United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
Magistrate Judge Kimberly A. Jolson
OPINION AND ORDER
D. MORRISON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for
Partial Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 33.) Plaintiff filed a
Memorandum in Opposition to the Motion (ECF No. 38), and
Defendants filed a Reply (ECF No. 41). The matter is now ripe
this is a motion for summary judgment by the defendants, all
disputed facts are construed in the light most favorable to
the plaintiff. Davenport v. Causey, 521 F.3d 544,
546 (6th Cir. 2008).
relevant here, on January 7, 2019, Plaintiff Toni Gallow
filed her Second Amended Complaint (ECF No. 26) in which she
alleges one federal cause of action and seven state causes of
action against Defendants East Guernsey Local School District
Board of Education (“East Guernsey”) and Adam
Pittis. The sole federal cause of action that Ms. Gallow
alleges (Count One) is a violation of her Fourteen Amendment
due process rights by Adam Pittis, in both his individual and
official capacities. The relevant allegations from Ms.
Gallow's complaint are as follows.
Gallow is a teacher who has been employed by East Guernsey
since 2003. (ECF No. 26 ¶¶ 15, 17, 72.) In addition
to her teaching responsibilities, Ms. Gallow has held more
than a dozen supplemental positions, including as a Home
Tutor, Yearbook Advisor, Resident Educator Mentor, and Head
Boys & Girls Track Coach (the “supplemental
positions”). (Id. ¶¶ 17, 20.) With
respect to her teaching position, Ms. Gallow has the job
security that tenure provides; however, with respect to the
supplemental positions, she has been required to reapply
annually for any positions that she sought. (Id.
¶ 20; ECF Nos. 26-3 - 26-6.) Each year, Ms. Gallow
reapplied for various supplemental positions, and each year
she signed a one-year contract for each position she was
granted. (ECF No. 26 ¶ 20; ECF Nos. 26-3 - 26-6.) The
contracts for her supplemental positions all expressly
provide that they expire at the end of the applicable school
year and that the supplemental positions do not carry with
them any right to a continuing contract or a notice of
nonrenewal. (ECF Nos. 26-3 - 26-6.)
Guernsey procedure requires each interested teacher applying
for a supplemental position to submit a letter of interest to
the office of the superintendent. (ECF No. 26 ¶ 32.) It
is then the superintendent's prerogative whether to
recommend to East Guernsey to grant the contract.
(Id.) East Guernsey has the ultimate say in whether
to grant or deny each request for a contract for a
supplemental position. (Id.)
summer 2015, East Guernsey hired Mr. Pittis to be the new
superintendent for the school district. (Id. ¶
26.) In June 2016, Ms. Gallow submitted letters of interest
to Mr. Pittis's office for seven supplemental positions
for the 2016-17 school year. (Id. ¶¶
31-32, 52.) Ms. Gallow had previously been appointed to these
seven positions, often many times before. (Id.
¶¶ 20, 25, 31.)
September 9, 2016, Ms. Gallow and Mr. Pittis attended a
meeting during which Mr. Pittis accused Ms. Gallow of a
crime. (Id. ¶¶ 37-38.) Specifically, Mr.
Pittis accused Ms. Gallow of falsifying her time sheets and
“double billing.” (Id. ¶¶
38-39.) At two subsequent meetings, Ms. Gallow provided
evidence to Mr. Pittis to refute his allegations.
(Id. ¶¶ 43-44, 48.) However, Mr. Pittis
told Ms. Gallow that he would not be recommending renewal of
most of her supplemental contracts for the 2016-17 school
year, seemingly based on his suspicions of wrongdoing by Ms.
Gallow. (Id. ¶¶ 45, 49.) As a result, Ms.
Gallow received contracts for only three of the seven
supplemental positions for which she applied. (ECF Nos. 26-4
to these meetings, Mr. Pittis told other East Guernsey
employees about his suspicions that Ms. Gallow had been
double billing. (ECF No. 26 ¶ 56.) Rumors began to
spread, and Ms. Gallow became the subject of significant
gossip in the community. (ECF No. 26 ¶¶ 60- 62.)
Based on all of this, on October 24, 2017, and again on
November 6, 2017, Ms. Gallow requested that she be granted a
name-clearing hearing in order to prove that the allegations
were false. (Id. ¶¶ 66-67.) Mr. Pittis
denied both requests. (Id. ¶ 67.)
Gallow alleges that Mr. Pittis's refusal to allow her a
name-clearing hearing has deprived her of her liberty
interest in her reputation, good name, honor, and integrity,
in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment. (Id. ¶¶ 78, 80.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
judgment is appropriate when “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
movant has the burden of establishing there are no genuine
issues of material fact, which may be achieved by
demonstrating the nonmoving party lacks evidence to support
an essential element of its claim. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Barnhart v.
Pickrel, Schaeffer & Ebeling Co., 12 F.3d
1382, 1388-89 (6th Cir.1993). The burden then shifts to the
nonmoving party to “ ‘set forth specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.' ”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250
(1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56). When evaluating a motion
for summary judgment, the evidence must be viewed in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party. Adickes v.
S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 158-59 (1970).
genuine issue exists if the nonmoving party can present
“significant probative evidence” to show that
“there is [more than] some metaphysical doubt as to the
material facts.” Moore v. Philip Morris Cos.,
8 F.3d 335, 339-40 (6th Cir. 1993). In other words,
“summary judgment will not lie . . . if the evidence is
such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248;
see also Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (concluding that summary
judgment is appropriate when the evidence could not lead the
trier of fact to find for the non-moving party).
have filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on the
grounds that qualified immunity is a bar to liability on
Count One, the only federal claim. (ECF No. 33, at 1.)
Defendants then argue that the Court should decline to
exercise supplemental ...