Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Jackson v. Middle Peninsula Northern Neck Community Services Board

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division

January 18, 2017

HARVEY E. JACKSON, Plaintiff,
v.
MIDDLE PENINSULA NORTHERN NECK COMMUNITY SERVICES BOARD, CHARLES R. WALSH, JR., and WILLIAM F. WALLACE, Defendants.

          OPINION

          John A. Gibney, Jr. United States District Judge.

         Middle Peninsula Northern Neck Community Services Board (the "CSB") fired Harvey Jackson for having a sexual relationship with a CSB client. Jackson did not know that his sexual partner was a client of the CSB. Jackson sued, alleging violations of various due process rights and defamation. The defendants have moved to dismiss all but one of the claims. Because the CSB's actions neither shock the conscience nor tend to incite violence, the Court GRANTS the defendants' motion to dismiss Counts II and IV. Because the termination-related letters sent by the CSB may contain false information, however, the Court DENIES the defendants' motion to dismiss Counts III and V.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The CSB serves the needs of individuals within its region who have issues associated with mental health, substance abuse, intellectual disabilities, and developmental disabilities. The CSB hired Jackson in 2011 as a Residential Facility Technician. In 2013, Jackson met Olivia Russell through a friend from church. Unbeknown to Jackson, Russell was a client of the CSB. In early 2015, Jackson and Russell began a consensual sexual relationship.

         On June 4, 2015, the CSB Director of Human Resources, William Wallace, met with Jackson and asked him about his relationship with Russell. Jackson admitted to having a sexual relationship with Russell and to giving her money when she ran short. During this meeting, Wallace instructed Jackson to stay away from Russell. Wallace never informed Jackson that Russell was a client of the CSB. Later that day, Wallace called Jackson and fired him.

         That same afternoon, the CSB Executive Director, Charles Walsh, Jr., sent a letter to Jackson confirming his termination. Walsh copied three other CSB employees on the letter, the Residential Services Coordinator, the District Manager, and the Residential House Manager.

         The letter stated in part:

I am taking this action based on the interview you had with Mr. Wallace today wherein you admitted to having had a consensual sexual and otherwise inappropriate relationship with a CSB client. These actions are in direct violation of the [CSB] Policy Manual, paragraph 5.4D5 that prohibits relationships with clients of the nature you had admitted to have had. Your relationship with this client and the manner in which it was conducted is sufficiently egregious that I am left with no alternative but to remove you from CSB employment.

(Am. Compl. ¶ 39, Ex. C) (the "Termination Letter"). CSB Policy Manual ¶ 5.4(D)(5) prohibits any employee from having "any inappropriate involvements and/or relationships" with clients. (Id. at ¶ 40, Ex. D.) The policy defines this term to include "dual relationship, fraternization, [and] sexual contact." (Id.)

         In the days that followed, the CSB conducted an investigation into Jackson's relationship with Russell, interviewing Russell in the process. During this interview, Russell stated that she never told Jackson that she was a CSB client. At the end of the investigation, Walsh concluded that while Jackson had not exploited or abused Russell, his conduct violated CSB policy. On June 11, 2015, Walsh sent a letter to Russell (the "Russell Letter") informing her of the results of the investigation and that the CSB had taken "appropriate action." (Am. Compl. ¶ 46, Ex. E.)

         After his termination from the CSB, Jackson applied for a job at Pamunkey Regional Jail. As part of the application process, the jail required Jackson to sign an "Authorization to Obtain Information" form to send to former employers. Jackson alleges that the CSB has a practice of releasing personnel files-including information regarding the reasons for termination-to all inquiring employers. Pamunkey Regional Jail did not hire Jackson, nor did a number of other potential employers.

         II. DISCUSSION[1]

         Jackson alleges five counts in his complaint: (I) violation of procedural due process under the Fourteenth Amendment, 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (II) violation of substantive due process under the Fourteenth Amendment, specifically his right to privacy, 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (III) common law defamation; (IV) violation of Virginia's insulting words statute, Va. Code § 8.01-45; and (V) violation of substantive due process under the Fourteenth Amendment, specifically his liberty interest in his reputation, 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The defendants have moved to dismiss Counts II through V.

         Count II: Violation of ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.