United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
R.D., a minor, by and through her personal representatives, CATHERINE DAVIS and SEAN DAVIS; and CATHERINE DAVIS, individually; and SEAN DAVIS, individually, Plaintiffs,
LAKE WASHINGTON SCHOOL DISTRICT, a municipal corporation, Defendant.
Honorable Richard A. Jones United States District Judge.
the Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.
Dkt. # 18. For the reasons below, the Court GRANTS in
part and DENIES in part
R.D. suffers from a genetic mutation that causes Chilblains-a
condition that causes her skin to crack, ulcerate, and become
necrotic when she is overly exposed to cold or damp
conditions. Dkt. # 39, ¶ 71. When R.D. started
kindergarten at the Carl Sandberg Elementary School (CSES) in
2012, her mother, Plaintiff Catherine Davis, requested a
§ 504 Plan to accommodate R.D.'s Chilblains.
Id., ¶ 72. Specifically, Davis requested that
CSES provide R.D. with indoor recess when weather conditions
were wet or under 55 degrees. Id.
of providing R.D. with a § 504 Plan, CSES provided R.D.
with an “Individualized Health Plan, ” (IHP) that
would nonetheless have the requested accommodations.
Id.; Dkt. # 39-1. However, R.D. does not recall
having indoor recess during kindergarten despite many days
under 55 degrees. Dkt. # 43, ¶ 2. In April 2013,
R.D.'s fingers were riddled with open sores and her toes
became swollen and too painful to walk. Dkt. # 39, ¶ 72.
Davis states that the kindergarten teacher did not seem aware
that R.D.'s IHP called for her to be insider for recess
when there was inclement weather. Id.
September 2013, before R.D. started first grade, Davis
attended a meeting at CSES about R.D's § 504 Plan.
Id., ¶ 73. This time, CSES provided Davis with
a one-page document, entitled “§ 504 Plan, ”
that permitted R.D. to receive indoor recess in keeping with
the previous year's IHP and doctor's notes concerning
her Chilblains. Id. R.D. states that she started
having indoor recess during the first grade. Dkt. # 43,
she was in third grade, R.D. claims that she was harassed and
bullied by another student, D.H. Id., ¶ 6. In
December 2015, R.D. came home from school with bruises on her
face and thigh. Dkt. # 39, ¶ 78. R.D. claims that she
suffered the bruises when she was carried down the hallway by
D.H., who later hit her in the face with a book. Dkt. # 43,
¶ 6. When school resumed after the holidays, around
January 5, 2016, Davis emailed R.D.'s third grade teacher
about the incident and asked her to separate the students.
Dkt. # 39-9.
R.D. continued to have issues with D.H. after the new year.
Dkt. # 43, ¶3. She claims that D.H. yanked her out of
class numerous times to work out their issues. Id.,
¶ 6. R.D. says that she became scared to go to school
because of negative interactions with D.H. and told this to
one of the CSES teachers. Dkt. # 43, ¶ 4. After hearing
about R.D.'s comments, CSES's school counselor met
with R.D. and D.H. about their ongoing issues. Id.
claim that the harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB)
continued into June 2016, when Catherine Davis witnessed D.H
shove R.D. Dkt. # 39, ¶78.1; Dkt. # 39-13. Davis again
emailed R.D.'s third grade teacher, noting there were
“repeated offenses” of D.H. being forceful with
R.D. Id. The teacher responded that R.D. stayed
inside at recess for most of the winter and spring months so
there were no interactions between D.H. and R.D. during that
time. Dkt. # 39-14.
the summer, in July 2016, Davis contacted CSES's
principal, Heather Frazier, to set up a meeting regarding the
alleged HIB and R.D.'s § 504 accommodations for the
upcoming fourth grade school year. Dkt. # 39, ¶ 88. Two
meetings eventually took place, one on August 5, 2016 and one
on September 1, 2016. Dkt. # 21, ¶ 5; Dkt. # 39,
¶¶ 91, 94. R.D. attended the August 5th meeting and
detailed alleged instances of physical bullying by D.H. Dkt.
# 43, ¶ 8. Following the meeting, Frazier initiated an
investigation into R.D.'s HIB claims against D.H. Dkt. #
21, ¶ 5. During the September meeting, the parties
discussed a “Support Plan, ” under which R.D. and
D.H. would no longer be in the same class and would not be
allowed to interact at school together. Dkt. # 39, ¶ 94,
95. CSES also assigned R.D. a paraeducator to assure that
R.D. and D.H. were kept separate during recess and lunch.
Dkt. # 21-1; Dkt. # 39, ¶ 94, 95. As for the § 504
accommodations, R.D.'s plan was revised to include
supervised inside recess with a variety of activities,
including “gross motor” activities. Dkt. # 39-5.
claim that the “Support Plan” to address
separating D.H. and R.D. was never finalized and, in October
2016, they subsequently removed R.D. from CSES pending the
outcome of the HIB investigation. Dkt. # 39, ¶¶
101, 102. The investigation was completed around January 2017
and found that there was insufficient evidence of HIB. Dkt. #
40-14. Davis states that CSES failed to explain whether the
allegations made by R.D. were found to be factual or what the
processes were for appeal. Dkt. # 39, ¶ 103. After R.D.
returned to school in January 2017, she states that she
stayed inside a lot for recess because of the weather. Dkt. #
43, ¶ 10. She claims that during recess she sat under a
flight of stairs every day. Dkt. # 19-1 at 10. After R.D.
told her parents about where she was spending recess, they
removed her from CSES on March 29, 2017. Dkt. # 39, ¶
25, 2018, R.D. and her parents Catherine Davis and Sean Davis
(the Davis's) filed suit against Defendant Lake
Washington School District (the District) alleging, among
other claims,  discrimination against R.D. on the basis
for her Chilblains disability in violation of the Americans
with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Rehabilitation Act of 1974
(section 504). Dkt. # 1-1. Plaintiffs also allege negligence
and loss of consortium claims based on harassment,
intimidation, and bullying experienced by R.D. at CSES.
Id. On July 10, 2018, the action was removed to
federal court. Dkt. # 1. On April 8, 2019, LWSD moved for
summary judgment and Plaintiffs opposed. Dkt. ## 18, 37. The
motion is now before the Court.
judgment is appropriate if there is no genuine dispute as to
any material fact and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving
party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence
of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Where the moving
party will have the burden of proof at trial, it must
affirmatively demonstrate that no reasonable trier of fact
could find other than for the moving party. Soremekun v.
Thrifty Payless, Inc., 509 F.3d 978, 984 (9th Cir.
2007). On an issue where the nonmoving party will bear the
burden of proof at trial, the moving party can prevail merely
by pointing out to the district court that there is an
absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's
case. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 325. If the moving
party meets the initial burden, the opposing party must set
forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue of
fact for trial in order to defeat the motion. Anders ...