OAH Special Education cases come in four types depending on the relief requested and the issues presented.  The simplest type of case is the case where the parties only want a mediation.  This is called a "Mediation Only Case."  

The most common type of case is the case that offers both a mediation and a due process hearing.  This type of case is called a "Mediation and Due Process Hearing Case."  Most of these cases settle at mediation or before the hearing.

The third type of case occurs when the party filing the case only wants a hearing.  This is called a "Hearing Only Case."  

The last type of case is either an "Expedited Case" or a "Dual Case", which is a combination of an expedited case and a regular case. These may be either a hearing only case or a case with both a mediation and a due process hearing. 

More information on each type of cases is provided below.

Either a district or parent may file a Request for Mediation Only with OAH requesting OAH set a mediation date.  Upon receipt, OAH will send to the other party and to the party requesting the mediation a Notice of Mediation advising all parties of the date for mediation.

 

If the other party agrees to attend mediation, then the mediation will be held.  If the other party does not agree then the case will be closed as mediation is voluntary. If the mediation is held, the parties will either reach an agreement or they will not.  Once mediation has been held OAH will close the case.  If the parties did not reach an agreement then the party that originally asked for the mediation is still able to seek a due process hearing with OAH by filing a new action as either a Request for Due Process Hearing and Mediation or as a Request for Due Process Hearing Only. 

 

For further information regarding OAH mediations in general see Mediations.

 

For further information regarding preparing and filing a Request for Mediation Only see How to Request a Mediation.

 

For further information regarding how to file documents with OAH in general see Filing Documents.

 

For further information regarding filing documents using OAH’s Secure e-File Transfer (SFT) see e-File Information.

Occasionally, a party may decide to seek only a Due Process Hearing.  This may occur when the parties have already unsuccessfully tried mediation – such as a mediation only case – or when the parties have reached an impasse on their issues.

When a complaint is filed starting a “Hearing Only” case, OAH will send a Scheduling Order showing the dates OAH has scheduled for a prehearing conference and a due process hearing.  Read the Scheduling Order carefully.  It contains important information. 

Compared to a hearing and mediation case, this is a simplified case, proceeding directly to prehearing conference and then to hearing.

For further information regarding OAH Due Process Hearing and Mediation Cases, and Hearing Only cases, in general see Due Process Hearings.

 

For further information regarding preparing and filing a Request for Due Process Hearing and Mediation, or Request for Hearing Only, see Requesting a Due Process Hearing.

 

For further information regarding how to file documents with OAH in general see Filing and Serving Documents.

 

For further information regarding filing documents using OAH’s Secure e-File Transfer (SFT) see e-File Information.

"Mediation and Hearing" is the most common type of due process request (complaint).

 

When a complaint is filed starting a “Mediation and Hearing” case, OAH will send a Scheduling Order showing the dates OAH has scheduled for a prehearing conference and a due process hearing.  The Scheduling Order does not set a date for mediation but does set a deadline for requesting mediation.  Read the Scheduling Order carefully.  It contains important information. 

 

To set a mediation the parties must agree to a mediation date and submit the request for mediation.  It is a good idea for the parties to include a second date for the mediation as their second choice.  An optional form is provided by OAH to request a mediation date.  This form is called Request to Set Mediation (and Continue Due Process Hearing, if needed).  (See below)  Requesting a mediation date is a motion and must follow motion rules.  Like other motions, a Request to Set Mediation must be filed with OAH no later than three business days before the date of the prehearing conference. Although a mediation date may also be set during the prehearing conference if no mediation date has been previously set, the parties will be expected to provide a good reason (good cause) for the delay in requesting a mediation.

 

If parents or students are not represented by an attorney, OAH staff will contact them within seven days after the Scheduling Order has been sent to offer assistance in calendaring a mediation date. It is a good idea to schedule a mediation before the prehearing conference because getting ready for the prehearing conference and hearing takes a lot of time and work.  If the parties settle at mediation the parties will avoid all the time and work getting ready for the prehearing conference and hearing.   

 

If the parties reach an agreement at mediation, then the case will be closed.  If the parties either do not elect to have a mediation, or do have a mediation but do not reach an agreement, then OAH will hold a prehearing conference where the assigned ALJ will discuss the case with the parties, clarifying the unresolved issues, and confirming the dates of the hearing.  For more information on prehearing conferences go to Prehearing Conferences.  The parties will then proceed to the hearing.  After the hearing the ALJ will issue a decision.

 

See Hearings for further information regarding OAH Due Process Hearings and Mediations for further information on mediations in general.

 

See Preparing for Hearings for further information regarding preparing and filing a Request for Due Process Hearing and Mediation see the instructions attached to each set of forms.  The forms and their instructions may be found on the Forms page.

 

For further information regarding how to file documents with OAH see File and Serve Documents.

 

For further information regarding filing documents using OAH’s Secure e-File Transfer (SFT) system see File or Upload OAH Case Documents.

 

EXPEDITED CASES

 

When a Request for Due Process Hearing and Mediation is filed, OAH will review the complaint and, where appropriate, will identify those issues which should be expedited based on the law.  An issue will be expedited if it involves the discipline of students or if a district wants to change the student’s school because the district is concerned that a student may harm themselves or others.

 

When a complaint is identified as having issues which should be expedited, it will be identified as either a “dual” case or “expedited”.  When a case is identified as “dual” this means that there are both expedited issues and non-expedited issues.  When a case is identified as “expedited” this means that all of the issues require the case to be resolved on a faster timeline.

 

If the case is expedited OAH will send the parties a Scheduling Order setting dates for mediation, prehearing conference, and hearing.  The parties will not need to submit a separate request for mediation.  The parties may attend mediation or elect to not have mediation.  If the parties reach agreement at mediation then the case will be closed.  If the parties do not choose to attend mediation, mediation will be cancelled and the matter will proceed to prehearing conference and hearing, following the same process as set forth above, but on a faster timeline.

 

If the case is identified as “dual” then the Scheduling Order will show the dates for mediation, prehearing conferences and hearing on only the expedited issues.  The Scheduling Order will also show the dates for the prehearing conference, the hearing, and the date by which a request to set a mediation will need to be submitted for all the other issues.  The result will be two prehearing conference dates, two hearing dates, one mediation date and one date by which to submit a request for mediation on the non-expedited issues.  It is possible for one case to result in two decisions when a case is identified as “dual”.

 

For further information regarding OAH Due Process Hearings and Mediation in general see Due Process Hearings.

 

For further information regarding preparing and filing a Request for Due Process Hearing and Mediation see Requesting a Due Process Hearing.

 

For further information regarding how to file documents with OAH in general see Filing and Serving Documents.

 

For further information regarding filing documents using OAH’s Secure e-File Transfer (SFT) see e-File Information.