United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
E. Payne, Senior United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on the MOTION TO DISMISS AMENDED
COMPLAINT (ECF No. 25), filed by Defendants the School Board
for the City of Richmond ("RPS") and Dana T. Bedden
"Defendants"). For the reasons set forth below, the
motion will be granted.
Lightfoot ("Lightfoot") filed his original
COMPLAINT (ECF No. 1) on November 14, 2016. Lightfoot alleged
several claims against multiple individuals affiliated with
Linwood Holton Elementary School.
parties in this case attended the initial pretrial conference
on April 19, 2017. Based on the Court's review of the
COMPLAINT (ECF No. 2), DEFENDANT DAVID HUDSON'S MOTION TO
DISMISS (ECF No. 7), the MOTION TO DISMISS (ECF (ECF No.
12), and the supporting and opposing memoranda, the Court
determined that the Complaint did not adequately set forth
which claims were presented against which defendants nor did
the Complaint set forth plausible claims within the meaning
of Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007);
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 550 U.S. 662 (2009). Therefore,
the Court granted the Defendants' motions to dismiss, and
dismissed the Complaint without prejudice.
refiled an AMENDED COMPLAINT (ECF No. 23) on May 10, 2017.
The Amended Complaint names the following individuals as
defendants: Richmond Public Schools
("RPS"), Dana T. Bedden ("Bedden"),
individually, and David Hudson, individually. The Amended
Complaint sets forth six claims. COUNT 1 asserts a violation
of Title VII, and, although it is described as
"Hudson's Sexual Harassment of Lightfoot, " the
count is alleged only against RPS. (AC, ¶ 23) . COUNT 2
asserts a violation of Title VII, and, although it is
described as "Hudson's Retaliation Against Lightfoot
Because He Rejected Hudson's Sexual Overtures, " it
is alleged only against RPS. (AC, ¶ 31). COUNT 3 asserts
a violation of Title VII, and, although it is described as
"Retaliation Hudson Recommends Nonrenewal of
Lightfoot's Assistant Principal Position, " it is
only alleged against RPS. (AC, ¶ 36) . COUNT 4 asserts a
claim against Hudson for Hudson's Tortious Interference
with Lightfoot's Employment Contract. COUNT 5, alleged
against RPS and Bedden, challenges Bedden's Decision to
Nonrenew Lightfoot's Contract as a violation of
Lightfoot's Due Process Rights. COUNT 6, also alleged
against RPS and Bedden, asserts Bedden's Failure to Give
Lightfoot an Opportunity to Respond as a denial of
Lightfoot's Procedural Due Process Rights.
Defendants filed their respective motions to dismiss. By
separate Memorandum Opinion and Order, the Court granted
DEFENDANT DAVID HUDSON'S MOTION TO DISMISS (ECF NO 27).
Amended Complaint provides as follows: In the summer of 2014,
Lightfoot worked as a school counselor for the Richmond
Public School ("RPS"). (AC, ¶ 12). David
Hudson ("Hudson") was and remains the Principal of
Linwood Holton Elementary School. Id. at ¶ 11.
summer of 2014, during a track meet, Hudson approached
Lightfoot and stated that Lightfoot looked familiar.
Id. "Lightfoot told Hudson that he was
currently seeking an administrative position and Hudson
responded that he was seeking to appoint an assistant
principal at Holton Elementary and that Lightfoot should send
him his resume.":id. at ¶ 14. "Hudson told
Lightfoot that his lack of experience and training did not
matter to him because he would mentor and teach him
everything that he needed to know and that he would develop
Lightfoot into a principal in two to three years."
Id. at ¶ 17.
subsequently recommended Lightfoot for the assistant
principal position at Holton Elementary to Anthony Leonard
("Leonard"), the Assistant Superintendent of RPS,
and Dana T. Bedden ("Bedden"), the Superintendent
of RPS. Id. at ¶ 19. "Leonard and Bedden
did not agree with Hudson's request pointing out to
Hudson that Lightfoot lacked classroom and supervisory
experience during his employment with RPS." Id.
at ¶ 20. "Hudson was resolute and insistent . . .
[and] Bedden and Leonard reluctantly approved the
appointment." Id. at ¶¶ 21-22.
the first week of September 2014, which was at the start of
the 2014-2015 school year", Lightfoot noticed
"Hudson was intently gazing at his crotch."
Id. at ¶ 24. Hudson said to Lightfoot, "I
have expensive taste - you need to take me to the
Ritz-Carlton in Washington, DC." Id. at ¶
25. Lightfoot decided not to respond to Hudson's comment,
for fear that "any response would have jeopardized his
position." Id. at ¶ 27. Lightfoot alleges
that Hudson made at least ten or more sexually suggestive
comments to him after the first incident, "such as,
'when are you going to take me to dinner?'"
Id. at ¶ 29.
it became clear to Hudson that Lightfoot was not interested
in his sexual overtures, Hudson began a campaign to punish
Lightfoot's rejection of his sexual overtures which
created for Lightfoot a hostile work environment."
Id. at ¶ 33. "In the last week of August,
2014, Hudson gave Lightfoot a list of items to complete but
did not specify the time in which he expected the list to be
completed." Id. at ¶ 36(a). When Lightfoot
did not finish the tasks by the next week, "Hudson
responded that he felt that a week was ample time to complete
the list. When Lightfoot explained that he needed more time
and help to complete the list, Hudson replied, "I
can't evaluate you if I don't know what you can
do." Id. at ¶ 36(c). In November of 2014,
Lightfoot asked Hudson for help regarding a science museum
field trip but "Hudson refused and told Lightfoot that
he, Hudson, needed to see what he, Lightfoot, could do."
Id. at ¶ 36(e). On another occasions, Hudson
told Lightfoot "to revise the cafeteria schedule and
rearrange the cafeteria tables and adjust the lunch
times." Id. at ¶ 36(f). Because of his
short tenure in his position, Lightfoot did not know the
details to complete this task and "Hudson offered
Lightfoot no assistance with regard to this task."
February 9, 2015, Hudson delivered a letter to Lightfoot,
regarding an "IEP" meeting on February 4, 2015
"which Lightfoot inadvertently failed to attend because
he was at the University of Richmond attending a Leadership
Academy meeting." (Amend. Compl. ¶ 37) . The letter
indicated that Hudson was concerned about Lightfoot's
performance as assistant principal. Id.
response to the letter, Lightfoot requested a meeting with
Leonard in order to "advise him of Hudson's
treatment and to seek his advice." Id. at
¶ 38. Lightwood did not reveal to Leonard the
alleged harassment by Hudson but instead described the
"other" treatment by Hudson. Id. at ¶
41. Leonard advised Lightfoot that Hudson had already spoke
with him prior to the meeting and Hudson told Leonard about
Lightfoot missing the IEP meeting. Id. at ¶ 40.
Leonard subsequently called Hudson and explained that
"Hudson had fought to get Lightfoot hired" and
therefore "Hudson now had to mentor and train Lightfoot
. . . ." Id. ¶ 42.
next day, Hudson made a comment to Lightfoot stating,
"[o]h, you went to Dr. Leonard to tell on me" to
which Lightfoot did not respond. Id. at ¶ 43.
The following day, Hudson told Lightfoot he was going to
"non-renew" him, and told Lightfoot "[t]rust
me, I will get you." Id. at ¶¶ 43-44.
March 2015, Hudson recommended to Bedden that because of
"alleged performance problems" Lightfoot be
non-renewed as an assistant principal for the 2015-2016 year.
Id. at ¶ 46. "To support his nonrenewal
recommendation, Hudson turned over to HR several letters
which he claimed he gave to Lightfoot at the time they were
written." Id. at ¶ 47. One of the letters,
dated September 9, 2014, reflected Hudson's concerns that
"Lightfoot was not meeting his timelines and that his
productivity was in need of evaluation." Id. at
¶ 48. Lightfoot "concedes that he received"
the letter; however, he alleges that "Hudson falsely
claimed Lightfoot signed it." Id. Another
letter, from November 24, 2014, warned Lightfoot that Hudson
"saw certain deficiencies in Lightfoot's job
performance". Id. at ¶ 50. Lightfoot
alleged that "Hudson falsely represented"
Lightfoot's signature on this letter, and that Lightfoot
only saw the letter after Hudson's nonrenewal
recommendation in March. Id. at ¶¶ 52,
A similar letter, dated February 9, 2015, from Hudson, was
also turned over to HR and included Lightfoot's
signature. Id. at ¶¶ 53-54.
alleges that Hudson's nonrenewal to Bedden violated
Leonard's instructions to mentor Lightfoot. Id.
at ¶ 55. Furthermore, given the close proximity of the
recommendation for nonrenewal and Lightfoot's meeting
with Leonard, Leonard should have known that the
"nonrenewal recommendation by Hudson clearly constituted
retaliation on the part of Hudson because of Lightfoot's
meeting with Leonard." Id. at ¶ 56.