United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
ANNEMARIE CARNEY AXON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
employment discrimination case, plaintiff Douglas Keith
Warren asserts various claims against the defendants arising
out of his termination as a Special Education teacher and
coach at Central High School in Coosa County, Alabama. Mr.
Warren alleges that the defendants discriminated against him
because of his gender and race, violated his Fourteenth
Amendment due process rights, and defamed him.
court previously dismissed certain claims from the initial
complaint and granted plaintiff leave to amend others. (Doc.
14, Coogler, J.). Defendants deny all allegations and move to
dismiss part of Mr. Warren's claims. The parties have
fully briefed the motion. (Doc. 18; Doc. 28; Doc. 29). For
the reasons explained below, the court
DENIES in part and GRANTS
in part the motion.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) authorizes a motion to
dismiss a complaint when the complaint's allegations fail
to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. On such a
motion, the “‘issue is not whether a plaintiff
will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled
to offer evidence to support the claims.'”
Little v. City of North Miami, 805 F.2d 962, 965
(11th Cir. 1986) (quoting Scheur v. Rhodes, 416 U.S.
232, 236 (1974)). To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint
must “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007). But it need not contain detailed factual
allegations. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
plaintiff's procedural due process claim, the standard
for this court's review is decided. “For nearly a
quarter century, the law of this circuit has been that
‘the presence of a satisfactory state remedy mandates
that we find that no procedural due process violation
occurred.'” McKinney, 20 F.3d at 1564.
Thus, “[i]t is well-settled that a constitutional
violation is actionable under § 1983 only when the state
refuses to provide a process sufficient to remedy the
procedural deprivation.” Ingalls v. U.S. Space and
Rocket Center, 679 Fed.Appx. 935, 943 (11th Cir. 2017)
(citing Reams v. Irvin, 561 F.3d 1258, 1266 (11th
stage, the court must accept the complaint's factual
allegations as true and construe them favorably to the
plaintiff. Butler v. Sheriff of Palm Beach Cty., 685
F.3d 1261, 1265 (11th Cir. 2012). Taken in a favorable light,
Mr. Warren, a white male, alleges that the Coosa County Board
of Education (“Board”) hired him as a special
education teacher at Central High School on August 22, 2015.
(Doc. 16 at ¶¶ 8-9). In addition to teaching, Mr.
Warren coached the girls' junior varsity softball team
and was the assistant coach for the varsity girls'
softball team during the 2015-2016 school year. (Id.
at ¶12). Rebecca Stallworth, Central's
African-American female assistant principal, head-coached the
varsity girls' softball team, but Mr. Warren performed
most of the varsity coaching responsibilities. (Doc. 16 at
April 20, 2016, Mr. Warren learned that the Board was not
going to renew his contract at the end of the school year.
The non-renewal was “without cause, ” but the
Board's Special Education Coordinator confirmed that the
decision “was not a performance-based decision.”
(Doc. 16 at ¶ 13). Then, in early May 2016, Central High
School Principal, defendant Bradley Delynn Bouldin, relieved
Mr. Warren of his softball coaching duties. (Id. at
4, 2016, Principal Bouldin and former Superintendent Dennis
Sanford, met with Mr. Warren. (Doc. 16 at ¶ 15). They
discussed a March 2016 conversation between Mr. Warren and
Principal Bouldin. (Id.). During that prior
conversation, Principal Bouldin shared that his son was
having difficulties taking standardized tests. (Doc. 16 at
¶ 16). To empathize, Mr. Warren told Principal Bouldin
that, in the past, he too had trouble with standardized
tests. (Id.). He recalled that he once considered,
but did not do so, taking the Praxis exam out of the testing
room. (Id. at ¶ 15). When later
asked about the March 2016 conversation, Mr. Warren explained
the context of the discussion and reiterated that he never
took any test out of the room. (Doc. 16 at ¶ 16). Mr.
Sanford “indicated that he believed” Mr.
Warren's explanation. (Id.). But eight days
later, Mr. Warren was placed on administrative leave until
the end of the school year and escorted off the school
property by a police officer. (Doc. 16 at ¶¶
he was placed on leave, a “notice of misconduct”
appeared on Mr. Warren's Teacher Certification and
Education Portal (“TCERT”). (Doc. 16 at ¶
18). Mr. Warren alleges that principal Bouldin and
superintendant Sanford made the misconduct report
“knowing that the circumstances pertaining to the
purported misconduct (the Praxis exam) had occurred more than
seven years earlier” and that Mr. Warren had
“specifically denied” the misconduct (taking the
test outside the room). (Id. at ¶ 19). Mr.
Warren also alleges false allegations were published about
him in State Department of Education certification files.
(Id. at ¶ 23).
of the “notice of misconduct, ” Mr. Warren was
not hired for other positions for which he applied. (Doc. 16
at ¶ 20). And because he was a probationary, non-tenured
employee, Mr. Warren alleges that he had no right or
opportunity for a hearing regarding his termination.
(Id. at ¶ 24).
on these facts, Mr. Warren filed his amended complaint
asserting the following claims: (1) 42 U.S.C. § 1981 via
42 U.S.C. § 1983 race discrimination against the Board
and Messrs. Bouldin and Sanford in their individual
capacities; (2) Title VII gender discrimination against the
Board; (3) 42 U.S.C. § 1983 due process liberty interest
against the Board; and (4) state law defamation against Mr.
Bouldin and Mr. Sanford in their individual capacities. The
defendants move to dismiss Mr. Warren's claim for lost
wages as to future coaching supplements and his § 1983
due process claim against the Board. (Doc. 18; Doc. 29).