United States District Court, D. Colorado
BRAYDON K., by and through his parents and next friends, MARK K. and MICHELLE K., Plaintiffs,
DOUGLAS COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT RE-1, Defendant.
A. BRIMMER CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Unopposed
Motion to Consolidate [Docket No. 20], wherein defendant
Douglas County School District RE-1 (“the
District”) requests an order consolidating this case
with Civil Action No. 19-cv-01694-WJM-SKC, pending in this
District before Judge William J. Martinez.
case pending before Judge Martínez, the District seeks
judicial review of an administrative law judge's decision
under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
(“IDEA”), 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq.,
in which the ALJ determined that plaintiffs are entitled to
financial reimbursement from the District for costs
associated with plaintiff Braydon K.'s placement at a
residential educational facility. Docket No. 10 at 4, ¶
5; see also Douglas Cty. Sch. Dist. v. B.K.,
19-cv-01694-WJM-SKC, Docket No. 1. In the case pending before
the Court, plaintiffs have filed a complaint for
attorney's fees and costs under 20 U.S.C. §
1415(i)(3)(B) as the prevailing party at the underlying
administrative hearing that is now the subject of the
District's administrative appeal.
No. 1 at 1, ¶ 3.
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits consolidation
when cases “involve a common question of law or
fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 42(a). The decision whether to
consolidate actions involving common questions of law or fact
is committed to the sound discretion of the district court.
Shump v. Balka, 574 F.2d 1341, 1344 (10th Cir.
1978). The purpose of Rule 42(a) is “to give the court
broad discretion to decide how cases on its docket are to be
tried so that the business of the court may be dispatched
with expedition and economy while providing justice to the
parties.” Breaux v. American Family Mut. Ins.
Co., 220 F.R.D. 366, 367 (D. Colo. 2004) (quoting 9 C.
Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice & Procedure
§ 2381 at 427 (2d ed. 1995)). Therefore, the Court
considers both judicial economy and fairness to the parties
in exercising its discretion under Rule 42(a). See Harris
v. Illinois-California Express, Inc., 687 F.2d 1361,
1368 (10th Cir. 1982).
District asserts that these cases involve common questions of
law and fact. Docket No. 20 at 3, ¶ 16. More
specifically, the District contends that “both cases
relate to the parties' underlying administrative action,
the decision and relief resulting from that action, the
record created therein, and the ultimate resolution of the
merits of the parties' controversy.” Id.
The Court agrees that consolidation is warranted. Because
these cases involve the same underlying facts and the same
administrative decision, it is in the interest of judicial
economy and efficiency to have these cases heard by the same
judge. Cf. Brown v. Bd. of Ed. of Hobbs Public
Schs., 2003 WL 27384961, at *5 (D.N.M. Aug. 19, 2003)
(consolidating plaintiff's claim for attorney's fees
under IDEA with appeal by same plaintiff of decision from
administrative review officer that overturned portions of the
administrative decision that were favorable to plaintiff);
see also Braden O. v. West Chester Area Sch. Dist.,
2017 WL 2869397 (E.D. Pa. July 5, 2017) (ruling on school
district's administrative appeal that had been
consolidated with parents' action to recover
attorney's fees from administrative litigation); see
also Blount County Bd. of Ed. v. Bowens, 929 F.Supp.2d
1199 (N.D. Ala. Feb. 28, 2013) (same). The unopposed motion
to consolidate will be granted.
that Defendant's Unopposed Motion to Consolidate [Docket
No. 20] is GRANTED. It is further
that, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 42(a) and D.C.COLO.LCivR 42.1,
Civil Action Nos. 19-cv-01273-PAB-KLM and 19-cv-01694-WJM-SKC
shall be consolidated. It is further
that, pursuant to D.C.COLO.LCivR 42.1, Civil Action No.
19-cv-01694 shall be assigned to Chief Judge Philip A.
Brimmer. It is further
that Civil Action No. 19-cv-01694 shall hereafter be referred
to the magistrate judge assigned to the lowest numbered case,
Magistrate Judge Kristen L. Mix. It is further
that all pleadings shall be filed in this case only and shall