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Jensen v. Indianapolis Public Schools

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

May 31, 2018

WILLIAM W JENSEN, Plaintiff,
v.
INDIANAPOLIS PUBLIC SCHOOLS, BOARD OF SCHOOL COMMISSIONERS FOR THE CITY OF INDIANAPOLIS, MARY ANN SULLIVAN Individually and in her Official Capacity, SAM ODLE Individually and in his Official Capacity, LANIER ECHOLS Individually and in her Official Capacity, MICHAEL O'CONNOR Individually and in his Official Capacity, GAYLE COSBY Individually and in her Official Capacity, KELLY BENTLEY Individually and in her Official Capacity, DIANE ARNOLD Individually and in her Official Capacity, Defendants.

          ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO AMEND COMPLAINT

          Doris L. Pryor, United States Magistrate Judge Southern District of Indiana

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to Amend/Correct the Complaint (Dkt. 69), wherein Plaintiff seeks to add seven additional Defendants. The motion was referred to the undersigned for ruling. Having examined the facts in light of the applicable standards, the Court GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART said Motion.

         Procedural History

         On July 29, 2016, Plaintiff filed his Complaint, alleging violations of procedural and substantive due process rights under both federal and state law. (Dkt. 1). On July 28, 2017, this Court issued an Order on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. 52), summarizing the procedural and factual history of this case. The Court noted that the Complaint asserted “essentially three distinct federal claims against Defendants, specifically: 1) failure to reschedule the hearing and provide proper notice of Jensen's alleged wrongdoing in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; 2) failure to advise Jensen of his Garrity rights in violation of the Fifth Amendment; and 3) arbitrary and capricious termination in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.” (Dkt. 52 at 10). The Court disposed of Count I, which related to the failure to reschedule the hearing before the Board, and Count III, which related to the deprivation of Jensen's Garrity rights. The Court further determined that the time was not yet ripe for a determination related to the Defendants' qualified immunity claim due to a lack of information before the Court.[1] On December 28, 2017, the deadline by which to amend any pleadings, the Plaintiff filed his Motion to Amend/Correct the Complaint (Dkt. 69).

         Factual Summary

         In 2016, William Jensen (“Jensen”) was working for Indianapolis Public Schools (“IPS”) as Assistant Principal of Longfellow Alternative School. On February 17, 2016, a parent reported to Jensen about an inappropriate sexual relationship between a student and Longfellow employee and counselor, Shana Taylor (“Taylor”). After receiving said information, Jensen contacted the Director of Student Services, Deborah Leser (“Leser”), for guidance. Jensen immediately contacted Lela Hester (“Hester”), the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for IPS, who advised him not to involve the police. A week later, the story became public. In early March 2016, Jensen was interviewed by David Given, an attorney for IPS, to investigate Jensen's failure to report the incident to the police.

         On May 31, 2016, Jensen received a letter notifying him of a preliminary decision to cancel his employment contract with IPS. On June 23, 2016, a hearing was held before the Board of School Commissioners for the City of Indianapolis (“Board” or “the Board”) to determine whether Jensen's employment should be terminated. One week later on June 30, 2016, the Board unanimously voted to cancel Jensen's employment contracts based on insubordination and neglect of duty.

         Legal Standard

         Here, the Plaintiff has filed for leave to amend his complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 15(a)(2). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2) governs that a leave to amend “shall be freely given when justice so requires.” However, where the proposed amendment would be futile, the Court may deny leave to amend. Runnion ex el. Runnion v. Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, 786 F.3d 510, 520 (7th Cir. 2015) (citing Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962)). “A motion to amend should state with particularity the grounds for the motion and should be accompanied by the proposed amendment.” Otto v. Variable Annuity Life Ins. Co., 814 F.2d 1127, 1139 (7th Cir. 1986). If the proposed amendment fails to cure the deficiencies in the original complaint, or could not survive a motion to dismiss, the court may deny leave to amend. Gonzalez-Koeneke v. West, 791 F.3d 801, 807 (7th Cir. 2015).

         Discussion

         David Given

         Plaintiff seeks to add David Given as a Defendant to Count III of the Proposed Amended Complaint, which alleges that the Defendants failed to advise Jensen of his Garrity rights in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. (Dkt. 69-2 at 24-25). As noted above, the Court dismissed this claim on July 28, 2017. Once a particular count of a Complaint has been dismissed by the Court, it may not then be resurrected upon amendment, absent providing additional information or factual support. In his Proposed Amended Complaint, the Plaintiff does not include any new factual information or allegations, but instead restates verbatim the original Count. (Dkt. 1 at 21-22; Dkt. 69-2 at 6-7, 16, 24-25). The Court found this Count to be without merit then and it remains without merit now and could not withstand a motion to dismiss. The Plaintiff has failed to cure the deficiencies in the original complaint. Therefore, Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend the Complaint to add David Given as a Defendant is DENIED.

         Jonathan Mayes

         Plaintiff seeks to add Jonathan Mayes (“Mayes”) as a Defendant to Counts I, II, IV, and V of the Proposed Amended Complaint. The Court dismissed Count I of the Plaintiff's Complaint on July 28, 2017 (Dkt. 52 at 13). The Court found that the Plaintiff had failed to show that his due process rights were violated by the Defendants' decision not to reschedule the Board meeting, because Jensen could have designated counsel to attend the meeting on his behalf or could have presented his case through a writing. (Id.). Because the Plaintiff adds no additional information or ...


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