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Frogley v. Meridian Joint School Dist. No. 2

Supreme Court of Idaho, Boise

November 27, 2013

Wade FROGLEY, Plaintiff-Appellant,
MERIDIAN JOINT SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 2; Idaho State Board of Education, an Executive Department of the State of Idaho; Linda Clark, an individual; Aaron Maybon, an individual, Defendants-Respondents.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Clark and Feeney, LLP, Lewiston, attorneys for Appellant. Jonathan D. Hally argued.

Anderson, Julian & Hull, LLP, Boise, attorneys for Respondent. Bret A. Walther argued.

W. JONES, Justice.


Plaintiff, Wade Frogley (" Frogley" ), appeals the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Meridian Joint School District No. 2 (" Meridian School District" ), Aaron Maybon, and Linda Clark (collectively " Respondents" ) on Frogley's complaint of retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Idaho Human Rights Act. Frogley also appeals the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Respondents on his claim of negligent infliction of emotional distress.


On January 15, 2009, Frogley signed a one-year contract for the 2008-2009 school year as an Assistant Principal at Mountain View High School in the Meridian School District. Frogley began his position as Assistant Principal on July 31, 2008. Frogley's duties as assistant principal included attending various meetings; observing and evaluating teachers; supervising students in a variety of situations; disciplining students; and enforcing the student dress code.

Frogley alleges that within weeks of commencing his job at Mountain View High School, he was subject to continuous sexual harassment. Two weeks after beginning work, Frogley alleges that while attending an administrators meeting with Principal Aaron Maybon (" Maybon" ) and three other assistant principals, Maybon's assistant slid an envelope addressed to Frogley under the door. The envelope contained a fake wedding announcement claiming that Frogley was about to marry a " Cheap Two-Bit Tramp." Frogley's face was imposed on a picture of a groom and a scantily clad bride. Frogley asserts that Maybon admitted to having his secretary prepare and deliver the envelope.

During the first week of lunch meetings, because Frogley had more food than anyone else, Maybon commented that Frogley was having sex with the lunch servers in exchange for food. Frogley maintains that Maybon and the other administrators made comments of him exchanging sexual favors for food on a near daily basis. Despite Frogley's alleged objections to these comments, the comments did not stop.

Frogley maintains that throughout his employment comments were made with respect to how many women he was dating; the number of women with whom Frogley had sex; how many women with whom he was involved at the same time; whether his sexual preference was for women or men; and whether he was leaving school during lunch to have sex.

On October 23, 2008, Frogley had lunch with a visiting principal and was allegedly questioned by Maybon about whether he had sex with the visiting principal when Frogley returned from lunch. Also during October of 2008, Frogley alleges that administrators were referencing his office as a " nest of whores." Later that month, when Frogley did not volunteer to supervise a basketball game, school administrators allegedly commented that Frogley was probably going on a date, possibly with more than one woman, and Maybon allegedly suggested that Frogley might be homosexual. Frogley claims he objected to the statements.

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On November 5, 2008, Frogley and Maybon had a meeting with each other. According to Respondents, Maybon met with Frogley at this meeting to discuss his poor job performance and prepared a letter for Frogley's file memorializing instances of Frogley's poor performance during the week of October 23, 2008. Specifically, Assistant Principal Shana Hawkins noted that Frogley took a two and a half hour lunch on October 23, 2008, without telling anyone or ensuring that his responsibilities were covered. Frogley was also noted not to have been in attendance at a series of meetings regarding Student Individual Education Plans (" IEP" ) and Student Section 504. Also, Hawkins was asked to cover for Frogley at a meeting on November 4, 2008, after Frogley failed to attend the meeting or make arrangements for his absence. Respondents acknowledge that at the November 5, 2008, meeting with Maybon, Frogley raised the issue of the sexual comments with Maybon. Respondents maintain that this was the first time that Frogley raised these concerns with Maybon and that Maybon assured Frogley all comments would stop. Frogley asserts that he met with Maybon to make an emphatic demand that the sexual comments stop. According to Frogley, Maybon became very upset. Consequently, Frogley arranged a meeting with the superintendent of Meridian School District, Dr. Linda Clark, to discuss the situation.

The next day, following the meeting with Frogley, Maybon decided to examine Frogley's job performance. On November 7, 2008, Maybon asked counselor Tammy Schneider to provide him with a list of meetings that Frogley failed to attend between October 28, 2008, and November 4, 2008. Maybon also noted that Frogley had not conducted teacher evaluations for 18 of 26 teachers whom he supervised. After conducting this review, Maybon wrote his first letter of reprimand on November 11, 2008.[1] That same morning, Frogley allegedly failed to speak at a conference at which he was scheduled to speak without notifying anyone, however, Frogley maintains that he was at this conference and ready to speak but was never given the opportunity.

On November 12, 2008, Frogley was presented with a performance evaluation noting that Frogley's job performance was deficient in two areas and was unsatisfactory in four areas including leadership, interpersonal relations, and professional responsibilities. The evaluation also noted that Frogley failed to follow directives, was insubordinate, and damaged the trust between him and Maybon. That same day, Frogley and Maybon were scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. meeting. Frogley arrived at the meeting at 3:41 p.m. and failed to apologize or explain his tardiness, which Maybon considered insubordinate. The next day, Maybon prepared a second letter of reprimand documenting Frogley's alleged insubordination by failing to explain or apologize for his tardiness. That same day, Maybon placed Frogley on a Level II Improvement Plan. This improvement plan identified eleven areas for improvement and identified several strategies to assist Frogley in improving.

On November 14, 2008, Frogley allegedly failed to supervise students in the cafeteria, which was an expectation of his job, until directed to do so by Maybon. On November 20, 2008, Frogley acknowledged that he failed to conduct a required meeting with his freshman team, which was due in October of 2008. Also, on November 20, 2008, Maybon checked the school discipline recording system and found that Frogley entered only one disciplinary entry into the system even though Maybon was aware of more than one incident. These incidents resulted in a third letter of reprimand that was prepared on November 21, 2008.

On November 24, 2008, Frogley was allegedly thirty minutes late for his supervisory

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post in the cafeteria. Also, that same day, a student, C.D.[2], reported an instance of harassment. Two other students, M.J. and I.O., witnessed the incident and provided statements to the administration. Frogley denied ever harassing C.D. and maintains that he was never informed of or questioned about the allegations raised by C.D. Frogley maintains that he was watching C.D. and C.D.'s friends, pursuant to his duties, to see if they were hiding something. When Frogley made contact with C.D., he asked whether they were hiding anything, explained his position at the school, and noted that C.D. was defiant. Frogley maintains that nothing else happened.

Maybon noticed that Frogley spent a significant amount of time with a staff member, Melynda Mortensen. On February 4, 2009, Maybon requested Mortensen to prepare a statement documenting multiple conversations she had with Frogley. On February 11, 2009, Frogley confronted Mortensen and aggressively questioned her in the hallway regarding whether she " ratted" him out for being in his office on February 4, 2009, instead of supervising a basketball game. Assistant Principal McInerney confronted Frogley about the incident, and Frogley filed a response to Mortensen's complaint. Maybon prepared a report on the incident, which was supplemented with video but not audio surveillance, and Maybon sent the report to Human Resources.

Following the report, Frogley was placed on administrative leave pending further investigation. He was transferred from paid administrative leave and reassigned to administrator of special projects at the District Service Center where he would have no duties with respect to student supervision or employee evaluation. Frogley never reported to his new position because he was placed on temporary disability. On May 12, 2009, Clark recommended the Board of Trustees not offer Frogley a new administrative contract for the 2009-2010 school year.

Frogley filed a Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial on May 3, 2010. A First Amended Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial was filed on October 26, 2010, naming as defendants Meridian School District, Idaho State Board of Education, Linda Clark, and Aaron Maybon.[3] Frogley filed a Notice of Voluntary Dismissal of the Idaho State Board of Education. Respondents filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on December 19, 2011. The district court issued its Memorandum Decision and Order Granting and Denying in Part Motion to Strike and Granting Summary Judgment. The district court granted summary judgment on all of Frogley's claims. Final Judgment was entered on March 29, 2012. Frogley filed his Notice of Appeal on May 9, 2011, and on appeal only challenges the district court's grant of summary judgment with respect to his retaliation and negligent infliction of emotional distress claims.


1. Whether the district court erred when it granted ...

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