United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division
B.H., A Minor Student, by and through His parent L.H., and L.H., Individually, Plaintiffs,
OBION COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION d/b/a OBION COUNTY SCHOOLS, Defendant.
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
THOMAS ANDERSON CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
B.H., a minor, has brought this action through his parent,
L.H., and L.H. has brought the action in her individual
capacity against Obion County Board of Education d/b/a Obion
County Schools. Plaintiffs have asserted five claims:
discrimination and retaliation under the Americans with
Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §12101
et seq., discrimination and retaliation under
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. §794
et seq., and retaliation under the First and
Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution, 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Defendant has filed a motion for summary
judgment (ECF No. 44), and Plaintiffs have filed a response
to the motion. (ECF No. 49.) For the reasons set forth below,
Defendant's motion is DENIED.
judgment is proper “if the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine
issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is
entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). When deciding a motion for summary
judgment, the Court must review all the evidence and draw all
reasonable inferences in favor of the non-movant.
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). In reviewing a motion for summary
judgment, the Court views the evidence in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party, and it “may not make
credibility determinations or weigh the evidence.”
Laster v. City of Kalamazoo, 746 F.3d 714, 726 (6th
the motion is supported by documentary proof such as
depositions and affidavits, the nonmoving party may not rest
on his pleadings but, rather, must present some
“specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue
for trial.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322 (1986); Eastham v. Chesapeake Appalachia,
L.L.C., 754 F.3d 356, 360 (6th Cir. 2014). These facts
must be more than a scintilla of evidence and must meet the
standard of whether a reasonable juror could find by a
preponderance of the evidence that the nonmoving party is
entitled to a verdict. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986). The Court should ask
“whether the evidence presents a sufficient
disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is
so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of
law.” Id. at 251-52. The Court must enter
summary judgment “against a party who fails to make a
showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element
essential to that party's case and on which that party
will bear the burden of proof at trial.”
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322.
of Material Undisputed Facts
to Local Rule 56.1(a), Defendant has prepared a statement of
facts “to assist the Court in ascertaining whether
there are any material facts in dispute.” (ECF No
44-2.) Plaintiffs have responded to Defendant's statement
and have attached their own statement of undisputed facts.
(ECF No. 49-1.) Defendant has not responded to
Plaintiffs' statement of undisputed facts in a timely
fashion. Therefore, the Court will accept
Plaintiffs' facts as being undisputed.
is material if the fact “might affect the outcome of
the lawsuit under the governing substantive law.”
Baynes v. Cleland, 799 F.3d 600, 607 (6th Cir. 2015)
(citing Wiley v. United States, 20 F.3d 222, 224
(6th Cir. 1994) and Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48). A
dispute about a material fact is genuine “if the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson,
477 U.S. at 248. For purposes of summary judgment, a party
asserting that a material fact is not genuinely in dispute
must cite to particular parts of the materials in the record
and show that the materials fail to establish a genuine
dispute or that the adverse party has failed to produce
admissible evidence to support a fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1).
As the non-moving party, Plaintiffs must respond to
Defendant's statement of fact “by either (1)
agreeing that the fact is undisputed; (2) agreeing that the
fact is undisputed for the purpose of ruling on the motion
for summary judgment only; or (3) demonstrating that the fact
is disputed.” Local R. 56.1(b). Additionally,
Plaintiffs may “object that the material cited to
support or dispute a fact cannot be presented in a form that
would be admissible in evidence.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
Plaintiffs assert that a genuine dispute of material fact
exists, Plaintiffs must support their contention with a
“specific citation to the record.” Local R.
56.1(b). If Plaintiffs fail to demonstrate that a fact is
disputed or simply fail to address Defendant's statement
of facts properly, the Court will “consider the fact
undisputed for purposes” of ruling on the motion.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2); see also Local R. 56.1(d)
(“Failure to respond to a moving party's statement
of material facts, or a non-moving party's statement of
additional facts, within the time periods provided by these
rules shall indicate that the asserted facts are not disputed
for purposes of summary judgment.”). Under Rule 56 of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court “need
consider only the cited materials” but has discretion
to “consider other materials in the record.”
present case, Plaintiffs have made various objections
regarding Defendant's statement of facts that purport to
show the subjective state of mind of the parties at various
times during the relevant events, and they object to any
“fact” that is actually a legal conclusion or is
an attempt to invade the province of the jury. These
objections are noted below.
the 2016-2017 school year, B.H. was a Pre-K student at Black
Oak Elementary School in Obion County, Tennessee. B.H.
attended Pre-K pursuant to the terms of an Individual
Education Program (“IEP”) under the Individuals
with Disabilities in Education Act.
has Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention-Deficit
Hyperactivity Disorder Type III (ADD/ADHD Type III),
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Disruptive Mood
Dysregulation Disorder, and he is the victim of sexual abuse
by an adult male family member.
the 2016-2017 school year, Melissa Jones was the Pre-K
teacher at Black Oak Elementary School.
the 2016-2017 school year, B.H. had some disciplinary issues
in the Pre-K classroom; the parties dispute the severity of
beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, B.H.'s mother,
L.H., advised Ms. Jones that B.H. had threatened to kill and
stab her; L.H. informed the school that B.H. had made these
threats in the context of why he received psychological
treatment earlier in the year at Vanderbilt University, which
according to L.H., greatly helped, and these behaviors
subsided. Because of these behaviors, L.H. kept sharp objects
out of B.H.'s reach at home.
further advised Ms. Jones that B.H. would leave bruises on
her, pull her hair, kick her, and curse at her when angry;
L.H. informed the school that B.H. had these behaviors in the
context of why he received psychological treatment earlier in
the year at Vanderbilt University, which according to L.H.,
greatly helped, and these behaviors subsided.
15, 2017, Ms. Jones allowed her students to go to the
playground for recess. During recess, Ms. Jones saw B.H.
playing by the sandbox. A short time later, she noticed that
B.H. was no longer at the sandbox.
Jones saw B.H. and another student, “John Doe, ”
in the open top playhouse located on the playground. When Ms.
Jones walked over to the playhouse, she noticed that B.H. and
John Doe were sitting crisscross on the ground. Based on what
she saw, she believed that the students were engaged in
Jones pulled John Doe to the side and asked him what was
going on. John Doe told her that B.H. was “touching him
in his pants.” John Doe's father later acknowledged
that John Doe also put his hands down B.H.'s pants.
Jones then took B.H. to the school counselor, Melissa Logan.
B.H. was later taken to the principal's office and
remained there until L.H. picked him up after school. B.H.
admitted to Ms. ...