United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. BORDEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Paula Franklin and Haleigh Lowery filed this lawsuit on March
28, 2016, asserting a number of claims arising out of
Defendant David Hubbard's alleged sexual abuse of both
plaintiffs when they were minors. Pending before the court is
the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant Chilton
County Board of Education (the “Board”). Doc. 64.
The parties have consented to jurisdiction in this court
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). After careful
consideration of the parties' submissions, the applicable
law, and the record as a whole, it is ORDERED that the Motion
for Summary Judgment (Doc. 64) is GRANTED, and all claims
asserted against the Chilton County Board of Education are
DISMISSED with prejudice.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
court has subject-matter jurisdiction over the claims in this
lawsuit pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1367. The
defendants do not contest personal jurisdiction or venue, and
the court finds adequate allegations to support both.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
attended Chilton County High School in Clanton, Alabama,
until her graduation in May 2013. Doc. 64-2 at 20. She first
met Defendant David Hubbard in the fall of 2011, shortly
after she turned 16 years old. Doc. 64-2 at 4. At the time,
and at all other times relevant to this lawsuit, Hubbard was
employed as a deputy sheriff by the Chilton County
Sheriff's Office. Doc. 64-4 at 18. As a deputy sheriff,
Hubbard served as a Community Relations Officer at Chilton
County High School as well as several other schools in
Chilton County. Doc. 64-4 at 18. In this role, Hubbard was
not directly employed by the Board. Doc. 64-4 at 8 & 18. The
Board did employ Hubbard, however, beginning on July 17,
2013, as a part-time “law enforcement credentialed
instructor” at LeCroy Career Technical Center
(“LeCroy”) for the 2013-2014 school year. Doc.
64-4 at 8. He resigned from that position one year later on
July 16, 2014. Doc. 64-4 at 8.
and Hubbard met on Facebook and exchanged cell phone numbers
after about a week of swapping Facebook messages. Doc. 64-2
at 5. Less than one week after exchanging phone numbers, the
conversations between Lowery and Hubbard became sexual in
nature. Doc. 64-2 at 5. Lowery had not previously interacted
with Hubbard at Chilton County High School and does not know
how or why he located her on Facebook. Doc. 64-2 at 6. Less
than two weeks after they began messaging, Lowery told
Hubbard that she wanted to meet in person. Doc. 64-2 at 6.
Hubbard then asked if he could come to her home, and she
agreed. Doc. 64-2 at 6. Hubbard visited Lowery when she was
home sick from school, and they had sexual intercourse. Doc.
64-2 at 7. After this encounter, Lowery and Hubbard continued
to text message each other and met in person several times.
Doc. 64-2 at 7. Lowery later learned that Hubbard was a
police officer and worked at her school as a Community
Relations Officer. Doc. 64-2 at 6-7. At some point
thereafter, Lowery saw Hubbard at her school conducting a
drug interdiction with other officers. Doc. 64-2 at 7-8.
Lowery did not tell anyone about her interactions with
Hubbard except for her friend, Paula Franklin. Doc. 64-2 at 8.
Lowery told Franklin not as “a cry for help or
bragging, ” but because she “wanted to have a
friend to talk to about it.” Doc. 64-2 at 9. Franklin
told her mother, Misty Franklin, about Lowery's
relationship with Hubbard. Doc. 64-2 at 9.
January 2012, on the day Lowery told Franklin about Hubbard,
the two girls saw him at a store. Doc. 64-2 at 9-10. Lowery
pointed out Hubbard and said, “That's who I've
been having sex with.” Doc. 64-2 at 10. Later that day,
Lowery and Hubbard had sex at LeCroy. Doc. 64-2 at 10. This
encounter was the only occasion other than the drug
interdiction during which she saw Hubbard on a school campus,
including at Chilton County High School. Doc. 64-2 at 11.
Lowery and Hubbard also met at his home and at a park in
Chilton County. Doc. 64-2 at 13. Lowery did not tell any
school system officials about her encounters with Hubbard.
Doc. 64-2 at 12-13. She estimates that she stopped seeing
Hubbard sometime in the spring or summer of 2012. Doc. 64-2
at 15. Lowery and Hubbard had sexual relations approximately
five times in total. Doc. 64-2 at 21.
had her own relationship with Hubbard. She first met him when
he responded to a domestic violence call at her home on
December 26, 2011, during which Franklin's grandmother
was injured. Doc. 64-1 at 9-10. Franklin was 13 years old at
the time and homeschooled. Doc. 64-1 at 15 & 37. Hubbard
drove her to the hospital after her grandmother was
transported there in an ambulance. Doc. 64-1 at 10. While in
his squad car, Hubbard gave Franklin his phone number and
told her to give it to her mother so that he could
“check on” Franklin, her mother, and her
grandmother. Doc. 64-1 at 10. The next month, January 2012,
Hubbard text messaged Franklin explaining that he wanted her
to come to his home to meet his stepdaughter, who did not
have many friends. Doc. 64-1 at 14. Franklin agreed and spent
the night at Hubbard's home with his wife, son, stepson,
nephew, and stepdaughter all at the home. Doc. 64-1 at 14-15.
Hubbard got permission for Franklin to stay over from her
mother, Misty Franklin, who knew Hubbard from high school and
thought he would be a good influence on her daughter since he
was a police officer. Doc. 64-1 at 14.
Franklin and her mother stayed in touch with Hubbard
throughout the following months, and Franklin estimates that
she stayed at his home at least six times in 2012. Doc. 64-1
at 15. However, Franklin stopped going in May 2013 because
Hubbard text messaged her that he “loved” her and
“wanted to marry” her. Doc. 64-1 at 15-16. He
also told Franklin that he wanted to have a
“threesome” with her and his wife. Doc. 64-1 at
21. Franklin told her mother, who spoke to Sheriff Kevin
Davis about the text messages. Doc. 64-1 at 16-17. Davis had
officer Ken Harmon contact Franklin about the text messages
in June or July 2013. Doc. 64-1 at 17. Harmon and another
officer told Franklin that she “would have to become a
victim before they could do anything about it” and that
she was “an F-ing liar.” Doc. 64-1 at 17. They
believed she was lying because they directed Franklin to text
Hubbard while they were with her and he and his wife replied,
separately, “Who is this?” Doc. 64-1 at 17. She
started returning to Hubbard's home in December 2013 and
he apologized, saying that he “didn't mean any of
those things” and “looked at [Franklin] like
[she] was one of his kids too.” Doc. 64-1 at 18.
According to Franklin, she returned because she was
“friends with his stepdaughter, Leah, and I didn't
think anything about it. I was young; I didn't--I was
influenced by adults that I shouldn't have been
influenced by.” Doc. 64-1 at 28. Misty Franklin allowed
her daughter to return to Hubbard's home because she
believed he was remorseful and had made several improvements,
including volunteering for a church. Doc. 64-3 at 12-13.
Franklin started returning to Hubbard's home in December
2013, he began sending her text messages stating that he
wanted to have sex with her. Doc. 64-1 at 29. These messages
were often sent while Franklin was actually in the home. Doc.
64-1 at 29. Hubbard's wife also sent messages to Franklin
that “[t]hey wanted to have a threesome and to come to
the bedroom.” Doc. 64-1 at 29. Hubbard and his wife
also provided Franklin with alcohol. Doc. 64-1 at 30. On one
occasion, while Franklin was intoxicated, Hubbard, his wife,
and Franklin had sex together in the Hubbards' bedroom.
Doc. 64-1 at 30. This occurred at least two more times. Doc.
64-1 at 30. Hubbard's wife “pressured”
Franklin into consuming alcohol by stating “here, you
need this” and giving her shots of rum. Doc. 64-1 at
30-31. These encounters began in December 2013 and continued
to February 2014. Doc. 64-1 at 32 & 34.
2014, another minor to whom the Hubbards had supplied alcohol
was in a serious car accident. Doc. 64-1 at 34-36. A police
investigation ensued and officers learned that the Hubbards
had been in contact with Franklin. Doc. 64-1 at 34-36. On
July 25, an investigator interviewed Franklin about her
involvement with the Hubbards. Doc. 64-1 at 32. Prior to her
conversation with the investigator, Franklin had not told
anyone about the sexual abuse. Doc. 64-1 at 36. Once she was
approached by the investigator, Franklin revealed the abuse
to her mother, to her boyfriend, and to Lowery. Doc. 64-1 at
36. Franklin was homeschooled for the entire extent of her
interactions with Hubbard and never saw him on school grounds
except when she attended eighth grade for roughly two weeks
at Isabella High School. Doc. 64-1 at 37. She did not
interact with Hubbard at the school, but saw him conduct drug
safety presentations. Doc. 64-1 at 37.
Franklin confirmed that Lowery first disclosed her
relationship with Hubbard in May 2013, when they were
discussing the text messages Hubbard sent to Franklin
explaining that he loved and wanted to marry her. Doc. 64-3
at 13-14. Misty Franklin contacted the Chilton County
Sheriff's Office. Doc. 64-3 at 14. She also asked a
friend for advice, and the friend told her to contact the
Board of Education and speak to the superintendent. Doc. 64-3
at 14. Misty called the superintendent multiple times but he
never returned her calls. Doc. 64-3 at 10 & 15. Following
the text messages in May 2013, Misty was not aware of any
inappropriate conduct between Hubbard and Franklin until an
investigator visited her home on July 24, 2014. Doc. 64-3 at
17. When Misty called the superintendent, she asked to speak
with him and left a message with the receptionist for him to
call her back, but did not explain the purpose of her call or
provide any other information because she “didn't
want to, you know, let everyone know of what was going on
because this is my child that I'm trying to protect from
someone like this.” Doc. 64-3 at 10. She did not
attempt to contact anyone else at the Board of Education.
Doc. 64-3 at 11.
Mae White, an assistant superintendent and personnel director
for the Board of Education, testified that as a deputy
sheriff Hubbard was “the contact person if there were
an issue that would come up maybe where we needed some
guidance from the Sheriff's Department to assist us in
any manner where we might need some guidance from the
Sheriff's Department or the Police Department.”
Doc. 64-4 at 4. According to Hubbard's personnel file,
the Board hired him on July 17, 2013 to be a part-time
instructor at LeCroy. Doc. 64-4 at 8. This was the only time
Hubbard was employed by the Board, and his employment lasted
for one year until the superintendent recommended his
termination. Doc. 64-4 at 8. The Board did not investigate
any wrongdoing by ...