 2013 and 2014 expenses for physical therapy for John, and that the sum of $2, 340 was mistakenly excluded from the reimbursement order." (Pls.' Mem. Re: Expenses Incurred After Jan. 11, 2017 [Doc. # 249] at 2.) They ask that the Court "restor[e] that amount to the reimbursement total" before adjusting the reimbursement and compensatory awards to account for Ms. Doe's post-January 11, 2017 spending and calculating interest on the reimbursement award. (Id.)

         In support of this argument, Ms. Doe explains that the cost of John's physical therapy from January to May 2012 was covered by insurance, but the $2, 440 cost of John's physical therapy from October 2013 to June 2014 was not covered by insurance. (Sixth Aff. of Jane Doe [Doc. # 250] ¶ 15.) She further explains that "[s]ubsequent to the conclusion of trial in this case," Ms. Doe "located a letter" from the hospital "enclosing a refund in the amount of $136 for overpayment for physical therapy services" rendered in October 2013. (Id.) Therefore, Ms. Doe seeks an additional reimbursement of $2, 304 for the physical therapy she provided to John from October 2013 to June 2014. In support of this request, Ms. Doe attached "billing statements" from the hospital which she "recently requested" in "order to verify the accuracy of [her] claimed reimbursement." (Id; see Ex. G (Billing Statements) to Sixth Aff. of Jane Doe [Doc. # 250-7].) Defendant has not opposed Ms. Doe's request.

         Because Plaintiffs seek a modification of the finding in the Memorandum of Decision that the 12.2 hours of physical therapy were not reimbursable expenses, the Court will treat Ms. Doe's request as a motion for relief from judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b), which provides for such relief for reasons which include, inter alia, "(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; [and] (2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b)." However, no Rule 60(b) motion shall be granted unless "the moving party demonstrates 'exceptional circumstances.'" Ruotolo v. City of New York, 514 F.3d 184, 192 (2d Cir. 2008) (quoting Paddington Partners v. Bouchard, 34 F.3d 1132, 1142 (2d Cir. 1994)). Importantly, Rule 60(b) motions which "seek[] only to relitigate issues already decided" shall not be granted. Whitaker v. New York University, 543 Fed.Appx. 113, 114 (2d Cir. 2013).

         In the absence of any explanation as to why Plaintiffs did not provide the "recently requested" billing statements prior to entry of judgment and given that Ms. Doe's request seeks only to relitigate the question of whether the 12.2 hours of physical therapy at issue were paid by insurance-a question which was already litigated and decided by this Court in its Memorandum of Decision-the Court declines to alter its finding after judgment has entered.

         B. Additional Expenses

         In the Memorandum of Decision and the Judgment, the Court invited Plaintiffs to provide documentation of additional reimbursable expenses incurred between January 11, 2017 and July 19, 2017, the date judgment entered. These additional expenses will be added to the value of the reimbursement award and subtracted from the value of the compensatory education award.

         Ms. Doe submitted documentation of an additional $11, 412.08 of reimbursable expenses for "Covered Services" incurred between January 11 and July 19, 2017. (See Pls.' Mem. Re: Expenses Incurred at 2.) Reimbursable "[c]overed services, i.e. the services listed in the 2008-2009 amended IEP, consist of three hours per week of speech-language therapy ("S/L"), five hours per week of Orton-Gillingham reading instruction ("O/G"), and an hour and a half per week of occupational/physical therapy ("OT/PT"). Based on the Second Circuit's opinion, extended school year (summer) services are not included." (Mem. of Decision at 8 n.7 (internal citations omitted).) Therefore, Ms. Doe submitted documentation of expenses incurred for provision of those "covered services" only through June 16, 2017, the last day of the 2016-17 school year in the East Lyme Public Schools. (Sixth Aff. at 1-2.) Ms. Doe provided invoices, copies of checks, and a ...

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