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.

Sauers v. Winston-Salem Forsyth County Board of Education

United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina

March 30, 2018

LAURENCE CHARLES SAUERS, III, “TREY”, LAURENCE CHARLES SAUERS, II, and CAROL JONES SAUERS, Plaintiffs,
v.
WINSTON-SALEM/FORSYTH COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION, JULIA EDMONDS, individually and in her official capacity, KAYE HUNTER, individually and in Her official capacity, BRAD ROYAL, individually and in his official capacity, ELLEN WESTON, individually and in her official capacity, KARA RICHARDSON, individually and in her official capacity, MARY TODD ALLEN, individually and in her official capacity, TINA RAMSEY, individually and in her official capacity, SAM DEMPSEY, individually and in his official capacity, GRETCHEN TROUTMAN, individually and in her official capacity, JONATHAN L. GARWOOD, individually and in his official capacity, MORGAN C. THETEROW, individually and in her official capacity, MARTHA C. TEDROW, individually and in her official capacity, and DR. KENNETH SIMINGTON, individually and in his official capacity, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          OSTEEN, JR., District Judge

         Presently before this court is a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants Julia Edmonds, Kaye Hunter, Ellen Weston, Kara Richardson, Tina Ramsey, Gretchen Troutman, Jonathan L. Garwood, and Martha C. Tedrow (collectively the “School Defendants”), (Doc. 71), to which Plaintiffs have responded, (Doc. 78), and the School Defendants have replied, (Doc. 81). Further, the School Defendants have filed a related Motion to Strike, (Doc. 79), to which Plaintiffs have responded, (Doc. 85), and School Defendants have replied, (Doc. 86). These motions are ripe for adjudication and for the reasons stated herein, this court will grant the School Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment as well as their Motion to Strike in part.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         At the motion to dismiss stage, this court dismissed all claims pending against the School Defendants with the exception of Plaintiff Laurence Charles Sauers, III (“Trey”)'s negligent infliction of emotional distress (“NIED”) claim, [1] which was dismissed on public officer immunity grounds against School Defendants Mary Todd Allen, Sam Dempsey, Brad Royal, and Dr. Kenneth Simington, but remains pending as to School Defendants Julia Edmonds, Kaye Hunter, Ellen Weston, Kara Richardson, Tina Ramsey, Gretchen Troutman, Jonathan Garwood, and Martha Tedrow. Sauers v. Winston-Salem/Forsyth Cty. Bd. of Educ., 179 F.Supp.3d 544, 559 (M.D. N.C. 2016).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Summary judgment is appropriate where an examination of the pleadings, affidavits, and other proper discovery materials before the court demonstrates that no genuine issue of material facts exists, thus entitling the moving party to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). The moving party bears the burden of initially demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323.

         If the moving party has met that burden, then the nonmoving party must persuade the court that a genuine issue remains for trial. However, this requires “more than simply show[ing] that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts”; the “nonmoving party must come forward with ‘specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986) (citations and footnote omitted) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56). “‘A party asserting that a fact . . . is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by citing to particular parts of materials in the record . . . .' ‘Conclusory or speculative allegations do not suffice' to oppose a properly supported motion for summary judgment, ‘nor does a mere scintilla of evidence.'” Matherly v. Andrews, 859 F.3d 264, 280 (4th Cir.) (citations omitted), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 138 S.Ct. 399 (2017).

         In considering a motion for summary judgment, the court is not to weigh the evidence, but rather must determine whether there is a genuine dispute as to a material issue. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). Further, the court must ensure that the facts it considers can be “presented in a form that would be admissible in evidence” and that any affidavits or evidence used to support or oppose a motion are “made on personal knowledge, set out facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the affiant or declarant is competent to testify on the matters stated.” See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(2), (4).

         The court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, drawing inferences favorable to that party if such inferences are reasonable. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255. However, there must be more than a factual dispute; the fact in question must be material, and the dispute must be genuine. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. A dispute is only “genuine” if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.

         III. ANALYSIS

         As this court noted at the motion to dismiss stage: “[I]n order to state a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress, a plaintiff ‘must allege that (1) the defendant negligently engaged in conduct, (2) it was reasonably foreseeable that such conduct would cause the plaintiff severe emotional distress . . ., and (3) the conduct did in fact cause the plaintiff severe emotional distress.'” Sauers, 179 F.Supp.3d at 554 (quoting Ennett v. Cumberland Cty. Bd. of Educ., 698 F.Supp.2d 557, 560 (E.D. N.C. 2010)). This court will grant the School Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment as Plaintiff has failed to present facts to support a finding that the conduct of the School Defendants did in fact cause Plaintiff severe emotional distress. See Wells v. Liddy, 186 F.3d 505, 520 (4th Cir. 1999) (“Summary judgment is appropriate when a party, who would bear the burden on the issue at trial, does not forecast evidence sufficient to establish an essential element of the case . . . .”); Glenn v. Johnson, ___ N.C.App. ___, ___, 787 S.E.2d 65, 70 (2016) (“[S]ummary judgment in favor of defendants on the NIED claim is proper where the evidence does not establish negligence by defendants or establishes that the alleged negligent conduct was not the foreseeable and proximate cause of plaintiff's severe emotional distress.”).

         The third element of the NIED claim for which Plaintiff must forecast evidence is that “the conduct did in fact cause the plaintiff severe emotional distress.” See Sauers, 179 F.Supp.3d at 554 (quoting Ennett v. Cumberland Cty. Bd. of Educ., 698 F.Supp.2d 557, 560 (E.D. N.C. 2010)). Plaintiff contends that there is a “genuine issue of material fact as to whether the Individual Defendants' conduct in fact did cause Plaintiff Trey extreme emotional distress.” (Pls.' Resp. in Opp'n to Def. Winston-Salem Forsyth Cty. Board of Educ.'s Resp. to Pls.' Mot. for Summ. J. (“Pls.' Resp.”) (Doc. 78) at 13.)[2] In support of this position, Plaintiff cites to three pieces of evidence: (1) his expert disclosures; (2) an expert report of Dr. Andrew P. Smiler; and (3) an expert report of Dr. Doreen L. Hughes. (Id., Ex. 7, Pl.'s Expert Disclosures (Doc. 78-8); Ex. 9, Letter from Dr. Smiler (Doc. 78-10); Ex. 8, Consultation Report (Doc. 78-9).) Defendants have moved to strike all three of these documents. (Mem. in Supp. of Individual Sch. Defs.' Mot. to Strike (“Defs.' Mot. to Strike Mem.”) (Doc. 80) at 8-9.) Because a determination of whether Plaintiff has presented facts that may be considered in determining this motion, see Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1), the court accordingly considers the pertinent motion to strike as an initial matter. For purposes of this summary judgment motion, the relevant motion to strike relates to Dr. Hughes, Dr. Smiler, and Plaintiff's Expert Disclosures, as Plaintiff alleges these facts as establishing the third element.

         A. Motion to Strike Expert Reports

         The School Defendants assert that, while Dr. Hughes was disclosed as a possible expert witness, Dr. Smiler was not. (Defs.' Mot. to Strike Mem. (Doc. 80) at 9.) The School Defendants further contend that ...


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.