The United States District Court for the District of Maryland recently granted a motion for summary judgment filed by Greg VanGeison and Cullen Casey on behalf of a director of human resources for a Maryland board of education. The director of human resources was sued by a former teacher who was non-renewed after being involved in a physical altercation with a student. The former teacher alleged that the defendants discriminated against him because of his race and also falsified various details about the altercation with potential employers which prevented him from finding subsequent employment. Mr. VanGeison and Mr. Casey asked the Federal Court to grant the defendants summary judgment on all of the Plaintiff's claims as he had failed to produce any evidence that he was treated differently than similarly situated teachers or that any of the defendants had shared any details regarding his physical altercation with a student.
Judge William Nickerson agreed and granted summary judgment to all defendants. In his written opinion, Judge Nickerson noted that the Plaintiff had “failed to produce any evidence suggesting that . . . he was treated more harshly” than any similarly situated teachers and even if he had produced such evidence there was nothing in the record that remotely suggested that his treatment by the defendants was motivated by his race. The Court also agreed that there was nothing in the record that demonstrated that any of the defendants had shared any false information regarding the Plaintiff's physical altercation with a student with anyone. Indeed, the record was clear that only one of the defendants had ever spoken with a prospective employer about the Plaintiff and that conversation was limited to the “fact” that the Plaintiff was involved in an altercation and was ineligible for rehire by the board of education. Accordingly, the Court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment and closed the case. The case is now on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.