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.

S.S., An Infant v. Whitesboro Cent. Sch. Dist.; David

January 31, 2012

S.S., AN INFANT;
LLOYD SCHOR, AS LEGAL GUARDIAN; AND ANDREA SCHOR, AS LEGAL GUARDIAN, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
WHITESBORO CENT. SCH. DIST.; DAVID LANGONE, SUPERINTENDENT OF WHITESBORO SCH. DIST.; MICHAEL DEUEL, ATHLETIC DIRECTOR OF WHITESBORO CENT. SCH. DIST.; JEFFERY KUHN, PRINCIPAL OF WHITESBORO HIGH SCHOOL; AND HEATHER COLE, COACH OF WHITESBORO HIGH SCHOOL SWIM TEAM, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Glenn T. Suddaby, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM-DECISION and ORDER

Currently before the Court, in this civil rights action filed by S.S., an infant, and by Lloyd Schor and Andrea Schor as legal guardians for her ("Plaintiffs") against Whitesboro Central School District, David Langone, Michael Deuel, Jeffery Kuhn and Heather Cole ("Defendants"), is Defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c). (Dkt. No. 13.) For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion is granted.

I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND

A. Plaintiff's Claims

Generally, liberally construed, Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint alleges that, between approximately August 2009 and June 2010, in Whitestown, New York, Defendants violated the following rights of Plaintiff S.S., who was an infant at that time: (1) Defendants violated her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA") by failing, during high school swim team practices, to make proper accommodations for her mental disability, which caused her to experience severe unannounced anxiety attacks in public places; and (2) Defendants violated her rights under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ("Rehabilitation Act") in the same manner. (See generally Dkt. No. 4 [Plfs.' Am. Compl.].)

More specifically, Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint alleges the following facts in support of these claims. Plaintiff S.S., who was born in January of 1995, was diagnosed in 2005 with a mental disorder, which causes her to suffer severe anxiety attacks in public. (Id.) Plaintiff S.S. has been treated by a psychologist and psychiatrist for this anxiety. (Id.) When Plaintiff S.S. enrolled at Whitesboro Senior High School for the 2009-2010 school year, her parents informed the school of Plaintiff S.S.'s condition and gave the school instructions regarding what to do when she suffered an anxiety attack. (Id.) Plaintiff S.S. "enrolled" in, and "did join and/or make," the school's swim team for the 2009-2010 school year. (Id.)

During practice, Defendant Cole (the swim team coach) would require the athletes to stay in the swimming pool for "extended periods of time." (Id.) However, severe onsets of anxiety would trigger in Plaintiff S.S. thoughts of drowning, which prevented her from being able to stay in the pool for such periods of time. (Id.) As a result, she would need to exit the pool during practice to ease her anxiety. (Id.) On "numerous occasions," all Defendants were "put on verbal notice" that Plaintiff S.S. needed to exit the pool during practices in order to ease her anxiety. (Id.) However, when Plaintiff S.S. exited the pool during practice, she was "verbally attacked" by Defendant Cole who told her on numerous occasions that, if she did not get back in the pool, she would be kicked off the swim team. (Id.) One or more other swim team members with disabilities were able to exit the pool during practice, without being reprimanded and/or threatened of being kicked off the swim team. (Id.)

In addition to experiencing anxiety attacks during swim practice, Plaintiff S.S. experienced severe anxiety attacks at swimming events. (Id.) In particular, she experienced a severe anxiety attack at a time trial on or about September 10, 2009, which caused her to get out of the pool and run to the restroom to ease her anxiety. (Id.) In response, Defendant Cole told S.S.'s guardians that "she did not get paid to baby-sit," and that Plaintiff S.S. was in jeopardy of being cut from the swimming team if she kept getting out of the water. (Id.) In addition, Plaintiff S.S. experienced a severe anxiety attack at a swim meet on or about October 8, 2009, which caused her to lose her self-composure. (Id.) In response, Defendant Cole told Plaintiff S.S., "[i]f you cannot compose yourself, go out with your Dad." (Id.) On numerous occasions, Defendant Cole told Plaintiff Andrea Schor that she could "tell when [Plaintiff S.S.] was faking anxiety, as opposed to having real attack." (Id.)

At no time did Defendant Cole attempt to accommodate Plaintiff S.S.'s mental disorder. (Id.) Rather, Defendant Cole took actions that were wonton, deliberate and without justification. (Id.) As a result of Defendant Cole's actions, Plaintiff S.S.'s disability was exacerbated to such an extent that she was unable to attend school for the rest of the school's fall semester. (Id.) Moreover, despite Plaintiffs' "repeated notice" to "School District Officials" about the situation and the marked toll it had taken on Plaintiffs S.S.'s academic success and emotional state, Defendants did "virtually nothing" to ensure that Plaintiff S.S.'s mental disorder was accommodated properly. (Id.)

Familiarity with the remaining factual allegations in support of Plaintiffs' claims are assumed in this Decision and Order, which is intended primarily for review by the parties. As relief for Plaintiff S.S.'s injuries, Plaintiffs request, inter alia, monetary damages and injunctive relief. (Id. at 8-9.) More specifically, the injunctive relief requested by Plaintiffs is "[a]n order enjoining defendants from engaging in the wrongful practices alleged herein and to provide plaintiff with a reasonable accommodation . . . ." (Id.)

B. Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings

Generally, in support of their motion for judgment on the pleadings, Defendants argue as follows: (1) Plaintiffs' claim under the ADA should be dismissed because they have failed to allege facts plausibly suggesting (a) it was possible to make reasonable accommodations for Plaintiff S.S.'s disability, and (b) Defendants exhibited deliberate indifference toward her disability; (2) Plaintiffs' claim under the Rehabilitation Act should be dismissed because they have failed to allege facts plausibly suggesting (a) it was possible to make reasonable accommodation for Plaintiff S.S.'s disability, (b) Defendants exhibited deliberate indifference toward her disability, and (c) Whitesboro Central School District receives federal funding sufficient to render it liable under the Rehabilitation Act; (3) Plaintiffs' request for injunctive relief should be denied because they have failed to allege facts plausibly suggesting that Plaintiff S.S. is currently threatened with irreparable harm; and (4) individually named Defendants should be dismissed from the case because (a) individuals may be sued only in their official capacity under the ADA and Rehabilitation Act when injunctive relief is sought and (b) holding individuals liable is redundant under the principle of vicarious liability. (See generally Dkt. No. 13, Attach. 1 [Defs.' Memo. of Law].)*fn1

In Plaintiffs' opposition to Defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings, they argue as follows: (1) Defendants' motion should be automatically denied because they have failed to submit a Statement of Material Facts, as required by Local Rule 7.1(a)(3) of the Local Rules of Practice for this Court, for motions for summary judgment; (2) Defendants failed to show that no genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether reasonable accommodation could have been made for Plaintiff's disability; (3) Plaintiff has alleged facts plausibly suggesting that Whitesboro County School District acted with deliberated indifference to Plaintiff's rights under federal law; (4) it is an undisputed fact, based on the current record, that Whitesboro School District receives federal funding; (5) injunctive relief should not be barred under the circumstances because the relevant legal issue is not whether Plaintiff has alleged facts plausibly suggesting irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction but whether Defendants have shown that it is undisputed, based on the current record, that Plaintiff will not experience irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction, which Defendants have not done; and (6) individuals named in their official capacity should not be dismissed from the case because Plaintiff is properly seeking injunctive relief. (See generally Dkt. No. 14 [Plfs.' Opp. Memo. of Law].)

In their reply, Defendants argue as follows: (1) Plaintiffs rely on the incorrect legal standard in opposing Defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings (and thus a Statement of Material Facts is not required under the circumstances); (2) Plaintiffs have still not alleged facts plausibly suggesting that it was possible to make reasonable accommodations for Plaintiff S.S.'s disability; (3) Plaintiffs have also not alleged facts plausibly suggesting that Defendants acted with deliberate indifference toward Plaintiff S.S.'s federally protected rights; (4) Plaintiffs have also not alleged facts plausibly suggesting that Whitesboro School District receives federal funding; (5) Plaintiffs have also not alleged facts plausibly suggesting that Plaintiff S.S. will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction; and (6) because Plaintiffs' request for injunctive relief should be dismissed (and, in the ...


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.