Bruning v. Carroll Community School Dist., No. C04-3091-MWB.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
Writing for the CourtBennett
Citation486 F.Supp.2d 892
PartiesRobin and Denny BRUNING, as parents and next friends of Heather BRUNING, a minor; Aggie Kuhlman, as mother and next friend of Rachael Dixon, a minor; Joey and James Everett, as parents and next friends of Courtney Everett, a minor, Plaintiffs, v. CARROLL COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT; Steve Schultz, both individually and in his official capacity; Rob Cordes, both individually and in his official capacity; and, Leona Hoth, both individually and in her official capacity, Defendants.
Decision Date19 April 2007
Docket NumberNo. C04-3091-MWB.
486 F.Supp.2d 892
Robin and Denny BRUNING, as parents and next friends of Heather BRUNING, a minor; Aggie Kuhlman, as mother and next friend of Rachael Dixon, a minor; Joey and James Everett, as parents and next friends of Courtney Everett, a minor, Plaintiffs,
v.
CARROLL COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT; Steve Schultz, both individually and in his official capacity; Rob Cordes, both individually and in his official capacity; and, Leona Hoth, both individually and in her official capacity, Defendants.
No. C04-3091-MWB.
United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Central Division.
April 19, 2007.

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Jean Pendleton, Pendleton Law Firm, PC, West Des Moines, IA, Roxanne Barton Conlin, Roxanne Conlin & Associates, Des Moines, IA, for Plaintiffs.

C. Ann Jordan, Jordan & Quinn, PC, Boone, IA, for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER REGARDING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

BENNETT, District Judge.


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 TABLE OF CONTENTS
                I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND .......................................896
                A. Procedural Background ...........................................896
                B. Factual Background ................................................898
                II. LEGAL ANALYSIS....................................................911
                A. Summary Judgment Standards.........................................911
                B. Plaintiffs' Substantive Due Process Claim..........................912
                C. Plaintiffs' Equal Protection Claim.................................912
                D. Plaintiffs' § 1983 Claims ....................................912
                E. Qualified Immunity ................................................912
                F. Plaintiffs' Title IX Claims .......................................912
                 1. The District's knowledge of the harassment......................913
                 2. Was the District deliberately indifferent to the harassment?....915
                 3. Severity and pervasiveness of harassment .......................916
                G. Plaintiffs' Iowa Civil Rights Act Claims ..........................918
                H. Plaintiffs' Iowa Tort Claims ......................................919
                 1. Immunity under Iowa Municipal Tort Claims Act ..................919
                 2. Breach of duty to protect plaintiffs ...........................921
                 3. Premises Liability..............................................922
                III. CONCLUSION ......................................................923
                
I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
A. Procedural Background

On December 7, 2004, plaintiffs Robin Bruning and Denny Bruning, on behalf of their daughter, Heather Bruning, Aggie Kuhlman, on behalf of her daughter Rachael Dixon, and Joey Everett and James Everett, on behalf of their daughter, Courtney Everett, filed a complaint in this court against Carroll Community School District ("the District"), Steve Schultz, individually and in his official capacity as the superintendent for Carroll Community School District, Rob Cordes, individually and in his official capacity as the principal of Carroll Middle School, Leona Hoth, individually and in her official capacity as the assistant principal of Carroll Middle School, Steven Kanealy, and his parents Mark Kanealy and Kendra Kanealy. This lawsuit arises from the alleged sexual harassment of Heather Bruning, Rachael Dixon, and Courtney Everett by defendant Steven Kanealy and two other minor students which took place at Carroll Middle School. In Count I of their complaint, plaintiffs allege that defendants, the District, Schultz, in his official capacity, Cordes, in his official capacity, and Hoth, in her official capacity, violated the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution by failing to protect plaintiffs Heather Bruning, Rachael Dixon, and Courtney Everett from alleged sexual harassment. In Count II of their complaint, plaintiffs allege that defendants, the District, Schultz, in his official capacity, Cordes, in his official capacity, and Hoth, in her official capacity, violated plaintiffs' Substantive Due Process. Rights by allowing defendant Steven Kanealy and two other male students to sexually harass plaintiffs Heather Bruning, Rachael Dixon, and Courtney Everett by virtue of the police, practice and custom of the District. In Count III, plaintiffs allege that defendant the District violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 ("Title IX"), 20 U.S.C. § 1681, by permitting the sexual harassment of plaintiffs Heather Bruning, Rachael Dixon, and Courtney Everett by male students to go unchecked. In Count IV, plaintiffs allege that defendant

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the District violated the Iowa Civil Rights Act, Iowa Code Ch. 216, by permitting the sexual harassment of plaintiffs Heather Bruning, Rachael Dixon, and Courtney Everett by male students. In Count V of their complaint, plaintiffs allege that defendants, the District, Schultz, in his official capacity, Cordes, in his official capacity, and Hoth, in her official capacity, violated 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by permitting plaintiffs' rights under the Equal Protection Clause and the Constitution of the State of Iowa to be violated by allowing the sexual harassment of plaintiffs Heather Bruning, Rachael Dixon, and Courtney Everett. In Count VI, plaintiffs allege that defendant the District was negligent in permitting the sexual harassment of plaintiffs Heather Bruning, Rachael Dixon, and Courtney Everett by male students to occur. In Count VII, plaintiffs allege that defendant the District is liable for allowing on school premises the harm caused to plaintiffs Heather Bruning, Rachael Dixon, and Courtney Everett as a result of their sexual harassment at the hands of male students. In Count VIII, plaintiffs allege that defendant the District is liable for the harm caused to plaintiffs Heather Bruning, Rachael Dixon, and Courtney Everett as a result of the District's failure to protect them from the sexual harassment by male students. In Count IX of their complaint, plaintiffs allege a claim for assault against defendant Steven Kanealy. In Count X, plaintiffs allege a claim for battery against defendant Steven Kanealy. In Count XI, plaintiffs allege a claim for tortious infliction of severe emotional distress against defendant Steven Kanealy. In Count XII of their complaint, plaintiffs allege a claim for negligence against defendants Mark Kanealy and Kendra Kanealy for their failure to prevent their son Steven Kanealy from harassing, abusing and assaulting plaintiffs Heather Bruning, Rachael Dixon, and Courtney Everett.

On January 26, 2005, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint in this matter in which they reasserted all twelve claims made in their original complaint. In addition, in Count XIII of their amended complaint, plaintiffs allege a slander claim against John DeBolt in his official capacity as the Juvenile Court Officer for Carroll County. Plaintiffs allege that DeBolt made oral statements to the Carroll County newspaper which were slanderous. On April 1, 2005, plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint in this matter in which they reasserted all thirteen claims made in their first amended complaint. On March 22, 2006, plaintiffs filed a third amended complaint in this matter to reflect the dismissal of Steven Kanealy, Mark Kanealy, and Kendra Kanealy from this lawsuit, as well as those claims specifically directed at them. Plaintiffs reassert the remaining nine claims in their second amended complaint against the remaining defendants.1

The remaining defendants in this case, the District, Steve Schultz, Rob Cordes, and Leona Hoth, have filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on plaintiffs' claims against them. First, in their motion, defendants assert that the District and the District's personnel's actions or inactions cannot, as a matter of law, support a substantive due process claim. Second, regarding plaintiffs' equal protection claims, defendants contend that plaintiffs' claims fail as a matter of law because defendants did not have a constitutional duty to protect plaintiffs. Third, concerning plaintiffs' claims brought under 42 U.S.C.

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§ 1983, defendants contend that these claims constitute nothing more than reallegations of plaintiffs' equal protection and substantive due process claims. Fourth, defendants Schultz, Cordes and Hoth seek summary judgment as to the claims against them on the ground that they are entitled to qualified immunity. Fifth, the District also seeks summary judgment on plaintiffs' claims brought under Title IX, arguing that plaintiffs have no proffered sufficient evidence on each element of their Title IX claims to survive summary judgment; specifically, that plaintiffs cannot establish that it was deliberately indifferent to their harassment, that it had timely knowledge of the sexual harassment, or that the alleged acts were sufficiently severe and pervasive so as to deprive plaintiffs of access to educational opportunities or benefits provided by the school. Sixth, the District requests summary judgment on plaintiffs' claims against it under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, Iowa Code § 216.9, asserting that plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that they were denied access to the educational opportunities offered by the Carroll Middle School. Finally, the District also seeks summary judgment on plaintiffs' Iowa state law tort claims for negligence, premises liability and failure to protect; asserting that it was exercising discretionary function in disciplining students and is therefore immune from liability for plaintiffs' tort claims under the Iowa Municipal Tort Claims Act, Iowa Code § 670.4, that it has not breached its duty to protect students from student on student harassment, and that plaintiffs allegations are insufficient as a matter of law to support a claim for premises liability. Plaintiffs have filed a timely response to defendants' Motion For Summary Judgment.

Before turning to a legal analysis of defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, the court must first identify the...

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5 practice notes
  • S.S. v. Alexander, No. 58335-2-I.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • February 11, 2008
    ...F.3d at 694; Vance, 231 F.3d at 259; Murrell v. Sch. Dist. No. 1, 186 F.3d 1238 (10th Cir.1999); Bruning v. Carroll Cmty. Sch. Dist., 486 F.Supp.2d 892 (N.D.Iowa 2007); Doe v. Oyster River, 992 F.Supp. at 481. Similarly, where an institution fails to notify law enforcement of a criminal act......
  • Bellino Fireworks, Inc. v. City of Ankeny, No. 4:17-cv-00212-RGE-CFB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States State District Court of Southern District of Iowa
    • July 19, 2018
    ...United States , 486 U.S. 531, 108 S.Ct. 1954, 100 L.Ed.2d 531 (1988) ) ); accord Bruning ex rel. Bruning v. Carroll Cmty. Sch. Dist. , 486 F.Supp.2d 892, 920 (N.D. Iowa 2007). The exception is narrowly construed; "liability is the rule and immunity the exception." Madden v. City o......
  • K.R.S. v. Bedford Cmty. Sch. Dist., No. 4:13–cv–00147–HCA.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States State District Court of Southern District of Iowa
    • April 20, 2015
    ...that have been reported to them." Doe v. Galster, 768 F.3d 611, 617–18 (7th Cir.2014) ; see Bruning v. Carroll Comm. Sch. Dist., 486 F.Supp.2d 892, 913–14 (N.D.Iowa 2007).The football coaches testified K.R.S. did not tell them about the football throwing incidents. K.R.S. testified he ......
  • Nagel v. City of Jamestown, CIVIL ACTION NO. 17-00066-WGY
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of North Dakota
    • August 2, 2018
    ...standard may raise a factual issue that precludes summary judgment. See Bruning ex rel. Bruning v. Carroll Cmty. Sch. Dist., 486 F.Supp.2d 892, 912 (N.D. Iowa 2007). As the facts are presented here, however, a reasonable official would understand that this issue was closely related to the p......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • S.S. v. Alexander, No. 58335-2-I.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • February 11, 2008
    ...F.3d at 694; Vance, 231 F.3d at 259; Murrell v. Sch. Dist. No. 1, 186 F.3d 1238 (10th Cir.1999); Bruning v. Carroll Cmty. Sch. Dist., 486 F.Supp.2d 892 (N.D.Iowa 2007); Doe v. Oyster River, 992 F.Supp. at 481. Similarly, where an institution fails to notify law enforcement of a criminal act......
  • Bellino Fireworks, Inc. v. City of Ankeny, No. 4:17-cv-00212-RGE-CFB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States State District Court of Southern District of Iowa
    • July 19, 2018
    ...United States , 486 U.S. 531, 108 S.Ct. 1954, 100 L.Ed.2d 531 (1988) ) ); accord Bruning ex rel. Bruning v. Carroll Cmty. Sch. Dist. , 486 F.Supp.2d 892, 920 (N.D. Iowa 2007). The exception is narrowly construed; "liability is the rule and immunity the exception." Madden v. City o......
  • K.R.S. v. Bedford Cmty. Sch. Dist., No. 4:13–cv–00147–HCA.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States State District Court of Southern District of Iowa
    • April 20, 2015
    ...that have been reported to them." Doe v. Galster, 768 F.3d 611, 617–18 (7th Cir.2014) ; see Bruning v. Carroll Comm. Sch. Dist., 486 F.Supp.2d 892, 913–14 (N.D.Iowa 2007).The football coaches testified K.R.S. did not tell them about the football throwing incidents. K.R.S. testified he ......
  • Nagel v. City of Jamestown, CIVIL ACTION NO. 17-00066-WGY
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of North Dakota
    • August 2, 2018
    ...standard may raise a factual issue that precludes summary judgment. See Bruning ex rel. Bruning v. Carroll Cmty. Sch. Dist., 486 F.Supp.2d 892, 912 (N.D. Iowa 2007). As the facts are presented here, however, a reasonable official would understand that this issue was closely related to the p......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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