Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Maier v. Canon McMillan School Dist.

August 20, 2009

LORI MAIER AND JAMES MAIER, PERSONALLY AND ON BEHALF OF B.T. A MINOR CHILD, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CANON MCMILLAN SCHOOL DISTRICT, AND LINDA NICHOLS, IN HER INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS FORMER PRINCIPAL, AND MICHELE MOELLER, IN HER INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS SOFTBALL COACH OF CANON MCMILLAN HIGH SCHOOL VARSITY TEAM, AND EUGENE BOOKLITNER, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS FORMER SUPERINTENDENT, AND DR. NICK BAYAT, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS SUPERINTENDENT, AND JUSTIN BEDILION, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS EMPLOYEE AND VOLUNTEER SOFTBALL COACH, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary L. Lancaster District Judge

MEMORANDUM and ORDER

This is an action in civil rights under section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1983; Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a); and Article I, §§ 1, 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution [doc. no. 1]. Plaintiffs bring this action personally and on behalf of their minor child, B.T., against the Canon McMillan School District (the "School District"), Linda Nichols, Michelle Moeller, Eugene Buchleitner, and Dr. Nick Bayat (collectively, "the School District defendants").*fn1

Plaintiffs allege that B.T., while a student at Canon McMillan High School, had a sexual relationship with defendant Justin Bedilion, an employee of and volunteer softball coach for the School District. Plaintiffs allege that the School District defendants violated B.T.'s civil rights by, inter alia, failing to adequately investigate, supervise, and train defendant Bedilion and by failing to effectuate and follow proper policies and procedures to protect students from sexual abuse. Plaintiffs further allege that the School District created and/or permitted an environment of sexual harassment, which deprived B.T. of educational opportunities in violation of Title IX. Finally, plaintiffs allege various state law claims.

Before the court is the School District defendants' motion for summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). [Doc. No. 61]. For the reasons set forth below, the motion will be granted, in part. Judgment will be entered in favor of the School District defendants on all federal claims. The remaining state law claims will be dismissed as asserted against the School District defendants, without prejudice.

I. BACKGROUND

Unless otherwise indicated, the facts set forth below are undisputed.

A. B.T.'s Relationship With Defendant Bedilion

At all relevant times, B.T. was a minor and a student at Canon McMillan High School. In the fall of 2005, B.T. played softball for the Lady Knights recreational fall ball team. In the spring of 2006, B.T. played softball for the Canon McMillan High School junior varsity team. According to B.T., she first met Bedilion during the 2005 fall ball season. Bedilion was then 24 years old and a volunteer assistant softball coach for both the Lady Knights and the Canon McMillan High School softball team. He also worked in the School District's Information Technology (IT) department.

In the fall of 2005 and continuing into 2006, Bedilion socialized with plaintiffs Lori and James Maier, B.T.'s parents, and was a guest in their home on several occasions. Bedilion also made numerous telephone calls to B.T. on his School District-issued cell phone. The monthly cell phone bill for the School District was processed through the School District's business office.

During this same time period, Bedilion made a series of sexual advances to B.T. At some point in the fall of 2005, these sexual advances culminated in sexual activity between B.T. and Bedilion. The activity occurred during and after school, on school property, and in Lori and James Maier's house.

B. Defendant Bedilion's Coaching History

When Bedilion first began coaching for Canon McMillan in 2005, Linda Nichols, the principal of Canon McMillan High School, had a conversation with him regarding appropriate behavior with players. Ms. Nichols told Bedilion that when "first an employee [] it's tough for a young person sometimes to know where to draw that line." [Doc. No. 64 at Exh. D].

Ms. Nichols then had another conversation with Bedilion in approximately fall or winter of 2005. At that time, she told Bedilion and defendant Michelle Moeller, head coach of the Canon McMillan High School girls softball program, to stop their prior practice of giving softball players rides to practice because of liability issues and because it gave rise to an appearance of impropriety. According to Guy Montecalvo, the School District's Athletic Director, once he became aware of the practice, he directed that coaches should not transport athletes in their private vehicles. Before this prohibition, Bedilion and the other coaches regularly gave the softball players rides from the high school to the softball team's indoor practice facility. Afterwards, Ms. Nichols and Ms. Moeller believed that the coaches were no longer giving the girls rides. Despite this directive, however, Bedilion continued to give B.T. rides home after practice. B.T.'s parents, however, were aware that Bedilion gave B.T. rides and had no objection.

In July 2005, Ms. Moeller received a complaint from the parent of another softball player regarding Bedilion's actions. The parent, Mrs. Cross, complained that Bedilion called her daughter and other softball players on the telephone, "goof[ed] around" at tournaments, and drove too fast to games. During that conversation, however, Mrs. Cross also told Ms. Moeller that there was no indication of sexual inappropriateness. At Ms. Moeller's recommendation, Mrs. Cross called Bedilion about her concerns. Afterwards, Mrs. Cross considered the matter to be resolved.

Ms. Moeller was also aware in the fall of 2005 that Bedilion spent the night at the home of another softball player following a softball fundraiser at a local restaurant. It is not in dispute that Bedilion was an invited guest of the softball player's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Pantely. The parents allowed him to sleep overnight in their house so that he would not have to drive after having consumed alcohol.

C. February 10-13, 2006

In February 2006, Ms. Maier reviewed her cell phone bills and discovered that Bedilion and B.T. were exchanging frequent calls at inappropriate hours of the day and night. On Friday, February 10, 2006, Ms. Maier called Ms. Moeller and informed her of the high number of calls between B.T. and Bedilion. That same day, Ms. Maier dropped off her cell phone records to Ms. Moeller and also gave her a passcode to access the records online. Ms. Moeller stated that she "was concerned because she knew some of the seniors on this current year's team had reported to her that [Bedilion] now was acting differently with [B.T.]" [Doc. No. 64 at Exh. B, p.44]. Moeller provided the cell phone records to Ms. Nichols, principal of Canon McMillan High School, over the weekend.

The following Monday, February 13, 2006, Ms. Nichols and Ms. Moeller met with Mr. and Ms. Maier and with Ms. Maier's sister regarding B.T. and Bedilion. During this meeting, the Maiers raised concerns about the following issues: the high number of cell phone calls between B.T. and Bedilion, that Bedilion had been in their home several times, and that Bedilion drove B.T. home from practice. They stated that they believed that B.T. and Bedilion had an inappropriate relationship. Ms. Nichols's notes from the meeting reflect that Ms. Maier said that B.T. was in a "dangerous situation." [Doc. No. 73 at Exh. 1]. Plaintiffs state that, at this meeting, they also raised concerns about Bedilion having inappropriate contact with other students.

Immediately following the meeting, Ms. Nichols and Ms. Moeller met with Bedilion. They told Bedilion that he must turn in his keys and Canon McMillan High School softball materials and that he was no longer permitted near the softball field or players.*fn2

After meeting with the Maiers and Bedilion, Ms. Nichols contacted Dr. Nick Bayat, Superintendent of the School District, and informed him of the meeting with the Maiers. She also provided him with her handwritten notes taken during her meeting with the Maier family. At that time, Dr. Bayat determined that he would formally terminate Bedilion from the volunteer coaching position and requested a resignation as soon as possible. Later that day, Bedilion resigned from his IT position in the School District. Dr. Bayat testified that, if Bedilion had not resigned, he would have been terminated.

Ten months later, on December 12, 2006, Bedilion was arrested and charged with committing sexual offenses against B.T. which took place in August 2006. He was later convicted of statutory sexual assault and aggravated indecent assault and incarcerated for his conduct.

D. Plaintiffs' Lawsuit

On February 2, 2008, Mr. and Ms. Maier filed this action on behalf of B.T. Plaintiffs allege the following causes of action: a section 1983 claim against Bedilion alleging that he violated B.T.'s rights to personal security, bodily integrity, and freedom from sexual abuse guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment*fn3 to the United States Constitution (Count I); a section 1983 claim against the School District defendants alleging that they subjected B.T. to violations of her right to personal security and bodily integrity by, inter alia, failing to adequately investigate, supervise, and train Bedilion and failing to effectuate and follow proper policies and procedures to protect students from sexual abuse (Count II); a Title IX claim against the School District alleging that it created and/or permitted an environment of sexual harassment, which deprived B.T. of educational opportunities (Count III); an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim against all defendants (Count IV); and a claim that all defendants intentionally and deliberately violated B.T.'s due process rights under Article I, § 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution and her right to be free of illegal seizures under Article I, § 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution (Count V).

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c) provides that summary judgment may be granted if, drawing all inferences in favor of the non-moving party, "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 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.