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Doe v. Huddleston

June 6, 2006

JANE DOE-1, BY HER PARENTS AND NEXT FRIENDS, JOHN DOE-1, AND JULIE DOE-1, AND JOHN DOE-1 AND JULIE DOE-1, 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 are Defendant Ronald Schramm's Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. # 258], Defendant Karen Harm's Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. # 259], Defendant Prairie Central School District No. 8 Board of Education's ("PCSD's") Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. # 260], Defendants' Motion to Strike [Doc. # 246], Plaintiffs' Motion to Consolidate Cases for Trial [Doc. # 253], and Defendants' Joint Motion to Continue Final Pretrial and Trial Dates [Doc. # 223]. For the reasons that follow, PCSD's motion for summary judgment will be granted in part, and the remaining motions will be denied as moot.

I. Background

The following facts are undisputed. During the time relevant to this case, Defendant Huddleston was employed as an art teacher by Defendant Prairie Central School District No. 8 Board of Education ("PCSD"). As part of his employment during the 2001-2002 school year, Huddleston taught art to first grade students at Westview Elementary School in Fairbury, Illinois two times per week. Plaintiff Jane Doe-1 ("Jane") was one of his students that year. Defendant Karen Harms was Jane's classroom teacher at Westview, and Defendant Ronald Schramm was the principal of Westview during the relevant period.

Huddleston placed photographs of his students around the door frame of his classroom at Westview when they were given to him. During the school year, Huddleston displayed a heart-shaped photograph of Jane on his door frame with other student pictures. During one class, after Huddleston showed Jane's class a "well-done" picture she had drawn, Jane became embarrassed and blushed. Later, Huddleston told Jane's classmates that he could make her blush again; he then stated that Jane was his girlfriend. Huddleston testified that this was an isolated incident that was meant as a joke. However, a classmate of Jane's attested that Huddleston said Jane was his girlfriend "almost every time [they] went to art class." Other children teased Jane about being Huddleston's girlfriend. Jane's mother, Julie Doe-1, complained to Harms and Schramm that Jane was not getting along well with the other children at Westview, however, Jane's parents never mentioned Huddleston as being related to this problem.

During the 2001-2002 school year, Jane suffered from distress and anxiety with physical manifestations of crying, vomiting and bed-wetting. She did not want to attend Westview, and was eventually removed and home-schooled. Jane's parents, John and Julie Doe-1, have brought this suit on her behalf, naming themselves as individual Plaintiffs.

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' Third Amended Complaint claims that (1) PCSD was deliberately indifferent to Huddleston's conduct towards Jane in violation of 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a) ("Title IX") (Count I); (2) PCSD was deliberately indifferent to discriminatory conduct by other Westview students towards Jane in violation of Title IX (Count II); (3) Huddleston violated Jane's constitutional rights (Count III); (4) Huddleston had unlawful and offensive contact with Jane (Count IV); (5) Huddleston intentionally inflicted emotional distress on Plaintiffs (Count V); (6) Defendants Pogue, Schramm, Harms, and PCSD intentionally inflicted emotional distress on Plaintiffs (Count VI); (7) Huddleston committed a hate crime in violation of Illinois law (Count (VII); and (8) Defendant Pogue, Harms, Schramm, and PCSD violated Illinois law in their hiring and supervision of Huddleston (Count VIII). Plaintiffs have voluntarily dismissed Counts IV and VII of the Amended Complaint and all claims against Superintendent Pogue; Plaintiffs John and Julie Doe-1 have also voluntarily dismissed their intentional infliction of emotional distress claims. The Court has granted summary judgment in favor of Huddleston as to Count III of the Amended Complaint, and it has also declined supplemental jurisdiction as to Jane's intentional infliction of emotional distress claim against Huddleston.

Thus, the remaining claims at issue are (1) the Title IX claims against PCSD for teacher-on-student and student-on-student sexual harassment (Counts I and II); (2) the intentional infliction of emotional distress claims against Defendants Schramm, Harms, and PCSD (Count VI); and (3) the state law claims against Defendants Harms, Schramm, and PCSD for their hiring and supervision of Huddleston (Count VIII). As discussed below, the Court will grant PCSD's summary judgment motion as to the Title IX claims, but the Court will decline supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims as to all Defendants.

A. Title IX Claims

Title IX provides, in pertinent part, that "[n]o person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a). In Davis v. Monroe County Bd. of Educ., 526 U.S. 629 (1999), the Supreme Court held that a school district that receives Title IX funds can be liable in a private action for damages ...


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