Gregory L. VanGeison and Cullen B. Casey, obtained summary judgment on behalf of two Kent County, Maryland, Board of Education members in a civil rights lawsuit filed by an elementary teacher. Baker v. Kent Co. Bd. of Educ., No. WMN-07-0824. (D.Md. 2008).
The lawsuit was filed after the teacher was implicated in a cheating scandal involving the 2005 Maryland School Assessment tests. After an investigation into the allegations of cheating, the teacher was initially recommended for termination by the superintendent and later reassigned and placed on a second class teaching certificate. As a result of the investigation and eventual discipline, the teacher sued the Kent County Board of Education, individual members of the Board of Education, the school superintendent and an assistant superintendent.
The teacher alleged that the individual board members violated her constitutional right to due process and were liable for intentional inflicted emotional distress. Mr. VanGeison and Mr. Casey asked that the Federal Court grant the board members summary judgment and dismiss the case in its entirety. Among other arguments, Mr. VanGeison and Mr. Casey asserted that the teacher had not presented any evidence that she was ever deprived of any constitutional rights as she was never terminated, never lost any pay and remained an employee of the school system. The teacher was also offered the opportunity to appeal the eventual discipline but withdrew her appeal without explanation.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland agreed and granted summary judgment in favor of all defendants. After a review of all the evidence and legal arguments, the Court stated that it could not “find that [the teacher's] due process rights were infringed in any way.” Examining the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim, the Court determined that the teacher failed to produce sufficient evidence that any defendants' actions were “extreme and outrageous” and that her claims failed as a matter of law.