United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
LISA M. BEVAN and BRIAN J BEVAN, Plaintiffs,
ROBERT J. O'DONNELL, Defendant.
MATTHEW W. BRANN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
2017, Lisa Bevan was suspended from her teaching job at the
State College Area School District for allegedly striking a
student. Consequently, she and her husband brought this
action against the school district's superintendent,
Robert J. O'Donnell. Their complaint contains claims for
intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count I); for
loss of consortium (Count II); and for a violation of
procedural due process (Count III). Mr. O'Donnell now
moves to dismiss that complaint.
O'Donnell argues that the intentional infliction of
emotional distress claim should be dismissed on the basis of
high public official immunity. This Court agrees.
Pennsylvania law shields certain state officials (including
superintendents) from liability for certain torts (including
intentional infliction of emotional distress), if the
complained-of conduct falls “within the course of [the]
defendant[‘s] duties or scope of
authority.” Here, Mr. O'Donnell's
superintendent duties included handling teacher discipline
issues. And the intentional infliction of
emotional distress claim is based entirely on actions Mr.
O'Donnell took while disciplining Ms. Bevan for her
alleged misconduct. Therefore, Mr. O'Donnell is immune
from the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim,
and it will be dismissed. Because this Court cannot conceive
how amendment of this claim would help its defects-
i.e., how amendment would overcome Mr.
O'Donnell's immunity-the dismissal will be with
O'Donnell then argues that the loss of consortium claim
should be dismissed because it is derivative of the
intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. This
Court agrees. For the reasons stated above, dismissal of
this claim will also be with prejudice.
Mr. O'Donnell argues that the procedural due process
claim should be dismissed because Ms. Bevan, through the
teacher's union, successfully arbitrated a grievance over
her suspension, winning back pay and other
relief. This Court agrees,  and will dismiss
the procedural due process claim. Because there is no dispute
about the nature and relief provided by the arbitration, that
dismissal will be with prejudice.
reasons stated above, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED
motion to dismiss, ECF No. 2, is GRANTED.
Plaintiff's complaint, ECF No. 1-1, is DISMISSED
Clerk of Court is directed to close this case.
Zugarek v. Southern Tioga School
Dist., 214 F.Supp.2d 468, 479 (M.D. Pa. ...