Strike (# 55) is also moot at this point. Defendants' Motion
for Summary Judgment (# 69) is granted to the extent this Court
finds Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity. The Court
declines to exercise jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state law
Plaintiffs brought this suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and §
1988 claiming that their fourth, fifth, ninth, and fourteenth
amendment rights were violated by various local school
employees and police officers. Plaintiffs also asserted several
pendent state law claims.
Plaintiffs, Cathy and Gregory Pauli, are the parents of Luke
Pauli, a minor, who was at all times relevant to this case a
student in the Farmington Central Community Unit School
District # 265 in Fulton County, Illinois. At all times
relevant to this case, Defendant Hippen was the superintendent
of District # 265, Defendant Schulz was the principal of
Farmington High School, Defendant Haynes was a school social
worker employed by District # 265, and Defendants Howarter and
Cale were police officers employed by the city of Farmington.
On March 23, 1993, this Court granted Plaintiffs' Motion to
Dismiss Defendants City of Farmington and Officers Howarter and
A few weeks after the beginning of his freshman year in high
school, Luke broke up with his eighth grade girlfriend. Luke
was upset by the break-up. During the week after the break-up,
Luke began meeting with Stephanie Churchill, a counselor at the
high school, and with Haynes. Luke also recalls meeting with
Don Costelli, another counselor at the high school, a few
times. In early October 1990, Churchill felt it necessary to
have Luke sign a form "contract," in which Luke agreed not to
physically injure himself. Prior to October 24, 1990, the
Paulis were not informed that Luke had received any counseling
by Haynes, Churchill, or Costelli.
The Paulis' Second Amended Complaint alleges that on October
24, 1990, while attending Farmington High School, Luke Pauli
informed Defendant Susan Haynes that he did not want to go home
because his mother had verbally abused him by saying that he
was lazy and calling him a savage. Upon being told by Luke that
he did not want to go home, Haynes transported Luke to the
county "jail"*fn1 without first contacting his parents. Del
Sutter, a Crisis Intervention Counselor, then contacted Cathy
Pauli. The Paulis went to the Crisis Intervention Center and
were told by Sutter that Haynes had brought Luke there because
he did not want to go home and Haynes thought Luke was being
abused. Haynes then accused Cathy of "verbally abusing" Luke by
calling him a "savage," which Cathy denied. Haynes told the
Paulis that Luke would be placed in an alternative living
arrangement and could not go home with the Paulis. Cathy Pauli
signed a "Consent for Treatment" form on behalf of Luke, but
she refused to sign a "Consent for Foster Care" form for him.
The Paulis left the meeting after being told that Luke would be
staying with another family, the Welkers, for a couple of
Upon returning home that evening, Cathy Pauli telephoned
Defendant Schulz at his home and advised him that Haynes had
taken Luke to the "jail" and would not let him return home.
After speaking with Haynes, Schulz called Cathy back and told
her that Luke was going to stay in the alternative living
arrangement until the situation was resolved.
On Friday, October 26, Luke became aware of the fact that his
parents expected him to ride the bus home that afternoon. Luke
then went to school counselors and again stated that he refused
to go home. A series of telephone calls to and from Haynes,
Cathy Pauli and Del Sutter ensued. The Paulis became aware of
the fact that Luke
would not be riding the bus home that afternoon. The Paulis and
their two older sons then proceeded to Luke's school. Schulz
had someone call the Farmington Police Department at about 4:30
and request the presence of an officer. Schulz also called
school superintendent Hippen.
The Paulis then met with Haynes, Hippen, and Schulz at the
high school to discuss the situation. No one from the Crisis
Intervention Center was present or in contact with anyone in
the meeting while the meeting was in progress. At the beginning
of the meeting, Cathy Pauli asked Luke what was going on. Luke
replied that he was sick of things at home and was not going
home. Haynes stated that an agreement had been made on
Wednesday that Luke would remain outside of the Paulis' home
until a counselling session had taken place. The Paulis denied
that any such agreement was made. While the meeting was in
progress, two uniformed police officers arrived at the school
and remained outside Schulz's office until the end of the
meeting. After about two hours, the Paulis determined that the
Defendants would not permit them to take Luke home, and the
Paulis and their two older sons left the high school. Luke was
taken back to the Welkers' home by one of the police officers.
On Monday, October 29, the Paulis, Luke, and Del Sutter
participated in a counselling session at the Paulis' home. Luke
stayed at the Welkers' residence until October 31 when he
returned to his parents' home.
A. Qualified Immunity
Defendants have moved for summary judgment on the basis that
they are entitled to qualified immunity from Plaintiffs'
claims. Summary 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 judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c). In determining whether a genuine issue of material fact
exists, this Court construes the facts alleged in the light
most favorable to the non-moving party. Stumph v. Thomas &
Skinner, Inc., 770 F.2d 93, 97 (7th Cir. 1985). For the reasons
set forth below, this Court finds that Defendants are entitled
to qualified immunity.
1. Liberty Interest: Short-term Physical Custody
Government officials performing discretionary
functions are shielded from liability for civil
damages unless their conduct violates clearly
established statutory or constitutional rights of
which a reasonable person would have known.
Landstrom v. Illinois Department of Children and
Family Services, 892 F.2d 670, 675 (7th Cir. 1990)
citing Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818, 102
S.Ct. 2727, 2738, 73 L.Ed.2d 396 (1982).
The Seventh Circuit has outlined the following approach to
qualified immunity questions:
Once the defendant's actions are defined or
characterized according to the specific facts of
the case this characterization is compared to the
body of law existing at the time of the alleged
violation to determine if constitutional,
statutory, or case law shows that the now
specifically defined actions violated the clearly
established law. Rakovich v. Wade, 850 F.2d 1180,
1209 (7th Cir. 1988) (en banc), cert. denied,
488 U.S. 968, 109 S.Ct. 497, 102 L.Ed.2d 534 (1988).
Therefore, the specific issue in this case is whether parents
of a fourteen year old child, who at meetings with both school
officials and his parents refused to return to his parents'
home, had a clearly established right to be free from having
their son placed outside of their home in alternative housing
for five nights, and that the school employees reasonably
should have known of those parental rights.