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Case Name Lopez v. Metro. Gov’t of Nashville & Davidson Cnty. ED-TN-0002
Docket / Court 3:07-CV-00799 ( M.D. Tenn. )
State/Territory Tennessee
Case Type(s) Education
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
In July 2007, a special education student who was sexually assaulted and harassed by other students sued the Board of Education for the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools ("MNPS") in Tennessee state court. The plaintiff later added Genesis Learning Center, the school he attended, as a defendant. ... read more >
In July 2007, a special education student who was sexually assaulted and harassed by other students sued the Board of Education for the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools ("MNPS") in Tennessee state court. The plaintiff later added Genesis Learning Center, the school he attended, as a defendant. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, asked the court for punitive damages and attorneys' fees, claiming that the defendants violated 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Tennessee state law due to their deliberate indifference towards the plaintiff's special needs and the harassment he experienced; failure to train and supervise bus drivers; retaliation against the plaintiff based on his exercise of constitutional and statutory rights; breach of special custodial arrangement; a state-created danger; and violation of due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. Finally, the plaintiff claimed that the defendants' failure to properly perform their respective duties to provide plaintiff as a disabled student with appropriate transportation, violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and their indifference to sexual conduct based on the plaintiff's sex violated Title IX, 20 U.S.C. § 1681.

The case was removed to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee on August 2, 2007. In his complaint, the plaintiff sought class certification on behalf of similarly situated special education students, but this request was denied on April 1, 2008 (Judge Robert L. Echols). On September 14, 2007, the Board of Education was dismissed from the action and replaced with the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County ("Metro").

After almost a year of discovery, the United States moved to intervene on behalf of the plaintiff on September 10, 2008 and the Court (Magistrate Judge Juliet E. Griffin) granted the motion on November 4. See Lopez v. Metro. Gov't of Nashville & Davidson Cnty., No. 3-07-0799, 2008 WL4831318, at *1 (M.D. Tenn. Nov. 4, 2008).

On January 15, 2009, all parties cross-moved for summary judgment. On July 7, 2009, the Court (Judge Robert L. Echols) denied the plaintiffs' motions for summary judgment. Lopez v. Metro. Gov't of Nashville & Davidson Cnty., 646 F. Supp. 2d 891, 922 (M.D. Tenn. 2009). The Court also denied in part and granted in part the defendants' motions for summary judgment. See id. The Court granted Genesis' Motion regarding plaintiff's § 1983, Americans With Disabilities Act, and Rehabilitation Act claims, leaving plaintiff's Title IX and state negligence claims standing against them. See id. As for Metro, the Court granted its motion regarding plaintiff's Equal Protection, failure to train, ADA, and Rehabilitation Act claims, but denied the motion in regard to plaintiff's state law negligence and state-created danger claims under § 1983, and his Title IX claims. See id.

On February 9, 2010, the Court entered a consent decree and settlement negotiated between the United States and Metro, dismissing Metro from the case. The decree required Metro, overseen by the United States, to eliminate unreasonable risks of sexual harassment to students with disabilities attending MNPS schools and to establish reporting requirements and bus monitors. The settlement required Metro to pay the plaintiff $1,475,000, attorneys' fees amounting to $85,618.13; a contribution of no more than $139,539.18 to the plaintiff's insurance company; and $25,000 to the plaintiff's mother for travel and time spent away from work. On February 23, 2010, the United States was dismissed from the case, as its claims were dealt with in the decree.

After continued discovery, Genesis and the plaintiff went to trial, and the jury returned a judgment in favor of Genesis on March 17, 2010. On June 3, 2010, Genesis' motion for costs was dismissed without prejudice, and their motion for attorney's fees was denied. The Court also denied the plaintiff's motion for a new trial and his motion for oral argument.

On June 16, 2010, the plaintiff appealed the court's order granting the defendant's motion for summary judgment (July 7, 2009) and the court's order denying plaintiff's motion for new trial (June 3, 2010) to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. On June 30, 2010, Genesis cross-appealed. On July 12, 2010, the Court taxed costs against the plaintiff in favor of Genesis for $10,263.06.

On September 7, 2010, the case was remanded from the Court of Appeals to the District Court, based on an agreement reached in the parties' settlement discussions. On September 8, the Court (Judge Juliet E. Griffin) entered the parties' settlement, which required Genesis to pay the plaintiff $25,000 and for the parties' appeals to be dismissed with prejudice. On November 15, 2010, the Court dismissed the case with prejudice, constituting the final judgment in the case.

Stella Cernak - 03/23/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Busing
Discrimination Prohibition
Goals and Timekeeping
Magnet school
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Disability
Mental impairment
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Aggressive behavior
Excessive force
Failure to discipline
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
Individualized planning
Record-keeping
Records Disclosure
Special education
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Medical/Mental Health
Intellectual disability/mental illness dual diagnosis
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq.
State law
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Genesis Learning Center
Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County
Plaintiff Description A special education student suffering from mental and emotional disabilities who was harassed and sexually assaulted while riding the school bus.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2010 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2010
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Courts and Kids: Pursuing Educational Equity Through the State Courts
By: Michael Rebell (Columbia University, and Campaign for Educational Equity)
Citation: (University of Chicago Press, 2009)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Links Dear Colleague Letter: Athletic Activities Counted for Title IX Compliance
http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html
Posted: Sep. 17, 2008
By: United States Department of Education—Office of Civil Rights (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
3:07-CV-00799 (M.D. Tenn.) 11/15/2010
ED-TN-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum [Regarding Attorneys' Fees] (M.D. Tenn.)
ED-TN-0002-0011.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Regarding Attorneys' Fees] (M.D. Tenn.)
ED-TN-0002-0012.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Removal [Original Complaint Attached] 08/02/2007
ED-TN-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 04/01/2008 (2008 WL 913085) (M.D. Tenn.)
ED-TN-0002-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Fourth Amended Complaint 06/27/2008
ED-TN-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Complaint in Intervention 09/10/2008
ED-TN-0002-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum [Denying Motions for Summary Judgment] 07/07/2009 (646 F.Supp.2d 891) (M.D. Tenn.)
ED-TN-0002-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Decree 01/27/2010
ED-TN-0002-0017.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Approving Minor Settlement] 02/09/2010 (M.D. Tenn.)
ED-TN-0002-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Denying Motions in Limine] 02/23/2010 (M.D. Tenn.)
ED-TN-0002-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment in a Civil Case [Entering Judgment in Favor of Defendant] 03/18/2010 (M.D. Tenn.)
ED-TN-0002-0010.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum [Concerning Attorneys' Fees] 06/03/2010 (2010 WL 2265696) (M.D. Tenn.)
ED-TN-0002-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Appeal 06/16/2010
ED-TN-0002-0013.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Cross Appeal 06/30/2010
ED-TN-0002-0014.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Petition for an Order Approving Minor Settlement 08/30/2010
ED-TN-0002-0015.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Approving Settlement] 09/08/2010 (M.D. Tenn.)
ED-TN-0002-0016.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Dismissing Case] 11/15/2010 (M.D. Tenn.)
ED-TN-0002-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Echols, Robert L. (M.D. Tenn.)
ED-TN-0002-0004 | ED-TN-0002-0005 | ED-TN-0002-0006 | ED-TN-0002-0008 | ED-TN-0002-0009 | ED-TN-0002-0010 | ED-TN-0002-0011 | ED-TN-0002-0012
Griffin, Juliet E. (M.D. Tenn.) [Magistrate]
ED-TN-0002-0007 | ED-TN-0002-0016 | ED-TN-0002-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Becker, Grace Chung (District of Columbia)
ED-TN-0002-0003
Berman, Amy I. (District of Columbia)
ED-TN-0002-0003 | ED-TN-0002-0017 | ED-TN-0002-9000
Blackburn, William Gary (Tennessee)
ED-TN-0002-0001 | ED-TN-0002-0013 | ED-TN-0002-0015 | ED-TN-0002-0017 | ED-TN-0002-9000
Clemmons, John R. (Tennessee)
ED-TN-0002-0013 | ED-TN-0002-0015 | ED-TN-0002-0017 | ED-TN-0002-9000
Fischbach, Jonathan (District of Columbia)
ED-TN-0002-0003 | ED-TN-0002-0017 | ED-TN-0002-9000
Glassman, Jeremiah (District of Columbia)
ED-TN-0002-0003
Homlar, Robert T. (Tennessee)
ED-TN-0002-0001 | ED-TN-0002-9000
McCune, Malcolm L. (Tennessee)
ED-TN-0002-0013 | ED-TN-0002-0015 | ED-TN-0002-9000
McLaurin, Luke A. (District of Columbia)
ED-TN-0002-9000
Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)
ED-TN-0002-0017
Wildasin, Mark H. (Tennessee)
ED-TN-0002-0003 | ED-TN-0002-0017 | ED-TN-0002-9000
Yarbrough, Edward M. (Tennessee)
ED-TN-0002-0003 | ED-TN-0002-0017
Defendant's Lawyers Bay, R. Dale (Tennessee)
ED-TN-0002-9000 | ED-TN-0002-9000
Bergeron, Jason M. (Tennessee)
ED-TN-0002-9000
Blair, Keith W. (Tennessee)
ED-TN-0002-9000
Bussell, Allison L. (Tennessee)
ED-TN-0002-0017 | ED-TN-0002-9000 | ED-TN-0002-9000
Chamness, Jay N. (Tennessee)
ED-TN-0002-0014 | ED-TN-0002-0015 | ED-TN-0002-9000
Charles, James Lawrence (Tennessee)
ED-TN-0002-0017
Farrar, James W.J. (Tennessee)
ED-TN-0002-0002 | ED-TN-0002-9000
Klein, Kevin C. (Tennessee)
ED-TN-0002-0017 | ED-TN-0002-9000 | ED-TN-0002-9000
Mink, Thomas F. II (Tennessee)
ED-TN-0002-9000
Rose, Benjamin M. (Tennessee)
ED-TN-0002-0014 | ED-TN-0002-0015 | ED-TN-0002-9000
Simms, James K. (Tennessee)
ED-TN-0002-0014 | ED-TN-0002-0015 | ED-TN-0002-9000
Young, Francis Howard (Tennessee)
ED-TN-0002-0002 | ED-TN-0002-9000
Other Lawyers Tennent, Richard L. (Tennessee)
ED-TN-0002-9000

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