Wilbanks v. Ypsilanti Community Schools, 071318 FED6, 17-2001

Docket Nº:17-2001
Opinion Judge:HELENE N. WHITE, Circuit Judge.
Party Name:AMBROSE WILBANKS, JR., Plaintiff-Appellant, v. YPSILANTI COMMUNITY SCHOOLS; YPSILANTI PUBLIC SCHOOLS BOARD OF EDUCATION; BENJAMIN EDMONDSON; AARON ROSE; DONALD E. WOOD, Defendants-Appellees.
Judge Panel:BEFORE: BATCHELDER, SUTTON, and WHITE, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:July 13, 2018
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
 
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AMBROSE WILBANKS, JR., Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

YPSILANTI COMMUNITY SCHOOLS; YPSILANTI PUBLIC SCHOOLS BOARD OF EDUCATION; BENJAMIN EDMONDSON; AARON ROSE; DONALD E. WOOD, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 17-2001

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

July 13, 2018

NOT RECOMMENDED FOR PUBLICATION

ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN

BEFORE: BATCHELDER, SUTTON, and WHITE, Circuit Judges.

HELENE N. WHITE, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff Ambrose Wilbanks, Jr., appeals the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of his former employer, Ypsilanti Community Schools, on his claims of retaliation under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. We AFFIRM.

I.

Wilbanks was employed as a special-education paraeducator or paraprofessional at various Ypsilanti schools from 2007 until September 2013, when he became a special-education teacher at Ypsilanti Community Schools Middle School. PID 223.1 In September 2015, Wilbanks and his colleagues sent a number of emails to supervisors, several carbon copied to the Middle School Principal, Defendant Aaron Rose, regarding inadequate staffing in the special-education classrooms, including the absence of a paraprofessional in Wilbanks's classroom. In mid-September and early October, Wilbanks was involved in two separate incidents with misbehaving students during which Wilbanks pushed one against a wall, and grabbed the arm of the second. The school's video cameras captured the first incident in full and the second in part. Both students reported the incidents to Defendant Rose. Wilbanks was placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. After Defendant Donald Wood, who was Human Resources Director for the school district at the time, conducted an investigation, he recommended to Defendant Board of Education that Wilbanks's employment be terminated for unprofessional conduct, specifically, for physically engaging two students. PID 282-84. The Board voted unanimously to terminate Wilbanks's employment in November 2015. PID 301.

Wilbanks filed a complaint in Washtenaw County Circuit Court, alleging retaliation in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12131 et seq., and § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (RA), 29 U.S.C. § 794, violation of the Michigan Whistleblower's Protection Act, wrongful discharge in violation of public policy, defamation, libel and slander, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. PID 7. Defendants removed the case based on federal jurisdiction. PID 1. Following discovery, Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, asserting that Wilbanks could not establish three of the four prima-facie elements of a retaliation case under the ADA and RA, nor show that the Board's legitimate non-discriminatory reason for terminating his employment was a pretext for retaliation. PID 129-38. The district court granted Defendants summary judgment. This appeal followed.

II.

We review de novo the district court's grant of summary judgment, viewing the facts and all reasonable factual inferences in non-movant...

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