United States District Court, D. Idaho
JOHN WILSON and MELISSA WILSON, husband and wife, individually, and as the Guardians of the Minor Child Plaintiff, J.C.W., Plaintiff,
SALMON SCHOOL DISTRICT #291; JENNIFER COOK, in her individual and official capacity; BOB ENDERTON, in his individual and official capacity; HUMAN DYNAMICS AND DIAGNOSTICS LLC, an Idaho limited liability company; and RACHEL McDONALD, as the natural parent and guardian of E.R., a minor child, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Lynn Winmill, Chief Judge United States District Court.
Court has before it Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment (Dkt. 28), Defendants' Motion to Strike (Dkt.
40), Plaintiffs' Motion to Amend (Dkt. 36), and
Plaintiffs' Motion to Amend for Punitive Damages (Dkt.
29). The Court heard oral argument on July 25, 2017. For the
reasons explained below, the Court will: (1) grant
Plaintiffs' Motion to Amend (Dkt. 36), (2) deem moot
Plaintiffs' Motion to Amend for Punitive Damages, (3)
grant in part and deny in part Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment (Dkt. 28), and (4) deem moot Defendants'
Motion to Strike (Dkt. 40).
the facts in this section are undisputed and material to the
resolution of the pending motions. Where material facts are
in dispute, the Court has included the Plaintiffs'
version of the facts so long as that version is not
contradicted by clear evidence in the record in line with the
Rule 56 requirement that the Court consider the facts in the
light most favorable to plaintiffs.
April 14, 2015. E.R., a first-grade student at Pioneer
Elementary School, stabbed J.C.W., a second-grade student, in
the eye with a stick during recess. On the date of the
injury, the playground staff was short-handed. Cook
Dep. 162:24-163:9, Dkt. 28-4. Ordinarily, four adults
supervise the playground area with areas of overlapping
visibility. Id. at 155:6-18. On the day of the
injury, Defendant Bob Enderton, a paraprofessional and
substitute teacher, had been assigned by Defendant Jennifer
Cook, the Principal of Pioneer Elementary School, to oversee
the front area of the schoolyard. Enderton claimed that there
were only two adults supervising the playground area.
Stephenson Aff., Ex. A. at 3.
lunch ended, Enderton saw three boys carrying J.C.W. to the
school. Id. at 38:10-16, Dkt. 28-4. Enderton noticed
J.C.W. bleeding and instructed the boys to continue carrying
him into the office. Id. Enderton did not observe
how J.C.W. was injured. Prior to April 14, 2015, Enderton had
no previous experience with E.R. and was unaware of any
disciplinary action concerning E.R. Id. at 42:1-7.
J.C.W. was in the office, Cook observed J.C.W.'s injury
and was told that J.C.W's mother, Melissa Wilson, had
already been called. Cook Dep. 140:8-10, 139:10-
140:7, Dkt. 28-4. There was a debate about whether to call
911. Cook testified that she was ready to call 911, but
someone told her the mother was on the way and that Cook had
permission to transport him. See Cook Dep. at
140:14-141:15, Dkt. 28-4. She testified that she received no
training on what to do when there was a serious injury at the
school. Id. at 143:25-144:4.
at the hospital, J.C.W. described the incident to his mother,
recounting that he was first hit in the leg and then E.R.
poked him in the eye. Wilson Dep. at 53:6-55:24,
Dkt. 28-4. J.C.W.'s injury required at least two
surgeries and resulted in permanent blindness in his right
eye. J.C.W. also suffered from emotional distress.
E.R.'s Prior Behavior
to the altercation with J.C.W., E.R. had a disruptive
behavioral pattern at Pioneer Elementary School. Although the
date is unclear, there is evidence that E.R. struck a young
girl in the face some time prior to the incident with J.C.W.
See Summers Dep. at 25:1-25, Dkt. 35-5. In addition,
in the Fall of 2014, E.R. was “acting out in
class.” Cook Dep. at 112:10-18, Dkt. 35-7.
E.R.'s teacher, Melissa Stephenson, stated that around
the end of November 2014, E.R. was struggling to get back
into a structured routine. Stephenson Dep. at
10:14-12:13, Dkt. 35-13. She also noted that E.R. would
sometimes be “in students' faces arguing” and
was usually not physical, although, he might give a
“quick push.” Id. at 14:11-23.
Stephenson also noted increased irritability in E.R. around
Spring Break in 2015. Id.at 17:17-18:12.
April 2, 2015, Stephenson observed E.R. in an argument with
two adult members of the After School Promise program.
See Stephenson Dep. at 22:19-23:5, Dkt. 35-13. He
began screaming and yelling at Stephenson and others and
threw his backpack down the hall. Id. at 23:7-24. In
addition, he flailed his arms around and threw himself on the
ground. Id. at 24:4-22.
April 6, 2015, Cook became aware that E.R. had thrown a rock
at an after-school program supervisor, Woehlke. Cook
Dep. at 116:20-117:9; 118:1-119:3, Dkt. 28-4. Woehlke
was not aware of E.R. throwing rocks at him and was only made
aware of it by another student. Woehlke Dep. at
26:5-11, Dkt. 35-14. He also states that he is unaware of
whether it was a rock or gravel that was thrown. Id.
at 29:7-18. The next day, E.R. got angry and pushed or
punched paraprofessional, Natelson. Cook Dep. at
123:14- 125:8, Dkt. 35-7.
around April 7, 2015, Stephenson approached Cook to state her
concerns with E.R.'s aggressive and violent behavior.
Stephenson Dep. at 29:1-31:22, Dkt. 35-13. She
expressed concerns that both of the incidents had been
physical and that it was unclear how he might act around his
April 8, Officer Madsen, the substitute SRO, met with E.R.,
his mother, and Cook regarding the rock-throwing incident.
Madsen Dep. at 17:3-16, Dkt. 35-17. Madsen discussed
that throwing rocks could be a criminal action and instructed
him about appropriate behavior. Id. at 18:7-24.
Madsen indicated that she does not know of any other
disciplinary action taken by Cook. Id. at
19:24-20:1. Stephenson stated that besides the meeting with
Madsen, Cook took no other disciplinary action. See
Stephenson Dep. at 36:2-21, Dkt. 35-13. In addition,
there is no record of any discipline imposed by Cook and no
records of the incidents placed in E.R.'s files or within
PowerSchool, the District's program for reporting such
The School Policy and Cook's Training
time of the incident, the Salmon School District #291
(“the District”) had several policies addressing
student conduct and behavior. One provision stated that
“hazing, harassment, intimidation, menacing or bullying
by students . . . is strictly prohibited and will not be
tolerated in the district.” See Phillips Aff., Ex.
C. at 159, Dkt. 35-8. The District's policy included
a section titled “Student Discipline.”
Id. at 169. This section states several relevant
polices including “ the behavior of students while
on school property or under school supervision is the direct
responsibility of the classroom teacher and the building
principal . . . . Repeated or serious violations of student
behavior rules must be reported to the Superintendent, who