United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
WALTON PRATT, United States District Court Judge
matter is before the Court on the Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
56, with respect to claims filed by Plaintiff Benjamin Lee
(“Lee”). (Filing No. 41.) Lee alleges
that he suffered harassment, discrimination, and abuse from
his guidance counselor, Darrell Hughes
(“Hughes”). (Filing No. 1.) In
particular, Lee alleges that the Defendants Hughes, New
Castle Community School Corporation (“the School
Corporation”), Greg Wood (“Wood”), and Amy
Blake (“Blake”) (collectively, “the
Defendants”) violated the Fourteenth Amendment to the
United States Constitution, 42 U.S.C. § 1983
(“Section 1983”), and 20 U.S.C. § 1681
(“Title IX”) by perpetrating the abuse and/or
allowing it to occur and continue. (Filing No. 1.)
On March 3, 2016, the Court granted the parties'
Unopposed Joint Motion for Leave to File Motion for Summary
Judgment on the Statute of Limitations Issue Only.
(Filing No. 35.) Thus, Defendants move for summary
judgment on the basis that Lee's claims are barred by the
applicable statute of limitations. For the following reasons,
the Court DENIES the Defendants' Motion for Summary
following material facts are not necessarily objectively
true; but, as required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56,
the facts are presented in the light most favorable to Lee as
the non-moving party. See Zerante v. DeLuca, 555
F.3d 582, 584 (7th Cir. 2009); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986).
School Corporation is a public school corporation located in
New Castle, Indiana. (Filing No. 1 at 3.) From 1996
through 2013, the School Corporation operated an alternative
school known as North Campus. (Filing No. 1 at 3.)
At all relevant times, Wood and Blake served as
administrators at North Campus. (Filing No. 1 at
3-4.) The School Corporation hired Hughes as a school
counselor in 1998, and he remained employed there through
January of 2014. (Filing No. 1 at 4.) During the
spring of 2006, when he was 13 years old, Lee attended
Shenandoah Middle School, a middle school within the School
Corporation. (Filing No. 1 at 5.) Lee faced
expulsion from that school, and Hughes encouraged and
facilitated Lee's transfer to North Campus. (Filing
No. 1 at 5.)
conducted one-on-one counseling sessions with students in his
office, and Lee often attended those sessions. (Filing
No. 1 at 6.) During those sessions, Hughes would
sometimes give Lee massages which included rubbing Lee's
back, shoulders, and calves. (Filing No. 1 at 6; Filing
No. 47-1 at 10.) Sometimes Hughes would touch Lee in
open class settings. (Filing No. 1 at 6; Filing
No. 47-1 at 14.) Hughes would often remove Lee from his
classes, including Wood's class, in order to bring Lee to
his office. (Filing No. 1 at 6; Filing No. 47-1
at 5.) When Lee was approximately 14 years old, Hughes
began inviting Lee to his home in Muncie, Indiana.
(Filing No. 1 at 6.) Hughes would offer Lee alcohol
and drugs while at his home. (Filing No. 1 at 6; Filing
No. 47-1 at 16-17.) Lee began selling drugs to Hughes,
and the two would sometimes engage in drug use together.
(Filing No. 1 at 7; Filing No. 47-1 at
13-16.) Hughes also purchased Lee a variety of clothes
and shoes. (Filing No. 1 at 6.) Lee made at least
ten visits to Hughes' home between the ages of 14 and 17.
(Filing No. 47-1 at 16.)
told Lee that he could help Lee pursue a career in modeling,
and under the guise of creating a portfolio, Hughes took
pictures of Lee wearing only underwear. (Filing No. 1 at
6; Filing No. 47-1 at 14-15.) When Lee was a junior in
high school, Hughes may have attempted to fondle Lee's
genitalia during one of Lee's trips to Hughes' home.
(Filing No. 1 at 7; Filing No. 47-1 at 18.)
During one visit, Lee awoke with his pants unbuckled and his
underwear in disarray. (Filing No. 1 at 7;
Filing No. 47-1 at 16-17.) Hughes also encouraged
Lee to take showers at his home. (Filing No. 1 at 7;
Filing No. 47-1 at 17-18.) Hughes would often be
sitting at his computer while Lee showered. (Filing No. 1
at 7; Filing No. 47-1 at 18.) Eventually, Lee
discovered a digital recording device in Hughes'
bathroom. (Filing No. 1 at 10; Filing No. 47-1
at 24.) Lee did not return to Hughes' home after
finding the recording device. (Filing No. 47-1 at
19.) Lee turned 18 on January 29, 2011. (Filing No.
56-1 at 2.)
January 16, 2014, Lee was told by federal and state law
enforcement officials that Hughes had used a video recording
device to record images of Lee while in the shower.
(Filing No. 1 at 14.) Prior to receiving this
information, Lee had not considered that Hughes might have
retained videos and images of him in the shower. (Filing
No. 1 at 14.) Lee filed this Complaint on September 23,
August 3, 2016, Defendants moved for summary judgment,
asserting that Lee's claims were barred by the applicable
statute of limitations.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD
Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides that summary judgment is
appropriate if “the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a
judgment as a matter of law.” Hemsworth v.
Quotesmith.com, Inc., 476 F.3d 487, 489-90 (7th Cir.
2007). In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court
reviews “the record in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party and draw[s] all reasonable inferences in
that party's favor.” Zerante, 555 F.3d at
584 (citation omitted). “However, inferences that are
supported by only speculation or conjecture will not defeat a
summary judgment motion.” Dorsey v. Morgan
Stanley, 507 F.3d 624, 627 (7th Cir. 2007) (citation and
quotation marks omitted). Additionally, “[a] party who
bears the burden of proof on a particular issue may not rest
on its pleadings, but must affirmatively demonstrate, by
specific factual allegations, that there is a genuine issue
of material fact that requires trial.”
Hemsworth, 476 F.3d at 490 (citation omitted).
“The opposing party cannot meet this burden with
conclusory statements or speculation but only with
appropriate citations to relevant admissible evidence.”
Sink v. Knox County Hosp., 900 F.Supp. 1065, 1072
(S.D. Ind. 1995) (citations omitted).
much the same way that a court is not required to scour the
record in search of evidence to defeat a motion for summary
judgment, nor is it permitted to conduct a paper trial on the
merits of [the] claim.” Ritchie v. Glidden
Co., 242 F.3d 713, 723 (7th Cir. 2001) (citations and
quotation marks omitted). “[N]either the mere existence
of some alleged factual dispute between the parties nor the
existence of some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts
is sufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment.”
Chiaramonte v. Fashion Bed Grp., Inc., 129 F.3d 391,
395 (7th Cir. 1997) (citations and quotation marks omitted).
assert that the applicable statute of limitations on
Lee's claims is two years from the date that Lee's
cause of action accrued. (Filing No. 43 at 8-12.)
They argue that Lee's claims accrued, at the latest, in
June 2011 when Lee graduated from high school, meaning that
the statute of limitations expired in June of 2013.
(Filing No. 43 at 14.) Because Lee did not ...