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Hesbol v. Board of Education of Laraway Community Consolidated School District 70-C

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

February 3, 2014

DR. DOUGLAS GORDON HESBOL, Plaintiff,
v.
BOARD OF EDUCATION OF LARAWAY COMMUNITY CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL DISTRICT 70-C, GARY KNIGHT, DEBRA RAUSCH, MARGE FLEET, SCOTT GLASSCOCK, DAVID MATENAER, PHIL RAUSCH and GARY WASHINGTON, Defendants

Page 1102

For Douglas Gordon Hesbol, Plaintiff: Mark C. Metzger, LEAD ATTORNEY, Law Office of FMark C. Metzger, Naperville, IL.

For Board of Education of Laraway Community Consolidated School District 70-C, Gary Knight, Debra Rausch, Marge Fleet, Scott Glasscock, David Matenaer, Phil Rausch, Gary Washington, Defendants: William F Gleason, LEAD ATTORNEY, Sraga Hauser, LLC, Flossmoor, IL; Christopher L. Petrarca, Sraga Hauser, LLC, Oak Brook, IL.

OPINION

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MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Virginia M. Kendall, United States District Court Judge.

The Defendants have moved to dismiss Plaintiff Dr. Douglas Gordon Hesbol's claims for breach of express contract

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(Count I), breach of implied contract (Count II), reformation (Count III), misrepresentation (Count IV), and deprivation of due process (Count V). The Court has original jurisdiction over Dr. Hesbol's due process claim and supplemental jurisdiction over his state law claims. The Court dismisses Dr. Hesbol's due process claim based on his removal as superintendent as barred by the statute of limitations and dismisses his due process claim based on contract termination because he has no protectable property interest. The Court retains supplemental jurisdiction over his state law claims because all of Dr. Hesbol's claims turn on whether his contract was valid, which the Court had to determine to rule on his due process claim. See Carlsbad Tech., Inc. v. HIF Bio, Inc., 556 U.S. 635, 639-41, 129 S.Ct. 1862, 173 L.Ed.2d 843 (district court has discretion to retain supplemental jurisdiction after dismissing all claims over which it had original jurisdiction). Because the contract is not valid, and for the reasons discussed herein, the Court dismisses all of Dr. Hesbol's claims.

BACKGROUND

The Court takes the following allegations from the Complaint, which Dr. Hesbol filed in the Circuit Court of Will County on August 13, 2013, and treats them as true for purposes of the Defendants' motion. Dr. Hesbol entered a contract with the Board of Education of Laraway Community Consolidated School District 70-C (" the Board" ) to serve as Superintendent of Schools. Dr. Hesbol entered a second contract with the Board on March 17, 2009 for a period of service from July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2013. That same day, the Board amended the second contract, which extended the termination date of the contract to June 30, 2014. Each contract contained a provision calling for the Board to later adopt goals to meet the statutory requirement that a multiyear contract have such items included. This practice was standard among school districts in Illinois.

In May 2011, a federal district court held that a superintendent's contract that did not contain goals at the time of execution violated 105 ILCS 5/10-23.8. Armed with this ruling, a Board member dissatisfied with Dr. Hesbol's refusal to accept direction from her began a campaign to remove Dr. Hesbol as superintendent. On August 11, 2011, Dr. Hesbol received a list of purported actions and failings that the Board believed was cause for his ouster. Dr. Hesbol responded to the list in writing. The Board removed Dr. Hesbol as superintendent on August 12, 2011. The Board offered to allow Dr. Hesbol to serve as a principal at a school in the district with the same salary and benefits he received as a superintendent. On August 12, 2012, the Board told Dr. Hesbol that it would terminate his contract.

LEGAL STANDARD

A complaint must contain sufficient factual matter to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009). A claim is plausible on its face when the complaint contains factual content that supports a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the harm. Id. This requires enough factual content to create a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of wrongdoing. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). For purposes of this motion, this Court accepts all well-pleaded ...


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