United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville
GWENEVER BOYD, Mother and Next Friend of B.B., a Minor PLAINTIFF
JEFFERSON COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS a/k/a JEFFERSON COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION, ET AL. DEFENDANTS
Charles R. Simpson III, Senior Judge United States District
matter is before the court on motions by defendants,
Jefferson County Board of Education (“JCBE”) and
Assistant Principal Jeff Jennings (collectively “School
Defendants”) and Louisville-Jefferson County Metro
Government (“Louisville Metro”) and Officer Sean
Jones (collectively “SRO Defendants”) for summary
judgment. ECF No. 30, 33. For the reasons below, the court
will grant both motions.
case arises from an incident at Pleasure Ridge Park High
School (“PRP”) involving two female students, B.B
and S.R. On January 27, 2015, S.R. reported to Assistant
Principal Jeff Jennings that she was being harassed and
threatened by B.B. Jennings Aff., ECF No. 30-2, ¶ 2.
S.R. alleged that B.B. planned to physically fight her before
third period that day. Id. This was reportedly due
to the fact that S.R. had instituted a legal action against
C.O.-one of B.B.'s male friends-for unwanted sexual
subsequently investigated S.R.'s claims. Id. at
¶ 3. He spoke with several students and
collected their written statements. Ex. 1-A, ECF No. 30-3.
Three statements clearly support S.R.'s allegation that
B.B. wanted to physically fight her. One student, D.H.,
stated that when he went to the second floor of the school,
there were “people standing around everywhere and B.B.
was there telling them all that she was waiting for S.R. and
that she was going to fight her.” Id. at 8. A
second student, B.Y., stated that “B.B. was planning to
fight [S.R.] because [B.B.'s] ex that goes here named
[C.O.] touched [S.R.] under her shirt.” Id. at
5. A third student, S.J.R., stated that “there was
going to be a fight” between B.B. and S.R. Id.
at p. 6.
other students claimed that B.B. intended to confront S.R.
One statement made by R.H. claimed that she “got a
Snapchat from B.B. saying that she was going to expose S.R. .
. . because S.R. was lying about B.B.'s ex touching her
and she needed to learn her lesson.” Id. at 2.
She further claimed that she would confront S.R. at
“either 3rd or 5th period.”
Id. Another statement made by B.D. claimed that B.B.
“was going to confront S.R. about getting [C.O.]
suspended and about going to Mr. [Stinson] saying B.B. was
bullying her.” Id. at 3.
reviewing these written statements, Jennings called B.B. to
the conference room to discuss the situation. Jennings Aff.,
ECF No. 30-2, ¶ 6. He informed B.B. of the allegations
against her and the written statements he had collected.
Jennings Aff., ECF No. 30-2, ¶ 6; B.B. Dep., ECF No.
35-1, p. 6. B.B. admitted that she planned to
confront S.R., but denied that she intended to physically
fight her. Id. Jennings then asked B.B. to name some
students who would support her account. Jennings Aff., ECF
No. 30-2, ¶ 7; B.B. Dep., ECF No. 35-1, p. 6. B.B.
provided him with the names of a couple of students that
might help. Id.
then left the conference room to speak with the students B.B.
had mentioned. B.B. Dep. ECF No. 35-1, p. 6. Only one of
these students, M.M ., supported B.B.'s account, stating
that B.B. “just wanted to talk to [S.R.] and never
bullied her . . .” Jennings Aff., ECF No. 30-2, ¶
7; Ex. 1-A, ECF No. 30-3. The other student B.B. named gave a
statement that was irrelevant to the issue. Ex. 1-A, ECF No.
point, Jennings also reviewed the security footage from the
cameras outside S.R.'s third period class. Jennings Aff.,
ECF No. 30-2, ¶ 4. This footage corroborated several of
the written statements, as it showed B.B. arrive outside of
S.R.'s third period classroom, throw her backpack on the
floor, and take a wide-legged stance directly in the middle
of the hallway. Ex. 1-B, ECF No. 30-4. A group of students
then crowded around B.B. Id.
considered S.R. and B.B.'s statements, the written
statements from other students, and the video footage,
Jennings issued B.B. a six-day suspension for harassing
another student. Jennings Aff., ECF No. 30-2, ¶ 15; Ex.
1-E, ECF No. 30-7. He also called in PRP's School
Resource Officer (“SRO”), Officer Sean Jones, to
assess whether B.B.'s conduct violated any laws. Jennings
Aff., ECF No. 30-2, ¶ 8. Officer Jones reviewed the
evidence that Jennings had collected and determined that B.B.
had in fact broken several laws, including intimidating a
participant in the legal process, terroristic threatening in
the third degree, harassment, and menacing. Jones Dep., ECF
No. 33-7, p. 2. Accordingly, Officer Jones placed B.B. under
arrest. Id. After reading B.B. her Miranda
rights and placing her in handcuffs, he escorted her to his
squad car and transported her to Jefferson County Youth
Center (JCYC). Id. In accordance with PRP's
policy, Assistant Principal Jason Stinson accompanied B.B. in
the patrol car. Stinson Dep., ECF No. 35-4, p. 2.
October 16, 2015, the juvenile court issued an order
dismissing the charges against B.B. without prejudice. ECF
No. 1-2, p. 17. Two months later, B.B.'s mother, Gwenever
Boyd (hereinafter “Boyd”), brought suit in
Jefferson Circuit Court. Pl. Complaint, ECF No. 1-2.
Boyd's complaint alleges that Jennings and Officer Jones
violated B.B.'s constitutional rights to freedom from
unreasonable search and seizure, due process, and equal
protection, while acting under color of state law.
Id. at ¶¶ 7-11. It further alleges that
Jennings and Officer Jones assaulted, falsely imprisoned, and
maliciously prosecuted B.B. Id. at ¶¶ 15,
20, 25. Additionally, the complaint alleges that JCBE and
Louisville Metro are liable for these § 1983 and state
law claims, as Jennings and Officer Jones were acting in
their official capacities. Id. at ¶¶
12-13, 17, 23, 29. The case was removed to this court on
January 11, 2016. Id. at p. 1.
trial court shall grant summary judgment in a case “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). The party moving
for summary judgment bears the initial burden of
“demonstrating that [there is] no genuine issue of
material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). If the
moving party satisfies this burden, the burden then shifts to
the nonmoving party to “point to evidence demonstrating
that there is a genuine issue of material fact for
trial.” Id. at 323 (emphasis added).
considering a motion for summary judgment, the court must
consider the facts in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378,
127 S.Ct. 1769, 167 L.Ed.2d 686 (2007). However, the
nonmoving party “must do more than simply 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). There must actually be “evidence on which the
jury could reasonably find for the [nonmoving] party.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252,
106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986).
Section 1983 Claims
of Boyd's complaint alleges that Jennings and Officer
Jones, acting under color of state law, violated B.B.'s
Fourth Amendment right to freedom from unreasonable search
and seizure, Fourteenth Amendment right to due process, and
Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection of the law
when they “unlawfully restrained, detained, arrested,
and charged B.B., or caused her to be charged, with
committing crimes of Intimidating a Participant in the Legal
Process, Menacing, Terroristic Threatening 3rd
Degree, and Harassment-No Physical Contact.” Pl.
Complaint, ECF No. 1-2, ¶ 7. It further alleges that
JCBE and Louisville Metro are liable because Jennings and
Officer Jones were “acting in their official capacities
and within the scope of their employment.” Id.
at ¶¶ 12, 13.
Claims Against Jennings and Officer Jones in Their
officials performing discretionary functions are generally
shielded from “liability for civil damages, insofar as
their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory
or constitutional rights.” Harlow v.
Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818, 102 S.Ct. 2727, 73
L.Ed.2d 396 (1982). To overcome the defense of qualified
immunity, a plaintiff must demonstrate that (1) a statutory
or constitutional right has been violated; and (2) that the
right was ‘clearly established' at the time of the
violation. Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194, 201, 121
S.Ct. 2151, 150 L.Ed.2d 272 (2001).
Illegal Search and Seizure
Boyd alleges that Jennings and Officer Jones violated
B.B.'s Fourth Amendment right to freedom ...