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Doe v. Huddleston

May 4, 2006

JANE DOE-3, BY HER PARENTS AND NEXT FRIENDS, JOHN DOE-3, AND JULIE DOE-3, AND JOHN DOE-3 AND JULIE DOE-3, INDIVIDUALLY, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
GERALD SCOTT HUDDLESTON, ET AL, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joe Billy McDADE United States District Judge

ORDER

Before the Court is Defendant Prairie Central School District No. 8 Board of Education's (hereinafter "PCSD's") Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. # 102]. Plaintiffs have responded, and PCSD has filed a reply. For the reasons that follow, the motion will be granted.

I. Background

The relevant facts are largely undisputed. Plaintiffs' claims arise from two incidents between Defendant Gerald Huddleston,*fn1 a former art teacher at a school operated by PCSD, and Plaintiff Jane Doe-3 (hereinafter "Jane"). Plaintiffs claim that Huddleston sexually abused Jane on two occasions when she stayed after class to help clean up the art room. The question currently before the Court is PCSD's liability in connection with these incidents.

Superintendent Philip Pogue hired Huddleston in October 1997.

In October 1997, PCSD had a standard written application for teaching positions which would be placed in an employee's file once they were hired. Huddleston's written application form has not been produced and Superintendent Pogue testified he does not know if one still exists today. During the application process, Pogue never asked Huddleston whether he had been convicted or arrested for any crimes, whether he had ever been accused of sexual abuse or harassment, or whether he was a registered sex offender.

Prior to being hired by PCSD, Huddleston was arrested in McLean County, Illinois for public indecency. He entered a guilty plea to that charge on March 3, 1997 and was placed on a 12-month period of court supervision. The school principal and superintendent had no knowledge of Huddleston's prior criminal history until after he was arrested on charges related to this case, and the Illinois State Police performed a background check on Huddleston which did not show any prior claims or convictions.

Plaintiffs John Doe-3 (hereinafter John) and Julie Doe-3 (hereinafter Julie) are Jane's parents, and it is undisputed that neither communicated any concerns regarding Jane or Huddleston to school officials at the school until after Huddleston was arrested.

II. Legal Standard

Summary judgment should be granted where "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). The moving party has the responsibility of informing the Court of portions of the record or affidavits that demonstrate the absence of a triable issue. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The moving party may meet its burden of showing an absence of disputed material facts by demonstrating "that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Id. at 325. Any doubt as to the existence of a genuine issue for trial is resolved against the moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986); Cain v. Lane, 857 F.2d 1139, 1142 (7th Cir. 1988).

If the moving party meets its burden, the non-moving party then has the burden of presenting specific facts to show that there is a genuine issue of material fact. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(e) requires the non-moving party to go beyond the pleadings and produce evidence of a genuine issue for trial. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324. Nevertheless, this Court must "view the record and all inferences drawn from it in the light most favorable to the [non-moving party]." Holland v. Jefferson Nat. Life Ins. Co., 883 F.2d 1307, 1312 (7th Cir. 1989). Summary judgment will be denied where a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Hedberg v. Indiana Bell Tel. Co., 47 F.3d 928, 931 (7th Cir. 1995).

III. Analysis

Plaintiffs have brought two claims against PCSD: a claim under 20 U.S.C. 1681 (Title IX) by Jane for sexual harassment (Count I), and a claim by Jane, Julie, and John for intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count V). In their response to PCSD summary judgment motion, Plaintiffs John and Julie Doe have conceded that their claims against PCSD fail. Accordingly, the ...


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