A U.S. District Court judge dismissed the Andover’s motion to reconsider a previous ruling on the discovery process Friday in Fusion Learning Inc.’s $4 million lawsuit against the Town and Andover Public Schools, as well as the school committee.
The Town filed the reconsideration motion after U.S. District Court Judge Myong J. Joun ordered the district to turn over to turn over copies of applications and approvals for families who wanted to homeschool their children earlier this month. The district’s homeschool policy is identical to the procedure APS uses to approve applications for private schooling.
Fusion is accusing the school committee of violating the Massachusetts Open Meeting law, the Americans With Disabilities, and its First Amendment rights when it denied its applications in May 2018 and April 2019 to open a private school in Andover. The company, which runs schools for students in grades 6-12 who struggle in normal school settings, is seeking $2.6 million for the 10-year lease it signed at 3 Dundee Park Drive in September 2018 and $1.4 million for its build out of the site.
By policy, the Town and APS do not comment on active litigation.
“Granting a motion for reconsideration is ‘an extraordinary remedy which should be used sparingly’,” Joun wrote in Friday’s ruling, quoting case law. “To obtain relief, the movant must demonstrate ‘newly discovered evidence,’ ‘an intervening change in law,’ or a ‘manifest error of law’.”
In it’s motion, Andover argued home school applications apply to a one-to-one learning model differing from private school standards and raised privacy concerns. Joun ruled privacy would not be violated by removing identifying information from the home school applications.
“Even if, as the defendants contend, applications and requirements of home schooling are different than those of private schools, there is significant overlap in the factors that govern the two processes,” Joun wrote in the decision.