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J.S. v. Houston County Board of Education

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Southern Division

August 3, 2015

J.S., III, a minor, by and through J.S., Jr. and M.S., his parents and next friends, Plaintiff,
v.
THE HOUSTON COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION, Defendant

For J.S., III, a minor, by and through J.S. Jr. and M.S., his parents and next friends, Plaintiff: Jeffrey Conett Kirby, William Tipton Johnson, III, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Kirby Johnson, PC, Birmingham, AL; Stanley Jay Murphy, LEAD ATTORNEY, Murphy & Murphy, LLC, Tuscaloosa, AL; William Lovard Lee, III, LEAD ATTORNEY, Lee, Livingston, Lee & Nichols, P.C., Dothan, AL.

For The Houston County Board of Education, Defendant: James Kevin Walding, Jere Coe Segrest, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Hardwick Hause Segrest & Walding, Dothan, AL.

Page 1288

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

W. HAROLD ALBRITTON, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

I. INTRODUCTION

This case is before the court on a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. #16), filed by the Defendant, the Houston County Board of Education.

The Plaintiff filed a Complaint in this case in December of 2014. The Plaintiff, J.S., III, is a minor child who brings claims through his parents and next friends (" the Plaintiff" or " J.S." ). The Plaintiff originally filed a case in 2012 which brought claims for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (" ADA" ) and § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and other federal state law claims. Several of the claims in that case were resolved, but the ADA and § 504 claim were dismissed without prejudice so that the Plaintiff could exhaust his administrative remedies. An administrative due process claim was filed and resolved. The Plaintiff then filed the Complaint in this case bringing two claims for damages under § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA.

For the reasons to be discussed, the Motion for Summary Judgment is due to be GRANTED.

Page 1289

II. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

Summary judgment is proper " if there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and . . . the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986).

The party asking for summary judgment " always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion," relying on submissions Awhich it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Id. at 323. Once the moving party has met its burden, the nonmoving party must " go beyond the pleadings" and show that there is a genuine issue for trial. Id. at 324.

Both the party " asserting that a fact cannot be," and a party asserting that a fact is genuinely disputed, must support their assertions by " citing to particular parts of materials in the record," or by " showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 (c)(1)(A),(B). Acceptable materials under Rule 56(c)(1)(A) include " depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials."

To avoid summary judgment, the nonmoving party " must do more than show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986). On the other hand, the evidence of the nonmovant must be believed and all justifiable inferences must be drawn in its favor. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 255, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986).

After the nonmoving party has responded to the motion for summary judgment, the court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).

III. FACTS

The submissions of the parties establish the following facts, construed in a light most favorable to the non-movant:

The Houston County Board of Education (" the Board" ) is the entity that has responsibility for the control of the Houston County School System. The Superintendent of the Houston County School System is Tim Pitchford (" Pitchford" ). The Principal of Wicksburg High School in the Houston County School System, which is a kindergarten through twelfth grade school, is Cheryl Smith (" Smith" ). The School System has a Code of Conduct, which the Plaintiff states in 2011-2012 did not set forth any policies against teacher-on-student disability harassment.

J.S. began attending Wicksburg High School in kindergarten. J.S. has physical disabilities and cognitive impairments. J.S. has cerebral palsy and needs a walker and wheelchair. When J.S. began kindergarten, he received an Individual Education Program (IEP) to provide him a free, appropriate public education pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. His IEPs required that he attend classes with students in the regular classroom and also receive personal tutoring and assistance in a special-education classroom or resource room.

In the 2010-2011 school year, which was third-grade for J.S., Drew Faircloth (" Faircloth" ) was ...


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