A. v. Hartford Board of Education
A court can find that an amended complaint is filed timely, if a motion to amend the complaint is filed prior to the expiration of a 45-day statute of limitations that begins when an administrative hearing officer mails, or the parties receive personal delivery of, a final decision. Allegedly, the minor plaintiff, A., resides in New Britain and is enrolled at the Classical Magnet School in Hartford. The plaintiff and his parents alleged that the plaintiff, who suffers from autism, was not provided with a free, appropriate public education. They requested help from a behavioral analyst to coordinate in-home courses. An administrative hearing officer concluded that the minor plaintiff's education was not appropriate and that the magnet school and the New Britain Board of Education violated the plaintiffs' procedural rights under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act. The hearing officer ordered the New Britain Board of Education to pay for an independent education evaluation. The hearing officer denied the plaintiffs' request for assistance from a behavioral analyst and held that the minor plaintiff was entitled to 180 hours of speech therapy. The plaintiffs requested attorneys' fees and costs, as prevailing parties, and appealed the ruling that they were not entitled to assistance from a behavioral analyst. The board moved to dismiss and argued the plaintiffs did not receive permission to file an amended complaint until Sept. 21, 2011, which was five days after the statute of limitations expired. The plaintiffs were required to appeal within 45 days after the mailing or personal delivery of the final decision, pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes §§10-76h(d)(4) and 4-183. The administrative hearing officer's decision was issued Aug. 2, 2011. The plaintiffs' Sept. 15, 2011, request to amend their complaint was filed timely, within 44 days. "Plaintiffs ought not to be held responsible," wrote the District Court, "for the fact that such approval was not forthcoming until Sept. 21, 2011, or 5 days after a 45-day statute of limitations window had closed." The plaintiffs filed the motion to amend prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations, and the amended complaint was filed timely.