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Rushing v. Shelby County School System

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division

August 7, 2017

TAMMY RUSHING, Plaintiff,
v.
SHELBY COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM, Defendant.

          ORDER

          SAMUEL H. MAYS, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court are five motions. First, on September 8, 2016, Defendant Shelby County School System[1] (“SCSS”) filed a motion to dismiss in part the Complaint filed by Plaintiff Tammy Rushing (the “Partial Motion to Dismiss”). (Mot. to Dismiss Pl.'s Title VII Claim and Mem. of Law in Supp. of Def.'s Partial Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 9.) On December 9, 2016, Rushing filed a response to the Partial Motion to Dismiss (the “Response to Partial Motion to Dismiss”). (Pl.'s Resp. to Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss Pl.'s Title VII Claim, ECF No. 24.) SCSS has not filed a reply in support of the Partial Motion to Dismiss, and the time to do so has passed. L.R. 12.1(c).

         Second, on April 4, 2017, Rushing filed a motion seeking to reset or extend all existing case deadlines (the “Deadline-Reset Motion”). (Pl.'s Mot. to Reset/Extend All Deadlines, Mem. in Supp., and Certificate of Consultation, ECF No. 25.) SCSS filed a response to the Deadline-Reset Motion (the “Deadline-Reset Response”) on April 17, 2017. (Def. Shelby Cty. Bd. of Educ.'s Resp. in Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot to Reset/Extend All Deadlines, ECF No. 31.) Rushing filed a reply in support of the Deadline-Reset Motion (the “Deadline-Reset Reply”) on May 1, 2017. (Pl.'s Reply to Def.'s Resp. in Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. to Reset/Extend All Deadlines, ECF No. 39.)

         Third, on April 13, 2017, Rushing filed a motion requesting a temporary restraining order (the “TRO Motion”). (Pl.'s Mot. for TRO, Mem. in Supp., and Cert. of Consultation, ECF No. 27.) The Court referred the TRO Motion to Magistrate Judge Charmiane Claxton on April 14, 2017. (Order of Reference, ECF No. 28 (“TRO Order of Reference”).) SCSS filed a response to the TRO Motion (the “TRO Response”) on April 18, 2017. (Def. Shelby Cty. Bd. of Educ.'s Resp. in Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. for TRO, ECF No. 32.) Magistrate Judge Claxton held a hearing on the TRO Motion on April 18, 2017. (See, e.g., Minute Entry, ECF No. 34 (“TRO Hr'g Minutes”).) On May 12, 2017, Magistrate Judge Clax-ton issued a report and recommendation addressing the TRO Motion (the “Report”). (R. & R., ECF No. 42.) Neither party has filed objections to the Report, and the time to do so has passed. (See, e.g., Id. at 7 (setting deadline for objections).)

         Fourth, on May 11, 2017, Rushing filed a motion for leave to file an amended complaint. (Pl.'s Mot. for Leave to File Proposed Am. Compl., ECF No. 40 (“Mot. for Leave”); see also Pl.'s Proposed Am. Compl., ECF No. 40-1 (“Proposed Am. Compl.”).) On May 17, 2017, Rushing filed a notice that she was striking the Motion for Leave. (Notice Striking Mot. for Leave to Amend, ECF No. 43 (“Amendment-Mot. Notice”).) SCSS has not filed a response to the Motion to Leave, and the time to do so has passed. L.R. 7.2(a)(2).

         Fifth, on June 9, 2017, Rushing filed a motion (the “Consolidation Motion”) to consolidate this action with a second action filed in this Court, Case No. 2:17-cv-02331. (Pl.'s Mot. for Consolidation, Mem. in Supp., and Certificate of Consultation, ECF No. 48.) SCSS filed a response to the Consolidation Motion (the “Consolidation Response”) on June 23, 2017. (Def. Shelby Cty. Sch. Sys.'s Resp. to Pl.'s Mot. for Consolidation, ECF No. 54.)

         For the following reasons, the Motion for Leave is STRICKEN, the Consolidation Motion is GRANTED, the Motion to Dismiss is DENIED as moot, the Deadline-Reset Motion is DENIED as moot, the Report is ADOPTED, and the TRO Motion is DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Rushing filed the Complaint on August 12, 2016. The Complaint makes numerous allegations about Rushing's employment with SCSS during the 2015-16 school year, when Rushing worked at Treadwell Middle School in Memphis. (See generally Compl. ¶¶ 9- 41.)

         The Complaint asserts three causes of action. (Id. ¶¶ 42- 52.) Count One alleges that SCSS “intentionally[, ] willfully and knowingly discriminated against [Rushing] . . . based upon unlawful disability discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 [(“ADA”)] . . . and in violation of Title VII . . . .” (Id. ¶ 43.) Count Two asserts that Rushing has a cause of action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on a deprivation of her Fourteenth Amendment due-process rights. (Id. ¶ 47.) Count Three asserts that SCSS is liable “for retaliatory discharge and intentional employment discrimination” pursuant to section 50-1-304 of the Tennessee Code. (Id. ¶ 49.)

         SCSS filed the Partial Motion to Dismiss on September 8, 2016. SCSS filed its answer to the Complaint the same day. (Answer and Affirmative Defenses, ECF No. 8.)

         On December 7, 2016, the Court held a scheduling conference and entered a scheduling order after consulting with the parties. (See, e.g., Scheduling Order, ECF No. 23 (“December 2016 Scheduling Order”).) In relevant part, the scheduling order set a deadline of January 31, 2017, for the parties to amend their pleadings and join parties; a deadline of April 1, 2017, for Rushing to disclose her expert witnesses; a deadline of June 14, 2017, to complete discovery; a deadline of August 17, 2017, to file any dispositive motions; and a trial date of January 16, 2018. (Id. at 1-2.) On December 9, 2016, Rushing filed the Response to Partial Motion to Dismiss.

         Rushing filed the Deadline-Reset Motion on April 4, 2017. In relevant part, Rushing says that she has “just received a right to sue on [a] second EEOC charge, ” that she needs to amend the Complaint, and that amendment would “require a new Scheduling Order” altering the remaining case deadlines. (Deadline-Reset Mot. ¶¶ 7-8.)

         On April 13, 2017, Rushing filed the TRO Motion. The TRO Motion makes various allegations about SCSS conduct. (TRO Mot. ¶¶ 6-29; see also Rep. 2-4 (summarizing allegations).) The TRO Motion seeks “a temporary restraining order, restraining and enjoining [SCSS] and any of [SCSS's] employees from contacting [Rushing] in any way . . . until . . . [Rushing's] treatment provider finds she has sufficiently recovered to return from FMLA leave to her place of employment.” (TRO Mot. 9.) The Court referred the TRO Motion to Magistrate Judge Claxton on April 14, 2017. (TRO Order of Reference.)

         On April 17, 2017, SCSS filed the Deadline-Reset Response. On April 18, 2017, SCSS filed the TRO Response. The same day, Magistrate Judge Claxton held a hearing on the TRO Motion. (TRO Hr'g Minutes.) On May 1, 2017, Rushing filed the Deadline-Reset Reply.

         On May 11, 2017, Rushing filed the Motion for Leave. The Motion for Leave represents that Rushing filed a (second) EEOC charge on December 14, 2016, and that she received a right-to-sue letter addressing that charge on February 13, 2017. (Mot. for Leave ¶ 2.) The Motion states that Rushing “desires to amend her original Complaint to include the second charge and other related causes of action.” (Id. ¶ 3.)

         Rushing's Proposed Amended Complaint is attached to the Motion for Leave. Paragraphs 12 through 78 of the Proposed Amended Complaint contain allegations about the 2015-16 school year. (Proposed Am. Compl. ¶¶ 12-78.) Those paragraphs repeat many of the factual allegations made in the Complaint, but they include additional allegations about the 2015-16 school year. (Compare Id. with Compl. ¶¶ 9-41.) The Proposed Amended Complaint also contains more than three hundred paragraphs of allegations about the 2016-17 school year (Proposed Am. Compl. ¶¶ 79-419), during which Rushing worked at the A.B. Hill Elementary School in Memphis (id. ¶ 79). The Proposed Amended Complaint names an addi- tional defendant: Dr. Angela Brown, the principal at A.B. Hill Elementary School during the 2016-17 school year. (Id. ¶ 3.)

         The Proposed Amended Complaint asserts twelve causes of action. (See generally Id. ¶¶ 429-64.) Counts One, Two, and Three in the Proposed Amended Complaint restate Counts One, Two, and Three in the Complaint. (Compare Id. ¶¶ 429-39 with Compl. ¶¶ 42-52.) Count Four alleges a claim under Title VII based on a second charge of discrimination that Rushing filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) in December 2016. Rushing alleges that SCSS “has intentionally interfered” with her rights under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), “has intentionally discriminated against [her] . . . based on disability discrimination, ” has retaliated against her for engaging in protected activities, and has “subjected [her] to a hostile environment on a daily basis.” (Proposed Am. Compl. ¶¶ 441-43.)

         Count Five asserts that Rushing has a cause of action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on SCSS's allegedly depriving her of “constitutionally guaranteed rights to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment.”[2] (Id. ¶ 445.) Count Six asserts that SCSS violated the Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1975 (“IDEA”). (Id. ¶ 447.) Count Seven asserts that SCSS violated Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1983. (Id. ¶ 448.) Count Eight asserts that SCSS violated the FMLA. (Id. ¶¶ 451- 53.) Counts Nine and Ten assert that SCSS is liable to Rushing under sections 49-2-301(b)(1)(H) and 49-2-301(b)(1)(BB) of the Tennessee Code. (Id. ¶¶ 455, 457.) Count Eleven asserts that SCSS violated section 50-1-304 of the Tennessee Code, a part of the Tennessee Public Protection Act. (Id. ¶¶ 459-60.) Count Twelve asserts a claim against SCSS and Brown for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. (Id. ¶¶ 462- 64.)

         On May 12, 2017, Magistrate Judge Claxton entered the Report addressing the TRO Motion. She recommended that ...


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