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MICHELIN v. JENKINS

January 6, 1989

RONALD S. MICHELIN, Plaintiff,
v.
ANDREW E. JENKINS III, et al., Defendants


John Garrett Penn, United States District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: PENN

JOHN GARRETT PENN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 This case is before the Court on defendants' motion to dismiss. The facts in this case are in dispute. For the purposes of the motion to dismiss, the complaint is construed in the light most favorable to plaintiff and its allegations are taken as true. 5 Wright and Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure, § 1357 (2d ed. 1984). After careful consideration of the record in this case, the motions and opposition thereto, the Court concludes for the reasons set out below that this case must be dismissed.

 I.

 Plaintiff, a white male, has brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985(c) and 1986, the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution of the United States, and common law claims of libel and slander, wrongful, willful or negligent termination of employment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and tortious interference with employment status. Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages in the form of back pay from all defendants, and the difference between what he would have been entitled to as a permanent employee and his pay as a temporary teacher, and punitive damages of $ 250,000.00.

 Plaintiff graduated with a teaching degree from D.C. Teacher's College and was hired as a teacher by the D.C. Public Schools (herein "DCPS") in September of 1966. Since then he has taught in several schools during his 21 year teaching career with DCPS. He was transferred to Hardy School in February of 1983. Plaintiff first achieved "permanent" employee status in the Fall of 1968.

 In September of 1980, plaintiff was notified by the DCPS's personnel office that his employment status was being changed from "permanent" to "temporary" due to plaintiff's failure to complete a continuing education course which was required for his five year recertification. Plaintiff informed the personnel office that he had arranged to complete the course the previous year, but an automobile accident left him hospitalized and temporarily disabled and unable to attend classes to complete the course. Plaintiff asserts that Mr. Solomon Kendricks at the Teacher Certification office of DCPS informed plaintiff that he would qualify for a temporary medical waiver of the course requirements until such time when he could complete the course, and that plaintiff would be allowed to keep his job in the interim.

 Plaintiff asserts that he did complete the required course in the fall of 1980 and submitted proof of such completion along with his physician's certificate. The personnel office never reclassified plaintiff as "permanent". Plaintiff continued to work in the school system. He was a temporary teacher at Moten Middle School for school year 1980-81. On October 24, 1981, plaintiff was assigned to teach social studies at Alice Deal Junior High School as a temporary teacher where he taught the remainder of the school year 1981-82 and the fall of 1982. During the summer of 1983, plaintiff was offered a position at Hobson Middle School which he refused. Plaintiff contends that he was not informed that the position he was offered at Hobson Middle School had any different status than the position at Hardy. Plaintiff argues that as a result of his misclassification as "temporary", he suffered a loss of job security and a lower pay scale than what he was entitled.

 Plaintiff made numerous efforts to have his classification changed from "temporary" to "permanent". Plaintiff contends that on numerous occasions between 1983 and 1987 plaintiff's supervisor informed him that she and Dr. Handy were working on confirmation of his permanent status. In June of 1987, plaintiff was asked to participate in the secondary school improvement committee with four other teachers of the school. The secondary school improvement committee was intended to perform a critical review of the administration and performance of the school. At the committee's meeting on June 17, 1987, in which plaintiff participated, several teachers criticized the principal and the Region B administration for poor, sloppy and inadequate administration.

 On or about mid-August of 1987, when plaintiff appeared at Hardy School to pick up his check, defendant Garnett informed plaintiff that he was not on the school's list of teachers for the 1987-88 school year, and that he should check with the personnel office. Plaintiff was informed that defendant Handy, the Region B Superintendent, had terminated him because he had only "temporary" status and as such was automatically subject to non-renewal at the end of each school year. Plaintiff later met with defendant Jenkins, then Deputy Superintendent, who informed plaintiff that he had been terminated by Dr. Handy due to an incident wherein plaintiff allegedly inflicted corporal punishment on a student. Plaintiff alleges that the defendants termination of his employment was motivated by his participation and association with the school improvement committee, and that the report of corporal punishment was fabricated in order to justify the wrongful termination. Plaintiff was replaced in his teaching position at Hardy School by a Black male, who, plaintiff contends has less experience and qualifications than does plaintiff.

 II.

 Accepting the allegations in plaintiff's complaint as true, there are numerous questions raised about the DCPS handling of the plaintiff and DCPS's motive in terminating him; however, the complaint does not state a claim under §§ 1983, 1985(c) and 1986 or the Constitution.

 In order to establish a claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege that a policy of the municipality is the cause of his constitutional deprivation. A municipality may only be sued for constitutional deprivations visited pursuant to governmental custom as well as deprivations pursuant to a policy statement, ordinance, regulation, or decision officially adopted and promulgated by the body's officers. Monell v. New York City Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 690-91, 98 S. Ct. 2018, 2035-36, 56 L. Ed. 2d 611 (1978). The moving force for the alleged constitutional violation must be a policy or custom of the municipality. City of Oklahoma City v. Tuttle, 471 U.S. 808, 823-24, 105 S. Ct. 2427, 2435-36, 85 L. Ed. 2d 791 (1985). There has been no allegation that a policy of the District of Columbia caused the harm alleged by the plaintiff. See Harris v. District of Columbia, 652 F. Supp. 154, 156-158 (D.D.C. 1986) (plaintiff failed to allege that a policy of the District of Columbia caused or contributed to her alleged mistreatment).

 In support of his argument that the actions taken against the plaintiff were pursuant to a "policy" or ...


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