United States District Court, D. Idaho
P.R., a minor, and S.R., natural parent and guardian, Plaintiffs,
SHOSHONE SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 321; KELLY CHAPMAN, an individual, and ROBERT WAITE, an individual, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Honorable Candy W. Dale United States Magistrate Judge
before the Court is Defendants' motion for summary
judgment and related motion to strike. (Dkt. 22, 31.) This
case involves allegations by Plaintiffs that Defendants'
response to a sexual assault at school between two students,
Plaintiff P.R. and L.C., was inadequate. Plaintiffs P.R.
and her mother, S.R., claim that Defendants' failure to
investigate the incident and appropriately discipline L.C.
resulted in the deprivation of P.R.'s federally protected
rights to an education at Shoshone Middle School and Shoshone
High School. Defendants contend the District officials,
Principal Kelly Chapman, and Superintendent and Title IX
officer Robert Waite, responded appropriately upon
discovering the incident between the two students.
Court conducted a hearing on the pending motions on September
18, 2018, at which the parties appeared and presented their
arguments. After carefully considering the record, the
parties' briefing and oral argument, as well as relevant
authorities, the Court will grant summary judgment to
Defendants in part and deny it in part, as explained below.
complaint sets forth nine causes of action. Counts One and
Two allege violations of Title IX as to Defendant Shoshone
School District; Counts Three and Four allege Section 1983
claims against all three Defendants under Title 42 of the
United States Code; and Counts Five, Six, Seven, Eight and
Nine allege claims under state law under various theories.
response to the motion for summary judgment, Plaintiffs
conceded Counts Three, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, and Nine in
the Complaint by “withdrawing” them. (Dkt. 30 at
2, 23.) Accordingly, the Court's analysis is
confined to Counts One, Two, and Four.
disputed the majority of the facts set forth in
Defendants' statement of undisputed facts. Because of the
significant disparities in the parties' versions of the
facts, and based upon review of the entire record, the Court
has outlined below the facts and factual disputes material to
the legal issues presented with Defendants' motion.
attended the eighth grade at Shoshone Middle School during
the 2016-2017 school year. That same year, L.C. was a junior
attending Shoshone High School. The schools share the same
campus, which is located at 61 E. Highway 24, in Shoshone,
Idaho. P.R. first met L.C. in December of
2016. At that time, P.R. was 13, and L.C. was
early afternoon of Tuesday, April 25, 2017, Kelly Chapman,
the school principal,  entered the computer lab at Shoshone High
School and found P.R. and L.C. together, watching
Netflix. She sent them both back to their
respective classrooms. Later that day, Chapman spoke with the
school counselor, Ms. Schroeder, about walking in on the two
students. Chapman expressed that it was odd the two students
were there together, because one was in middle school and one
was in high school, and they should not have been together in
that same location at that time. Chapman wanted to find out
what the two students had been doing, so she accessed the
video tape from earlier in the day. Upon review of the video
tape, Chapman discovered the two students had engaged in
sexual activity in the computer lab before she walked in.
Upon learning the two students had engaged in sexual
activity, Chapman contacted law enforcement.
viewing the video tape on April 25, 2017, Chapman did not
know or suspect that P.R. and L.C. had engaged in sexual
activity. And, the record contains no evidence that anyone
else at Shoshone Middle and High School or Shoshone School
District was aware of their activities.
classes on April 25, two local law enforcement officers
arrived at the school and met with Chapman to discuss how to
proceed. The officers and Chapman decided to interview the
students the next day with their parents in attendance. On
the morning of Wednesday, April 26, 2017, P.R. was
interviewed in Chapman's office with her mother, S.R.,
present. At various times during the interview,
Chapman was present as was Sheriff Rene Rodriguez and Officer
Green. P.R.'s father was present at the school for a
portion of the morning.
remembers “getting asked what had happened in the
computer lab and they had only, like, saw the video of, like
the 25th and so when I said that we had had sex,
Ms. Chapman was like, no, you guys didn't, like, and she
just hadn't checked, like, the videos, like, from
before.” P.R. Depo. at 66-67. At that point, it appears
S.R., Chapman, and the officers reviewed the video footage
from the computer lab taken during the day on Monday, April
24, 2017. S.R. Depo. at 25-27.
P.R.'s interview concluded, P.R. was sent to the hospital
with her mother and another law enforcement officer, where
she received a physical examination. S.R. was informed that,
because of P.R.'s age (13), she would be referred to
on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, law enforcement officers
interviewed L.C. with his parents in
attendance. Chapman testified she was careful to
ensure that P.R. and L.C. did not have contact during that
day. Chapman Aff. ¶ 8. (Dkt. 22-3.) Law enforcement
officers informed Chapman that day that L.C.'s conduct
would be charged as lewd and lascivious conduct. Ans. ¶
Thursday, April 27, 2017, L.C. was arrested at school, and
was escorted off the school premises because of the incident
with P.R. Afterwards, L.C. was suspended from school for nine
school days. Because the Shoshone schools are on a Monday
through Thursday schedule, the suspension lasted from Monday,
May 1, through Monday, May 15, 2017. This was the maximum
suspension Chapman believed she was able to impose under
state law as the school's Principal. Chapman Depo. at 53,
56. Chapman did not recommend further
discipline for L.C. after imposing the nine-day suspension,
and Robert Waite, the Superintendent and Title IX officer,
agreed with her recommendation. Chapman Depo. at 58-60. L.C.
returned to Shoshone High School on May 16, 2017.
testified that she reviewed the school handbook prior to
determining L.C.'s disciplinary consequences. Chapman
Depo. at 59-60. Chapman interpreted L.C.'s behavior as
falling within the school handbook's disciplinary policy
prohibiting public displays of affection and inappropriate
behavior. Chapman characterized what she saw on the video
tapes, which she testified depicted oral intercourse and anal
intercourse, as signs of an “intimate
relationship.” Chapman Depo. at 60-61. Chapman was
aware that L.C. was charged with five counts of lewd and
lascivious conduct, although it is not entirely clear from
the record when Chapman became aware of the nature of the
criminal charges filed against L.C. Chapman Depo. at
Complaint characterizes what occurred between L.C. and P.R.
as rape, which characterization the District denies. P.R.
testified in her deposition that, on April 24, 2017, L.C.
“pressured” her to have sex with him that day in
the computer lab-he was “grabbing my arm, ” and
she felt like she could not leave the room. P.R. Depo. at
50-52. P.R. described L.C. as “aggressive that
day.” P.R. Depo. at 54.
testified that, the next day, April 25, L.C. contacted her
via Snapchat, telling her that he wanted her to go to the
computer lab. P.R. met L.C. in the computer lab, which was
empty. According to P.R., L.C. made sure that the door was
locked. L.C. “kept…asking to have sex again and
I kept saying no, ‘cause what had happened the day
before…he asked for oral and he said that if I gave
him oral, then he would let me leave.” P.R. Depo. at
56. She complied, although she described L.C. as using
physical force by holding her head and she did not know if
she could have left the computer lab. P.R. Depo. at 57.
testified that, when she met with CARES personnel on April
26, she told them she was raped, assaulted, and that L.C.
physically did something to her that she felt was threatening
that she “did not say yes to.” P.R. Depo. at
70-71. It is not clear from the record whether Chapman or
Waite knew about P.R.'s allegations to CARES personnel,
or whether P.R. had described the incidents at school
similarly to law enforcement during their interview of her on
shortly after the interviews with the students,
Robert Waite met with Chapman, and the two discussed three
topics. First, the two discussed the need to conduct an
investigation separate from the police investigation. Waite
Depo. at 20. However, no written report was prepared,
and the only formal document produced was a letter regarding
L.C.'s suspension that was sent to L.C.'s parents.
Other than Chapman's handwritten notes taken at various
times,  school officials did not prepare a
written report concerning the events of April 24 and 25,
2017, or their aftermath, and the Court found no evidence of
such a report in the record. (see Dkt. 30-7 at 13,
and Dkt. 30-7 at 7, referencing Bates No. SHOS 0296.)
Waite and Chapman discussed how to handle L.C.'s return
to school after his suspension concluded. Waite testified
that the school needed information from P.R.'s family,
because “[w]e didn't know at this point the nature
of the relationship” between P.R. and L.C. Waite Depo.
at 29. Accordingly, depending upon the nature of the
relationship, he and Chapman discussed that L.C. could be
placed in the alternative school; enroll in online school; or
the school could make sure that he and P.R. did not pass in
the hall. However, the school wanted to know whether P.R.
felt it was the best thing for her to return to Shoshone
Middle School or stay away. Waite testified that he and
Chapman decided Chapman would meet with P.R.'s family to
determine the best way to proceed. Waite Depo. at 27.
However, Waite and Chapman did not discuss notifying
P.R.'s family that the school was depending upon the
family's decision whether and when to send P.R. back to
school before the school determined a plan for L.C. going
last, Waite testified that he and Chapman discussed three
options for P.R. to finish the remainder of the 2016-17
school year - one would be to work from home and get homework
assignments from her teachers; the second would be to take
her grades as they were, and be done for the school year; and
the third option would be resuming attendance at the middle
school, at which point a discussion would occur concerning
how to keep L.C. and P.R. separated. Waite Depo. at 34. Waite
testified that he and Chapman determined that they would come
up with a plan based upon P.R.'s wishes. Waite Depo. at
41. In the meantime, Chapman emailed P.R.'s teachers on
April 27th, requesting that they send assignments
to P.R. for her to complete at home. Chapman Depo. at
Chapman met twice with P.R. and her mother, S.R. During the
first meeting, held on or about May 1, 2017, Chapman
testified that she explained P.R. could return to school, she
could continue doing what she was doing by obtaining homework
assignments, or she could be done for the year-meaning P.R.
could receive the grades she had earned and complete the
eighth grade without returning to school or completing any
more homework assignments. Chapman Depo. at 49. Chapman's
handwritten notes reflect also that Chapman knew P.R. had a
counseling meeting on May 16th, and that Chapman
informed S.R. that L.C. might return, but his placement would
depend upon whether P.R. returned to school. Chapman Depo. at
46-47. (Dkt. 30-7 at 13, referencing SHOS 0296 at Dkt. 30-7
recalls the first meeting differently. S.R. testified she
informed Chapman that CARES had advised her that P.R. should
not return to school until after May 9. S.R. Depo. at 21,
33. Chapman's handwritten notes reflect
she was aware of this recommendation. Thereafter,
S.R. recalls Chapman informed her of only two options for
P.R. - that she could "drop off school or do home
school. And I ask if she expels [P.R.] out of school and she
say, 'No, but it's better.'" S.R. Depo. at
second meeting with Chapman, S.R., and P.R. occurred also
during the first part of May, with Sheriff Rodriguez present
to translate. S.R. Depo. at 33-36. At the second meeting, an
agreement was made that the school would provide homework
assignments for P.R. to complete at home. S.R. Depo. at 22.
On May 16, 2017, S.R. accompanied P.R. to her next counseling
appointment at CARES, at which time a plan was made for
PR's recovery. S.R. Depo. at 34.
recalls the meeting, or meetings,  with Chapman a bit
differently. P.R. recalls she met with Chapman, her mother,
and Sheriff Rodriguez approximately two weeks after the April
26, 2017 interview at school. P.R. Depo. at 73-75. P.R.
remembers asking about when she was going to return to
school, at which time Chapman gave her "two options of
either dropping off the school year or just going home
schooled" for the remainder of the school year. P.R.
Depo. at 75-76. Her understanding of home school was that she
would still be in the school system, and she could try to
improve her grades, so “we had agreed that I would be
getting homework, like, every week.” P.R. Depo. at
77-78. However, P.R. testified she received homework only
“two times.” Id. at 78-79. S.R.
testified she stopped by the school every week, and also had
her son, who attended Shoshone High School, stop at the
school's office for P.R.'s homework. Neither she nor
her son were ever given anything to take home to P.R. S.R.
Depo. at 22-23.
testified she requested P.R.'s teachers to send homework
assignments to the school office “as necessary, ”
although she does not know whether the teachers did so; she
could not identify how many lessons were sent home to P.R.
between April 27 and May 23; and, she did not oversee or
monitor the sending of any lessons home. Chapman Depo. at
13-16. When a teacher asked Chapman on May 23, 2017, whether
she was to continue sending homework for P.R. to the office,
Chapman responded via email: “Yes, or you could tell
her she can be done.” (Dkt. 30-7.)
her deposition, P.R. was asked whether she remembered Chapman
telling her to let her know if she wanted to return to school
so she could make arrangements to take care of L.C. if she
did return. P.R. denied that Chapman ever “mentioned
her coming back to school. [Chapman] only gave me those two
options.” P.R. Depo. at 78-79. P.R. did not return to
school after the 26th of April, because
“going back to school wasn't an option, ” and
Chapman told her “that it just wasn't a good idea
and that's basically it.” P.R. Depo. at 82-83.
the one meeting in May of 2017 with Chapman, P.R. recalls
Chapman mentioning a “safety plan, because they were
planning on, like, letting [L.C.] come back to school,
” but that no one fully explained to her what that
meant. P.R. Depo. at 85. She understood only that L.C. would
return to school, and if she were to attend school and run
into him, that “I guess I would be safe, but they never
explained it, not that I remember.” P.R. Depo. at
85-86. S.R. recalls also that, during the meeting on May 1,
2017, Chapman mentioned a safety plan, but S.R. did not know
what it was, and Chapman did not explain to her what it
meant. S.R. Depo. at 21, 33.
testified that L.C.'s placement could not be determined
until the school heard from P.R.'s family what P.R.'s
plan was regarding returning to school. Chapman indicated
that S.R. did not communicate with her regarding their
family's plans to have P.R. return to school, but neither
did Chapman independently follow up with S.R. to inquire
about their wishes. Chapman testified there was no written
plan prepared for P.R. if she chose to attend Shoshone Middle
or High School after April 26th.
L.C.'s return to school after his suspension on May 16,
2017, the school put in place a safety plan for him. The plan
allowed L.C. to attend his required classes in the morning,
with supervision during all times on school
grounds. If P.R. returned to school, "there
would be further restrictions." Chapman Depo. at 52. It
is not clear from the record who would be supervising L.C.
There was nothing in writing regarding this "safety
plan" other than Chapman's handwritten notes, and
Chapman testified the plan had nothing to do with P.R.
Chapman testified that, unless and until P.R. returned to the
school, there was no need for a safety plan regarding P.R.
Chapman was waiting for P.R's mother to contact her
regarding P.R.'s intent to return to school before she
developed any further plans to keep P.R. and L.C. separate
while attending classes for the remainder of the school year.
testified that, in reviewing P.R.'s final report card at
the end of the spring semester, P.R. passed all her classes
except for writing, in which P.R. received an F. Her fourth
quarter grades consisted of five F's, two D's, one A,
and one B, while her final grades from her second semester
consisted of four D's, one F, one B, an A in PE, and two
C's. (Dkt. 23 at 55.) P.R. had less than a 90% attendance
rate during her second semester of eighth grade. She was
entitled to continue to the next grade level, despite her low
attendance and receiving an F for one of her final second
point in August of 2017, Chapman recalls learning that P.R.
would be homeschooled. Thereafter, school records indicate
that, on September 11, 2017, Shoshone High School sent
P.R.'s records to Gooding High School. Chapman made no
follow up inquiry. Chapman knew that L.C. was planning to
return to Shoshone High School for his senior year. She
testified that there was no reason P.R. could not have
enrolled, and that no one told P.R. or S.R. that P.R. could
not attend Shoshone High School. Chapman testified that, had
P.R. returned to the high school, she would have set up a
meeting and implemented a safety plan, but
because she was informed P.R. would be homeschooled, that
meeting never needed to occur.
did not speak with anyone at Shoshone High School concerning
whether P.R. could return to school for ninth grade, as she
had decided she did not want P.R. returning to Shoshone
“[b]ecause [L.C.] is in school and how they treat my
daughter, no.” S.R. Depo. at 31. P.R. testified that
she did not enroll in the ninth grade at Shoshone High School
because she “didn't want to be in school with
[L.C.], ” who she knew would be there. P.R. Depo. at
84-85. P.R. testified that she did not have any contact with
school district officials about going back to Shoshone High
School for ninth grade “because of what happened. I
just didn't feel safe.” P.R. Depo. at 86. In
September of 2017, P.R. enrolled at Gooding High School.
did reach out by email to Shoshone Middle or High School in
August of 2017, asking to speak with Waite. Chapman Depo. at
97. Waite did not recall who S.R. was, and upon receiving the
email, responded to Chapman, “is this the [L.C.]
situation girl, ” to which Chapman responded,
“yes I believe so.” (Dkt. 30-7 at 19-20.) Chapman
allegedly learned after the fact that Waite had met with S.R.
and had informed S.R. that “she could enroll [P.R.]
right now if she wanted to.” Id. Chapman
learned of the meeting, and its substance, third hand, from
the school secretaries, and there is no written note or
record of the conversation. Waite's deposition testimony
in the record does not specifically reference a meeting with
S.R. in August of 2017. S.R. recalled the meeting lasted for
five minutes, and that they discussed only why Chapman would
not talk to S.R. S.R. Depo. at 23.
L.C.'s return to high school in the fall of 2017, Chapman
testified that she recalled a meeting in August with L.C.
when she informed him, verbally, regarding the terms and
conditions of his supervision at school while attending
classes. But, she did not distribute anything in writing to
his teachers, and she does not recall whether she informed
L.C.'s teachers that he could not be in an unsupervised
who played soccer and basketball for Shoshone High School,
was informed he could not play high school sports his senior
year by Tim Chapman, the school athletic director, and Kelly
Chapman. L.C. Depo. at 11-13. L.C. was told also that,
depending upon the outcome of the criminal charges against
him, he could be subject to further discipline, including
expulsion. L.C. graduated from Shoshone High School in the
Spring of 2018. L.C. Depo. at 10. The criminal case against
L.C. was not concluded until after L.C. was no longer a
student at the high school.
Summary Judgment Standard
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides, in pertinent
part, that the “court shall grant summary judgment if
the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “Only
disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit
under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of
summary judgment.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
summary judgment purposes, an issue must be both
“material” and “genuine.” An issue is
“material” if it affects the outcome of the
litigation; an issue is “genuine” if it must be
established by “sufficient evidence supporting the
claimed factual dispute ... to require a jury or judge to
resolve the parties' differing versions of the truth at
trial.” Hahn v. Sargent, 523 F.3d 461, 464
(1st Cir. 1975) (quoting First Nat. Bank of Ariz. v.
Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S. 253, 289 (1968)); see
also British Motor. Car Distrib. v. San Francisco Auto.
Indus. Welfare Fund, 883 F.2d 371, 374 (9th Cir. 1989).
“Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a
rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party,
there is no genuine issue for trial.” Matsushita
Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574,
considering a motion for summary judgment, a court does not
make findings of fact or determine the credibility of
witnesses. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255. Rather, it
must draw all inferences and view all evidence in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party. See
Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587-88; Whitman v.
Mineta, 541 F.3d 929, 931 (9th Cir. 2008).
S.R. and P.R. Affidavits
response to Defendants' motion for summary judgment,
Plaintiffs submitted affidavits of S.R. and P.R., explaining
that the “relevant facts are best presented by
affidavits rather than repetitively stating in this brief
references to pages and lines in depositions.”
Pls.' Responsive Brief at 2. (Dkt. 30-2.) Plaintiffs'
intent was for the affidavits to be read together with the
deposition testimony. Thereafter, Defendants filed a motion
to strike certain paragraphs in each of the affidavits,
arguing they contain conclusory statements, argument, and
inadmissible hearsay, and that the testimony contradicts that
given during their depositions. Also, ...