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Heather Lindsey and Geremy v. Kathryn S. Matayoshi In Her Official Capacity As State

May 9, 2012

HEATHER LINDSEY AND GEREMY K. LOPEZ, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS GUARDIANS AD LITEM FOR RFL, THEIR MINOR DAUGHTER,
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
KATHRYN S. MATAYOSHI IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS STATE SUPERINTENDENT, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION; KANU O KA 'AINA NEW CENTURY PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL; PAT BERGIN; ALLYSON TAMURA; KEOMAILANI CASE; JOHN AND/OR DOES 1-20; DOE CORPORATIONS 1-10; DOE NON- PROFIT CORPORATIONS 1-10; AND DOE GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES 1- 10, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Michael Seabright United States District Judge

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' PAT BERGIN, ALLYSON TAMURA, AND KEOMAILANI CASE, in their individual capacities, MOTION TO DISMISS COMPLAINT FILED NOVEMBER 28, 2011

I. INTRODUCTION

On November 28, 2011, Plaintiffs Heather Lindsey and Geremy K. Lopez, individually and as guardians ad litem for RFL, their minor daughter, (collectively, "Plaintiffs"), filed this action against Kathryn S. Matayoshi in her official capacity as State Superintendent, Department of Education ("Matayoshi"); Kanu O Ka 'Aina New Century Public Charter School ("Kanu"); and Pat Bergin ("Bergin"), Allyson Tamura ("Tamura"), and Keomailani Case ("Case") in their official and individual capacities, (collectively, "Defendants"). RFL was suspended and later expelled from Kanu, a public charter school on the Big Island, and Plaintiffs assert, among other things, that RFL's expulsion violates their due process rights pursuant to the United States and State of Hawaii Constitutions.

Currently before the court is Defendants Bergin, Tamura, and Case's Motion to Dismiss, in which they argue that Plaintiffs' due process claims fail and that the court should decline supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiffs' remaining state law claims. All other Defendants join in this Motion. Doc. No. 38. Based on the following, the court finds that the Complaint states a valid due process claim that Defendants denied RFL an education without adequate process and therefore DENIES Defendants' Motion to Dismiss.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background

As alleged in the Complaint, on August 4, 2011, Plaintiffs enrolled their fourteen-year-old daughter RFL at Kanu.*fn1 Doc. No. 1, Compl. ¶ 11. Up until October 18, 2011, RFL was successfully completing all of her assignments, receiving acceptable grades, following directions well, and demonstrating "an exceptional attitude," as stated in reports by Kanu to Plaintiffs. Id. ¶ 12.

On October 18, 2011, RFL got into an altercation with a female schoolmate in which each girl struck the other a single time before they were separated and taken to Kanu's administrative office. Id. ¶ 13. Heather Lindsey was notified of the altercation and informed that RFL would be suspended for two days. Id. ¶ 14. On October 19, 2011, however, Tamura informed Plaintiffs that RFL "is not a good fit" with Kanu such that RFL would not be permitted to return to Kanu. Id. ¶ 15.

Kanu did not offer or conduct any hearing or provide any written notices or explanations of their determination that RFL could not return to Kanu. Id. ¶ 16. Plaintiffs subsequently attended a meeting of the Kanu school board at which they expressed their concerns and requested that RFL be permitted to return to Kanu. Id. ¶ 17. On November 5, 2011, Plaintiffs received an e-mail from Kanu informing them that the school board had upheld the decisions of Kanu's administrators to suspend RFL and prevent her from returning to school. Id. ¶ 18.

As of the date of the November 28, 2011 Complaint, RFL had been out of school and denied any and all educational services since the October 18, 2011 altercation. Id. ¶ 19.

B. Procedural Background

On November 28, 2011, Plaintiffs filed their Complaint against Defendants asserting claims for violation of their due process rights pursuant to the United States and Hawaii state constitutions, and state law claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence.

On March 5, 2012, Defendants filed their Motion to Dismiss. Plaintiffs filed an Opposition on April 23, 2012, and Defendants filed a Reply on May 1, 2012. Pursuant to Local Rule 7.2(d), the court ...


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