United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
HARVEY E. JACKSON, Plaintiff,
MIDDLE PENINSULA NORTHERN NECK COMMUNITY SERVICES BOARD, CHARLES R. WALSH, JR., and WILLIAM F. WALLACE, Defendants.
A. Gibney, Jr. United States District Judge.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
(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
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.
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
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.
II: Violation of ...