United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
L. F., in his individual capacity and as a parent of K.S.F. Student 1 and K.S.F. Student 2, Plaintiff,
LAKE WASHINGTON SCHOOL DISTRICT #414, Defendant.
S. ZILLY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Partial Summary Judgment Regarding First Amendment Violations
and § 504 Retaliation, docket no. 33
(“Plaintiff's Motion”), and Lake Washington
School District's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment,
docket no. 36 (“Defendant's Cross-Motion”).
Having reviewed all papers filed in support of, and in
opposition to, the motions, the Court enters the following
L.F.'s History of Abusive Communications
L.F. is a divorced parent of two students who attended
schools located within the Lake Washington School District
(the “District”). See Declaration of
Jonathon Hedin, docket no. 38 (“Hedin
Declaration”) at ¶¶ 2, 4; Declaration of
Robert Johnson, docket no. 40 (“Johnson
Declaration”) at ¶¶ 2, 4. L.F. alleges that
both of his children suffer from anxiety and behavioral
disorders which, in turn, adversely affect their school
performance. See, e.g., Amended Complaint, docket
no. 29 (the “Complaint”), at ¶¶ 6, 7,
10-12, 72, 95.
has a history of angry, aggressive, and hostile encounters
with District staff. See, e.g., Declaration of Matt
Livingston, docket no. 37 (“Livingston
Declaration”), at ¶¶ 17, 36-37; Hedin
Declaration at ¶¶ 6, 8. L.F.'s communications
were extraordinarily time-consuming and made District staff
feel threatened and intimidated. See Hedin
Declaration at ¶¶ 8, 10, 11, 13; Declaration of Sue
Anne Sullivan, docket no. 39 (“Sullivan
Declaration”), at ¶¶ 7, 10. Through his
communications, L.F. attempted to address issues concerning
his children's education and to discuss the possibility
of implementing a plan under Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 504”).
See Sullivan Decl. at ¶ 11.
The District Implements the Communication Plan
November 23, 2015, the District issued to L.F. a plan in
response to L.F.'s troublesome communications.
Declaration of Carlos A. Chavez, docket no. 42 (“Chavez
Declaration”), Exhibit 20 (the “Communication
Plan” or “Plan”). The Plan informed L.F.
that his communication pattern with the District was not
“a productive use of valuable District
resources.” Id. at 1. The Plan further
notified L.F. that “the tone and manner of some of
[his] communication and interaction with District staff and
administrators has regrettably made several of these
individuals feel intimidated and bullied.” Id.
Because of the “unproductive communication
pattern” that had developed, the Plan set forth various
procedures designed to process and respond to any issues L.F.
wished to raise with the District or its staff. Id.
These procedures centered on a biweekly meeting that would be
held between L.F. and three District personnel. See
generally Id. The Plan stated that all of his
communications with District staff should be made at these
meetings and that District employees would not respond to
other attempts to communicate. It confirmed that “[a]ll
of [L.F.'s] issues with the District involving [his]
students should be addressed . . . at our biweekly
meetings.” Id. at 1.
Plan did not restrict L.F.'s normal access to school
records or his attendance at any school activities ordinarily
open to parents, and did not apply in emergency situations.
Id. The District advised L.F. that the Plan was a
final decision from which he could appeal under RCW
28A.645.010 and that, should he choose to ignore the Plan,
the District could seek an Anti-Harassment Order against him.
Id. at 2. L.F. never challenged or appealed the
Communication Plan under the statute.
with the Plan, the designated District personnel met with
L.F. to discuss any issues pertaining to his students'
education. See Sullivan Decl. at ¶¶ 28-33;
Livingston Decl. at ¶¶ 21-25. Despite numerous
subsequent meetings with District staff and opportunities to
advocate on behalf of his children consistent with the Plan,
L.F.'s communications with the District remained
problematic. See, e.g., Sullivan Decl. at
¶¶ 33-34; Johnson Decl. at ¶ 14; Chavez Decl.,
January 28, 2016, the District notified L.F. that he had
violated the Communication Plan and that the District would
“be imposing additional sanctions” for the
violations. Chavez Decl., Exhibit 34. These sanctions
included reducing the District's periodic meetings with
L.F. to once a month. Id. (LWSD006728); Sullivan
Decl. at ¶ 35. L.F. violated the Plan again at the
beginning of the 2016-17 school year. Sullivan Decl. at
¶ 41; Chavez Decl. Exhibits 39, 40. The District met
with L.F. on October 28, 2016, during which time he was
visibly angry, speaking in an extremely loud voice, and
physically intimidating District personnel. Sullivan Decl. at
¶ 43. After this meeting, the District concluded that
in-person meetings with L.F. were counterproductive and
potentially dangerous for District personnel. Sullivan Decl.
at ¶ 45; Livingston Decl. at ¶ 32-33. Accordingly,
on November 3, 2016, the District revised the Communication
Plan a second time to remove in-person meetings and, instead,
require L.F. to communicate with District personnel via
email. Sullivan Decl. at ¶ 46, Livingston Decl. at
¶ 33; Chavez Decl., Exhibit 48.
The District Implements a Section 504 Plan and L.F. Initiates
November 22, 2016, the Guidance Team met and determined that
one of L.F.'s children should be evaluated for a Section
504 plan. On December 16, 2016, that child was found eligible
for a 504 Plan, which went into effect in January 2017.
Sullivan Decl. at ¶ 48.
initiated this lawsuit on March 10, 2017. See docket
no. 1. The operative complaint asserts three claims: (1)
violation of Section 504; (2) 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983,
1988 for violation of L.F.'s First and Fourteenth
Amendments' right to free speech; and (3) violation of
the Washington Law Against Discrimination, RCW 49.60 ...