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Case Name Meyers v. Cincinnati Board of Education ED-OH-0006
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-00521 ( S.D. Ohio )
State/Territory Ohio
Case Type(s) Education
Case Summary
On August 7, 2017, plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, filed suit against relevant staff at Carson Elementary School (in the Cincinnati Public School District), the Cincinnati Board of Education and Superintendent on behalf of their deceased son in the United States District Court for the ... read more >
On August 7, 2017, plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, filed suit against relevant staff at Carson Elementary School (in the Cincinnati Public School District), the Cincinnati Board of Education and Superintendent on behalf of their deceased son in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. Plaintiffs’ son was an eight-year-old child who committed suicide after suffering extensive violent bullying. After the child’s autopsy had been conducted, it was revealed that school staff failed to inform plaintiffs that the child had been violently attacked and left unconscious for seven minutes two days before his death.

Plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sued under § 1983, alleging, among other causes of action including state torts, that their child’s Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process and equal protection were violated. Claims against due process were grounded in the right to be kept safe when a special relationship has been created and the right to be free from government action that shocks the conscience. Plaintiffs alleged their child’s right to equal protection had been violated by the difference in how the school handled students who were victims of bullying versus students involved in accidents because parents of students in accidents were properly informed of the circumstances. Plaintiffs sought compensatory and punitive damages, attorney fees, prejudgment interest, and any other relief deemed appropriate by the court. The presiding judge in the Southern District of Ohio was Timothy S. Black.

Defendants filed a motion to dismiss all claims, arguing that the actions described in the complaint failed to constitute adequate pleadings for violations of due process and equal protection. On September 24, 2018, the court granted the motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ claim that the school-student relationship constitutes a “special relationship” and therefore a constitutional duty. The court further found that holding the the school liable for failing to report child abuse would be an overbroad reading of the state statute. The court denied dismissal of the remaining claims. Court also granted plaintiffs’ motion to amend their complaint to include the school nurse as a defendant and add a new basis for municipal liability. 343 F.Supp.3d 714.

In response to the district court denying their motion to dismiss in part, defendants filed an appeal with the Sixth Circuit based on the Board of Education’s claim for statutory immunity under the Ohio Political Subdivision Tort Liability. Defendants also filed a motion for leave to appeal and motion to stay pending appeal. The motion requested that the court certify three questions to address upon interlocutory appeal: (1). What constitutes an affirmative act to establish a state-created danger claim; (2). What constitutes a conscience-shocking behavior to establish a “shocks the conscience” claim; and (3). Whether an individual can be a member of both the favored and disfavored classes of an equal protection claim. The Sixth Circuit denied the petition for interlocutory appeal on March 26, 2019 because plaintiffs’ claims were fact-dependent and resolution required further development. On December 29, 2020, the Sixth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of the motion to dismiss on the basis that the “recklessness” of the defendants’ behavior alleged in the complaint precluded the defendants from utilizing government immunity. 983 F.3d 873.

An acrimonious discovery process between the two parties ensued, including a motion to compel granted in part and denied in part for student records. The discovery process commenced on June 25, 2020, and continued until the qualified settlement was reached on April 19, 2021. The qualified settlement included both monetary and non-monetary terms under the stipulations of dismissing the case with prejudice and a protective order. The defendants agreed to pay $3,000,000.00 into a settlement fund by June 10, 2021. Non-monetary terms included instituting processes to address the issue of bullying in the Cincinnati Public School System and associated monitoring and training for staff. Precise details of the settlement were unavailable. On June 21, 2021, Judge Black signed the order dismissing the case.

Hannah Juge - 10/15/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Training
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
General
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Suicide prevention
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
State law
Defendant(s) Cincinnati Board of Education
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are the mother and father of the deceased child.
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2021 - n/a
Filed 08/07/2017
Case Closing Year 2021
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
S.D. Ohio
06/21/2021
1:17-cv-00521-TSB
ED-OH-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
S.D. Ohio
08/07/2017
Complaint and Jury Demand [ECF# 1]
ED-OH-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Ohio
09/24/2018
Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion to Amend the Complaint and Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 26] (343 F.Supp.3d 714)
ED-OH-0006-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Ohio
09/25/2018
First Amended Complaint and Jury Demand [ECF# 27]
ED-OH-0006-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Ohio
02/05/2019
Order Granting Defendants' Motion for Leave to Appeal and Motion doe Stay Pending Appeal (Doc. 29) [ECF# 38]
ED-OH-0006-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
U.S. Court of Appeals
12/29/2020
Opinion [Ct. of App. ECF# 58] (983 F.3d 873)
ED-OH-0006-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Westlaw
S.D. Ohio
06/08/2021
Joint Motion and Application to Establish Qualified Settlement Fund [ECF# 96]
ED-OH-0006-0007.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Ohio
06/08/2021
Order Establishing Qualified Settlement Fund and Appointing Fund Adminstrator [ECF# 97]
ED-OH-0006-0008.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Ohio
06/16/2021
Settlement Agreement and Release [ECF# 100-1]
ED-OH-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Barrett, Michael Ryan (S.D. Ohio) show/hide docs
ED-OH-0006-9000
Black, Timothy Seymour (S.D. Ohio) show/hide docs
ED-OH-0006-0003 | ED-OH-0006-0005 | ED-OH-0006-0008 | ED-OH-0006-9000
Donald, Bernice Bouie (W.D. Tenn., Sixth Circuit) show/hide docs
ED-OH-0006-0006
Griffin, Richard Allen (Sixth Circuit) show/hide docs
ED-OH-0006-0006
Stranch, Jane Branstetter (Sixth Circuit) show/hide docs
ED-OH-0006-0006
Plaintiff's Lawyers Branch, Jennifer L. (Ohio) show/hide docs
ED-OH-0006-0002 | ED-OH-0006-0004 | ED-OH-0006-9000
Bratton, Janaya Trotter (Ohio) show/hide docs
ED-OH-0006-0002 | ED-OH-0006-0004 | ED-OH-0006-9000
Byers, Christopher Dale (Ohio) show/hide docs
ED-OH-0006-0007 | ED-OH-0006-9000
Gerhardstein, Alphonse A. (Ohio) show/hide docs
ED-OH-0006-0002 | ED-OH-0006-0004 | ED-OH-0006-0007 | ED-OH-0006-0008 | ED-OH-0006-9000
Hammond, Christine Marie (Ohio) show/hide docs
ED-OH-0006-0007 | ED-OH-0006-9000
Hyatt, Mary Caroline (Ohio) show/hide docs
ED-OH-0006-0007 | ED-OH-0006-9000
Leader, Carl (Ohio) show/hide docs
ED-OH-0006-0002 | ED-OH-0006-0004 | ED-OH-0006-0007 | ED-OH-0006-9000
Young, Gregory Scott (Ohio) show/hide docs
ED-OH-0006-0002 | ED-OH-0006-0004 | ED-OH-0006-0007 | ED-OH-0006-9000
Young, Michele (Ohio) show/hide docs
ED-OH-0006-0002 | ED-OH-0006-0004 | ED-OH-0006-0007 | ED-OH-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Cowan, Spencer S (Ohio) show/hide docs
ED-OH-0006-0007 | ED-OH-0006-9000
Herzig, Aaron Mark (Ohio) show/hide docs
ED-OH-0006-0007 | ED-OH-0006-0008 | ED-OH-0006-9000
Hoying, Daniel Joseph (Ohio) show/hide docs
ED-OH-0006-0007 | ED-OH-0006-9000
Smith, Ian R (Ohio) show/hide docs
ED-OH-0006-9000
Stackpole, Peter J. (Ohio) show/hide docs
ED-OH-0006-9000
Welch, John B (Ohio) show/hide docs
ED-OH-0006-0007 | ED-OH-0006-0008 | ED-OH-0006-9000
Williamson, Philip D. (Ohio) show/hide docs
ED-OH-0006-0007 | ED-OH-0006-9000
Winters, Ralph Gary (Ohio) show/hide docs
ED-OH-0006-9000
Woerner, Emily (Ohio) show/hide docs
ED-OH-0006-0007 | ED-OH-0006-9000

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