United States District Court, D. Maryland
Catherine C. Blake United States District Judge
Jamie Lewis brings suit against the Baltimore City Board of
School Commissioners (“the Board”), Jerome Jones,
and others, alleging sex discrimination, retaliation, and
disability discrimination in violation of Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) and the
Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”). The Board and Jones have filed a motion
for summary judgment. The issues have been fully briefed, and
no hearing is necessary. See Local R. 105.6 (D. Md.
2014). For the reasons stated below, the court will grant the
defendants’ motion for summary judgment.
began working as a language arts teacher at Northeast Middle
School in August 2006. (Lewis Dep. 25, Mot. Summ. J. Ex. A,
ECF No. 18-2.) Wanda Young, the principal of the school at
the time, promoted Lewis to the position of assistant
principal in March 2007. (Id. at 25-27, 32.) By the
2011-2012 academic year, however, Lewis and Young’s
relationship had become strained. Young sent Lewis an email
expressing her dismay when Lewis attended a professional
development seminar without Young’s permission. (Young
June 22, 2011 Email, Mot. Summ. J. Ex. B, ECF No. 18-3.)
Young also wrote to Lewis to explain that Lewis had failed to
attend a meeting Young had scheduled, and that Lewis did not
follow protocol when signing out. (Young October 21-28, 2011
Emails, Summ. J. Ex. F, ECF No. 18-7; Young October 26, 2011
Email, Summ. J. Ex. G, ECF No. 18-8.) Young notified Lewis
when she had reached “3 occasions of lateness and 3
occasions of absences” and asked her to “adhere
to the attendance policy.” (Young October 13, 2011
Email, Mot. Summ. J. Ex. C, ECF No. 18-4; Attendance Record,
Mot. Summ. J. Ex. E, ECF No. 18-6.) On December 5, 2011,
after Lewis had accumulated five periods of absence, the
Baltimore City Public Schools Office of Human Capital
(“Human Capital Office”) sent her a “formal
written caution that failure to adhere to the Attendance
Program may result in disciplinary action up to and including
dismissal.” (Letter of Caution, Summ. J. Ex. D, ECF No.
18-5.) Additionally, Lewis did not properly fill out teacher
evaluation forms in 2011. (Lewis Dep. 81-100; Young Memo,
Summ. J. Ex. I, ECF No. 18-10.) In many evaluations, Lewis
failed to complete the sections for the observer’s
supporting statements and areas for improvement. (Young Memo;
Formal Observation Reports, Mot Summ. J. Ex. K, ECF No.
18-12; Lewis Dep. 90-100.) Young ultimately issued Lewis a
written reprimand. (Written Reprimand, Mot. Summ. J. Ex. J,
ECF No. 18-11.)
December 2011, Lewis filed a sexual harassment complaint with
the Baltimore City Public Schools Equal Employment
Opportunity Office (“EEO Office”). (Lewis Dep.
151.)Lewis claimed that Young had written and
sent an anonymous letter to Lewis’s house on October 8,
2011. (Young Letter, Pl.’s Opp’n Ex. 40, ECF No.
24; Lewis Dep. 325-327.) The author of the letter claimed to
be the mistress of Lewis’s husband and wrote that Lewis
“look[s] like a he-man with that big, donkey
ass.” (Young Letter.) Lewis also alleged that Young
harassed her by verbally reprimanding her in front of her
colleagues. (Lewis Dep. 135-142.) In one instance, Lewis was
addressing a payroll issue with a substitute teacher before
responding to a request from Young, and Young said,
“See, that’s the problem I have with people. . .
. I can’t tell my boss to wait a minute. It’s
going to be some changes around here. People are not going to
be asked to come back here. I’m getting rid of
people.” (Lewis. Dep. 137-139.)
the EEO Office determined that Lewis’s allegations
amounted to “a generalized complaint of misconduct,
” and not sexual harassment under Title VII, the EEO
Office transferred the complaint to the Board’s Office
of Staff Investigations (“Staff Investigations”),
which handles general complaints of staff misconduct. (Jones
Response, Pl.’s Opp’n Ex. 37, ECF No. 24; Lewis
Dep. 152-153.) On August 20, 2012, Staff Investigations sent
Lewis a letter confirming that the department had completed
its investigation of her complaint and determined that
“the allegations are . . . substantiated.” (Staff
Investigations Letter, Def.’s Mot. Summ. J. Ex. L, ECF
No. 18-13.) As a result of the findings, Young was demoted
from her principal position at Northeast Middle School.
became ill from stress she suffered due to her work
environment, and on February 7, 2012, the Board granted
Lewis’s request for leave under the Family Medical
Leave Act (“FMLA”) to take care of her health
condition from January 25, 2012 until May 26, 2012. (FMLA
Letter, Def.’s Mot. Summ. J. Ex. M, ECF No. 18-14;
Lewis Dep. 149-150.) On June 8, 2012, Lewis notified the
Board that she would return to work on June 12, 2012 as an
assistant principal at Coppin Academy High School, a charter
school within the Baltimore City Public School System. (Lewis
June 12, 2012 Letter, Def.’s Mot. Summ. J. Ex. N, ECF
No. 18-15; Lewis Dep. 153-154.) Coppin Academy offered Lewis
a position while she was on FMLA leave, and Lewis worked at
the school for a period of time. (Lewis Dep. 154-55, 161,
167.) The Board contends that it removed Lewis from the
assistant principal position at Coppin Academy because her
hiring did not receive the required approval from either the
Board of School Commissioners or the Human Capital Office.
(Edwards July 17, 2012 Email, Pl.’s Opp’n Ex. 33,
ECF No. 24.)
29, 2012, the Board sent Lewis a letter notifying her that
she would be reassigned to a teacher level position for the
2012-2013 academic year pursuant to Md. Code Ann., Educ.
§ 6-201, which permits the chief executive officer to
“transfer [personnel] as the needs of the schools
require.” (First Reassignment Letter, Def.’s Mot.
Summ. J. Ex. O, ECF No. 18-16.) Lewis received an
unsatisfactory annual evaluation for the 2011-2012 academic
year from Northeast Middle School’s executive director,
Sean Conley, on July 26, 2012. (Annual Evaluation Report,
Def.’s Mot. Summ. J. Ex. P, ECF No. 18-17; Lewis Dep.
32, 178-179.) Conley rated Lewis as unsatisfactory in four
categories: improves instructional practices through
purposeful observation and monitoring of teachers and other
staff; ensures the regular integration of appropriate
assessments into daily classroom instruction; uses multiple
sources of data to improve classroom instruction; and
maintains appropriate standards of professionalism, including
completing and submitting all reports and requests for
information in a timely manner. (Annual Evaluation Report.)
Conley’s comments focused on the incompleteness of
Lewis’s formal observations and her inconsistent
attendance. (Id.) On August 16, 2012, the Board
again notified Lewis that effective August 20, 2012, she
would be reassigned as a teacher and that her compensation
would be commensurate with that position. (Second
Reassignment Letter, Def.’s Mot. Summ. J. Ex. Q, ECF
No. 18-18; Lewis Dep. 162.) Lewis was assigned to Carter G.
Woodson Elementary/Middle School as an English teacher.
(Assignment Email, Def.’s Mot. Summ. J. Ex. R, ECF No.
18-19.) In September 2012, Lewis resigned her employment with
the Board. (Lewis Dep. 166-169.)
addition to her sex discrimination and retaliation claims,
Lewis also alleges that Young violated the confidentiality
provisions of the ADA by sharing her medical records. On
December 6, 2011, Lewis’s husband faxed Young a return
to work slip from Lewis’s psychiatrist, and Lewis
claims that Young shared the information in her
doctor’s note with Victoria Parrish-James, a grade
level administrator. (Return to Work Slip, Pl.’s
Opp’n, ECF No. 24; Lewis Dep. 142-143.) The slip
provides that Lewis “[w]ill be totally disabled”
from December 6 until December 16, and she would be able to
return to work on December 16. (Return to Work Slip.) Young
told Parrish-James that Lewis’s doctor was a
psychiatrist and that Lewis was crazy. (Lewis Dep. 143.)
filed a charge of discrimination with the Baltimore Community
Relations Commission on September 7, 2012. (Charge of
Discrimination, Mot. Summ. J. Ex. S, ECF No. 18-20.) In her
charge, Lewis claimed her employer discriminated against her
due to her disability and in retaliation for participating in
a protected activity. (Charge of Discrimination.) The Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) did
not find any violations. (EEOC Dismissal and Notice of Rights
3, Supp. Compl., ECF No. 2.)
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that summary judgment
should be granted “if the movant shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a) (emphases added). “A dispute is genuine if
‘a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.’” Libertarian Party of Va.
v. Judd, 718 F.3d 308, 313 (4th Cir. 2013) (quoting
Dulaney v. Packaging Corp. of Am., 673 F.3d 323, 330
(4th Cir. 2012)). “A fact is material if it
‘might affect the outcome of the suit under the
governing law.’” Id. (quoting
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986)). Accordingly, “the mere existence of some
alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat
an otherwise properly supported motion for summary
judgment[.]” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48. The
court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to
the nonmoving party, Tolan v. Cotton, 134 S.Ct.
1861, 1866 (2014) (per curiam), and draw all reasonable
inferences in that party’s favor, Scott v.
Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007) (citations omitted);
see also Jacobs v. N.C. Admin. Office of the Courts,
780 F.3d 562, 568-69 (4th Cir. 2015). At the same time, the
court must “prevent factually unsupported claims and
defenses from proceeding to trial.” Bouchat v.
Balt. Ravens Football Club, Inc., 346 F.3d 514, 526 (4th
Cir. 2003) (quoting Drewitt v. Pratt, 999 F.2d 774,
778-79 (4th Cir. 1993)).
cannot be held liable under Title VII or the ADA. Lissau
v. S. Food Serv., Inc., 159 F.3d 177, 181 (4th Cir.
1998); Baird ex rel. Baird v. Rose, 192 F.3d 462,
472 (4th Cir. 1999). For this reason, the court will dismiss
the plaintiff’s claims ...