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September 2019

Washington, D.C. Attorney Judith Lysaught Obtains Full Dismissal on Summary Judgment in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland

Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani Washington, D.C. attorney Judith Lysaught, obtained a complete dismissal of a lawsuit filed against a local County Board of Education, the County Board Superintendent and several County Board employees sued individually in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The plaintiff claimed Gordon & Rees’ clients violated the plaintiff’s First Amendment Free Speech and Fourteenth Amendment Due Process rights in retaliation for statements made in the course of a campaign for a seat on the local County Board of Education.  The plaintiff alleged that the defendants retaliated against him by eliminating his position after disparaging comments about the Board and the Superintendent were made during his wife’s campaign.  The plaintiff further alleged that as a tenured teacher, he was denied due process before his position was eliminated.

Gordon & Rees filed a Motion to Dismiss the plaintiff’s claims, which was granted in part, dismissing the claims against the Board, but allowing the claims against the Superintendent and individual employees to go forward.  Gordon & Rees then filed an Early Motion for Summary Judgment arguing that the defendants had qualified immunity and that the plaintiff was not tenured, as he had allowed his professional certification to lapse thereby nullifying his employment contract.  As a result, the plaintiff no longer had a property interest in continued employment at the time his position was eliminated, and, therefore, he was not entitled to due proess.

After engaging in limited discovery, the Court agreed with defendants and granted the Early Motion for Summary Judgment in its entirety as to all defendants.  The plaintiff did not appeal.

Judith G. Lysaught