135 F.Supp.3d 1126 (C.D.Cal. 2015), CV 15-3726-MWF (PLAx), P.P. v. Compton Unified School District

Docket NºCV 15-3726-MWF (PLAx)
Citation135 F.Supp.3d 1126
Opinion JudgeThe Honorable MICHAEL W. FITZGERALD, United States District Judge.
Party NameP.P., et al. v. Compton Unified School District, et al
AttorneyNo. CV 15-3726-MWF (PLAx) For P. P., a minor by Carolina Melendrez, guardian ad litem, Kimberly Cervantes, P. W., a minor, by Beatrice W., a guardian ad litem, V. W., a minor, by Beatrice W., guardian ad litem, D. J., a minor, by Lavina J., guardian ad litem, Rodney Curry, on behalf of themselves...
Case DateSeptember 29, 2015
CourtUnited States District Courts, 9th Circuit, Central District of California

Page 1126

135 F.Supp.3d 1126 (C.D.Cal. 2015)

P.P., et al.

v.

Compton Unified School District, et al

No. CV 15-3726-MWF (PLAx)

United States District Court, C.D. California

September 29, 2015

Page 1127

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1128

For P. P., a minor by Carolina Melendrez, guardian ad litem, Kimberly Cervantes, P. W., a minor, by Beatrice W., a guardian ad litem, V. W., a minor, by Beatrice W., guardian ad litem, D. J., a minor, by Lavina J., guardian ad litem, Rodney Curry, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Armando Castro, II, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Maureen Mccoy, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs: Anne Hudson-Price, Kathryn Ann Eidmann, Laura L Faer, Mark D Rosenbaum, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Public Counsel Law Center, Los Angeles, CA USA; Michael H Strub, Jr, Morgan Chu, Sara Adina Stohl, LEAD ATTORNEY, Irell and Manella LLP, Los Angeles, CA USA; Alisa Louise Hartz, Public Counsel, Los Angeles, CA USA.

For Compton Unified School District, Darin Brawley, in his official capacity as Superitendent of Compton Unified School District, Micah Ali, in their official capacities as members of the Board of Trustees of Compton Unified School District, Satra Zurita, in their official capacities as members of the Board of Trustees of Compton Unified School District, Margie Garrett, in their official capacities as members of the Board of Trustees of Compton Unified School District, Charles Davis, in their official capacities as members of the Board of Trustees of Compton Unified School District, Skyy Fisher, in their official capacities as members of the Board of Trustees of Compton Unified School District, Emma Sharif, in their official capacities as members of the Board of Trustees of Compton Unified School District, Mae Thomas, in their official capacities as members of the Board of Trustees of Compton Unified School District, Defendants: David Michael Huff, Jeremy Ehrlich, Kimble R Cook, Niv Vladimir Davidovich, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Orbach Huff Suarez and Henderson LLP, Los Angeles, CA USA.

OPINION

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CIVIL MINUTES--GENERAL

Proceedings (In Chambers) : ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION [42]

The Honorable MICHAEL W. FITZGERALD, United States District Judge.

Before the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction (the " Motion" ). (Docket No. 42). The Court has read and considered the papers filed on the Motion, and held a hearing on August 20, 2015. As set forth below, the Motion is DENIED. Plaintiffs have not demonstrated that the law and facts clearly favor the mandatory injunction sought in the Motion. In the absence of class certification, the evidence presented as to each named Plaintiff does not clearly support a claim of trauma-induced disability that would satisfy a reasonable expert in the field.

I. BACKGROUND

On May 18, 2015, students Peter P. (by Carolina Melendrez, guardian ad litem), Kimberly Cervantes, Phillip W. (by Beatrice W., guardian ad litem), Virgil W. (by Beatrice W., guardian ad litem), Donte J. (by Lavinia J., guardian ad litem) (the " Student Plaintiffs" ), on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, along with teachers Rodney Curry, Armando Castro, II, and Maureen McCoy (the " Teacher Plaintiffs" ) (collectively, " Plaintiffs" ) initiated the present suit by filing a Complaint. (Docket No. 1).

Plaintiff Peter P. is seventeen years old, resides within the boundaries of CUSD and Dominguez High School, and attends Dominguez High School. (Compl. ¶ 40). Plaintiff Kimberly Cervantes is eighteen years old, resides within the boundaries of CUSD and Dominguez High School, and attends Cesar Chavez Continuation School. ( Id. ¶ 41). Plaintiff Phillip W. is fifteen years old, resides within the boundaries of CUSD and Compton High School, " is currently in expulsion procedures from Dominguez High School," and attends school at " Team Builders, an alternative school in CUSD." ( Id. ¶ 42). Plaintiff Virgil W.--Phillip W.'s twin brother -- is fifteen years old, resides within the boundaries of CUSD and Compton High School, and attends Dominguez High School. ( Id. ¶ 43). Plaintiff Donte J. is thirteen years old, resides within the boundaries of CUSD and Whaley Middle School, and attends Whaley Middle School. ( Id. ¶ 44).

" Plaintiff Rodney Curry is a teacher at Dominguez High School in CUSD."

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( Id. ¶ 45). " Plaintiff Armando Castro II is a teacher at Cesar Chavez Continuation School in CUSD." ( Id. ¶ 46). " Plaintiff Maureen McCoy is a teacher at Centennial High School in CUSD." ( Id. ¶ 47).

Defendants in this action are the Compton Unified School District (" CUSD" ), as well as Darin Brawley (in his official capacity as Superintendent of Compton Unified School District), and Micah Ali, Satra Zurita, Margie Garrett, Charles Davis, Skyy Fisher, Emma Sharif, and Mae Thomas in their official capacities as members of the Board of Trustees of the Compton Unified School District (the " Individual Defendants" ) (collectively, " Defendants" ).

The Student Plaintiffs represent a putative class of current and future students in CUSD. (Compl. ¶ 55). " Defendant CUSD operates schools in the south central region of Los Angeles County and encompasses the city of Compton and portions of the cities of Carson and Los Angeles." ( Id. ¶ 48). " Compton is among the most socioeconomically distressed cities in Southern California, and it experiences attendant high rates of violent crime." ( Id. ¶ 74). The Complaint notes that " [d]ecades of research have proven that children who grow up in high-poverty neighborhoods characterized by minimal investment in schools, quality housing, after-school programs, parks, and other community resources are disproportionately likely to be exposed to trauma and complex trauma." ( Id. ¶ 1 (footnote omitted)).

" Trauma," as described in the Complaint, " stems from such causes as exposure to violence and loss, family disruptions related to deportation, incarceration and/or the foster system, systemic racism and discrimination, and the extreme stress of lacking basic necessities, such as not knowing where the next meal will come from or where to sleep that night." ( Id. ¶ 1). Similarly, " [c]omplex trauma stems from the exposure to multiple persistent sources of violence, loss, and other adverse childhood experiences ('ACEs'), and describes children's exposure to these events and the impact of this exposure." ( Id. (footnote omitted)).

The Student Plaintiffs and class members are alleged to " have experienced and continue to experience traumatic events that profoundly affect their psychological, emotional, and physical well-being." ( See id. ¶ ¶ 14-35, 73, 75-76). For example, the Complaint alleges that the following are " [r]epresentative examples of the traumatic incidents of violence that [Student] Plaintiffs have experienced or witnessed" : o Plaintiff Peter P. was repeatedly physically and sexually abused by his mother's boyfriends and witnessed physical abuse of his siblings and mother.

o Plaintiff Peter P. reports that he watched as his best friend was shot and killed.

o Plaintiff Peter P. was stabbed with a knife while trying to protect a friend.

o Plaintiff Peter P. reports that he has witnessed over twenty people being shot.

o Plaintiff Kimberly Cervantes was sexually assaulted on the bus on her way home from school.

o Plaintiff Phillip W. estimates that he has witnessed more than twenty people being shot, one of whom was a close friend who died when shot in the head.

o Plaintiff Virgil W. witnessed his father pointing a gun at his mother.

o A stranger attempted to stab Plaintiff Donte J. and his friends when they were standing in front of the Whaley Middle School campus.

o Plaintiff Donte J. was arrested by police at gunpoint on school campus

Page 1131 when he was mistaken for someone else.

o Plaintiff Donte J. was attacked by four people on his way to school.

( Id. ¶ 76). Other sources of trauma include: the death of or separation from a loved one ( see id. ¶ ¶ 85-90); placement of children in the foster system ( see id. ¶ ¶ 91-94); extreme poverty, homelessness, and other socioeconomic hardship ( see id. ¶ ¶ 95-97); and discrimination and racism ( see id. ¶ ¶ 98-105).

Peter P., for example, was initially separated from his siblings when he was placed in the foster system, has " moved in and out of a series of foster homes," has two older brothers and a prior caretaker who are currently incarcerated, and " spent two months of homelessness sleeping on the roof of his high school cafeteria." ( Id. ¶ ¶ 14-18, 97). Similarly, Kimberly Cervantes has " experienced multiple incidents of...

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