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Case: 1:18-cv-00893-SKB Doc #: 1 Filed: 12/19/18 Page: 1 of 14 PAGEID #: 1

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT


SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
WESTERN DIVISION

Miranda Guy :
477 Township Rd. 41 N.
Pedro, OH 45659 :

Plaintiff :

-VS- : Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-893

: Jury Demand Endorsed Hereon


Board of Education
Rock Hill Local School District :
2325A County Road 26
Ironton, Ohio 45638 :

And :

Dave Hopper, Superintendent :


Rock Hill Local School District
2325A County Road 26 :
Ironton, Ohio 45638
:
And
:
Thomas Robinson, Treasurer
Rock Hill Local School District :
2325A County Road 26
Ironton, Ohio 45638 :

And :

Mark Harper – President :


Board of Education
Rock Hill Local School District :
2325A County Road 26
Ironton, Ohio 45638 :

And :
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Keith Harper - Vice President :


Board of Education
Rock Hill Local School District :
2325A County Road 26
Ironton, Ohio 45638 :

And :

Dennis Hankins – Member :


Board of Education
Rock Hill Local School District :
2325A County Road 26
Ironton, Ohio 45638 :

And :

Paul David Knipp – Member :


Board of Education
Rock Hill Local School District :
2325A County Road 26
Ironton, Ohio 45638 :

And :

Keith Roth – Member :


Board of Education
Rock Hill Local School District :
2325A County Road 26
Ironton, Ohio 45638 :

And :

John Doe :

Defendants :

COMPLAINT AND REQUEST FOR


WRIT OF MANDAMUS, DECLARATORY JUDGMENT,
PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION AND PERMANENT INJUNCTION

I. INTRODUCTION, PARTIES, JURISDICTION


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1. For over 12 years, until her constructive discharge when she resigned under

duress effective December 20, 2017, Plaintiff Miranda Guy (hereinafter referred to as

“Plaintiff”) served as the superintendent’s secretary, most recently to Wes Hairston, then

Superintendent of Rock Hill Local School District. Plaintiff had dental and vision

insurance provided by her employment with Defendant Rock Hill Local School District

(hereinafter referred to as Defendant Rock Hill). Plaintiff is a female Caucasian.

2. At all times pertinent to the allegations made herein, Plaintiff was employed

under a continuing contract of employment by Defendant Rock Hill Local School District

Board of Education (hereinafter referred to as “Defendant Board”), whose actions directly

and proximately caused the Plaintiff’s effective termination;

3. At all times, Defendants were state actors as that term is defined under 42

U.S.C. §1983, and their actions constituted state action as agents of a governmental

subdivision. They are sued in their individual capacities;

4. The claims made herein assert violations of the Constitution of the United

States, cognizable under 42 U.S.C. §1983;

5. This Court has jurisdiction of the case pursuant to the federal question statute,

28 U.S.C. §1331;

6. Venue is proper in this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1391;

II. FACTS

7. Plaintiff realleges Paragraphs 1 through 6 as if fully set forth herein;


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8. Defendant Dave Hopper assumed responsibilities as Superintendent of Rock

Hill Local School District upon retirement in June of 2018 of Wes Hairston, who is not a

named defendant in this matter.

9. At the time Defendant Hopper took over, Plaintiff had been forced to resign

and her unemployment compensation case was pending before the Ohio Bureau of

Employment Services. Plaintiff, in spite of efforts by Defendant Board, was awarded full

benefits. Defendant Board had argued that but/for Plaintiff’s resignation, she would still be

working for Defendant Rock Hill Local School District.

10. Plaintiff, had been placed on administrative paid leave on September 19, 2017

for reasons that were not stated. Based upon information and belief, Plaintiff asserts that

Defendant John Doe provided highly defamatory, false information to Defendant Board

prompting this action. At approximately the same time she was placed on administrative

leave, her husband sued her for divorce. The photos at issue were beach photos taken of

Plaintiff and several members of her family that she had posted on Instagram Story and Snap

Story, none of which were nude, and none of which had been forwarded to any individual

otherwise. The allegations about any text messages were false.

11. During her administrative leave, Plaintiff was prohibited from attending any

school events for her seven-year-old son who attended the same school as she had worked

in. Plaintiff was devastated by not being permitted to attend his special events, parent-

teacher conferences, or even to drive onto the school grounds to drop him off and pick him

up. She has been forced to have someone else take her son to either the bus stop or to the
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school because she has not even been allowed to drop him off at the curb in front of the

school.

12. Three months after being placed on leave, Plaintiff was informed that

Defendant Board would terminate her for failing to adhere to the Board’s social media policy

if she did not resign. Plaintiff stated that she would do so if the ban prohibiting her from

attending her son’s school event was ended; she was assured that it would be. So, on

December 20, 2017, Plaintiff agreed to sign the prepared letter of resignation which the

Board adopted in a 3-1 vote in Board Resolution 293-2017; however, that resolution was

followed in a 4-0 vote adopting Board Resolution 294-2017, banning Plaintiff “from Rock

Hill Local School District Property and School functions until further written notice with

prior board of education approval. At the time the Board adopted both of these resolutions

only four members were present. The Board failed to notify her that they had banned her

from school property until February 14, 2018 when she dropped her son off at school; on

that day the Vice Principal told her she was not allowed to be on school property. Plaintiff

was devastated to learn of this ban and the breach of what she understood to be her rights.

13. Upon information and belief, Plaintiff states that then-Superintendent Hairston

submitted his notice of retirement, effective the end of the 2017-2018 school year after being

informed of the Board’s unjust and unsupportable decision.

14. Prior to the Board’s demand that she resign, Plaintiff was informed that John

Doe had alleged that she had violated the Board’s social media policy by a) sending nude

photos of herself to minors and b) exchanging text messages with minors that made explicit

reference to sexual conduct. These allegations were false, but Defendant Board failed to
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conduct a thorough investigation and accepted these unsupported allegations. Efforts by

Defendant John Doe to bring criminal charges against Plaintiff were unsuccessful and no

charges were ever filed.

15. Throughout the preceding years of her employment at Rock Hill Local School

District, Plaintiff invariably received positive reviews of her performance.

16. Following her effective termination by Defendant Board, no notice was ever

sent to Plaintiff of her eligibility for COBRA benefits, with the result that she ceased to have

vision and dental insurance available to her and her family.

17. During the years preceding Plaintiff’s effective termination, she observed

numerous school district employees violating the social media policy, up to and including

members of the Rock Hill school administration.

III. FIRST CLAIM: VIOLATION OF RIGHTS UNDER SECTION 1983

18. Plaintiff realleges Paragraphs 1 through 17 as if fully set forth herein;

19. Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983, Plaintiff seeks to vindicate rights guaranteed

under federal law in Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000).

20. Plaintiff have fundamental right as a parent to make decisions concerning the

care, custody, and control of her son

21. Defendants have violated Plaintiff’s fundamental right as a parent by

prohibiting her from any involvement with her son’s schooling and related school events.

22. Defendants have no just cause for limiting or depriving Plaintiff of her

fundamental right as a parent.


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23. Plaintiff has been harmed by Defendants’ violation of her fundamental right

as a parent. As a direct and proximate result, Plaintiff has suffered humiliation, emotional

distress, loss of self-esteem, lost income and benefits, and will suffer such injuries and losses

in the future;

IV. SECOND CLAIM: VIOLATION OF DUE PROCESS

24. Plaintiff realleges Paragraphs 1 through 23 as if fully set forth herein.

25. Defendants have violated Plaintiff’s rights under the Fourteenth Amendment's

Due Process Clause when they interfered with Plaintiff’s fundamental right as a parent by

banning her from school property and school functions.

26. Defendants have violated Plaintiff’s rights under the Fourteenth Amendment’s

Due Process Clause when they interfered with Plaintiff’s employment by forcing her to

resign without just cause.

27. Defendants have no just cause for limiting or depriving Plaintiff of her rights

under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause.

28. Plaintiff has been harmed by Defendants’ violation of her Fourteenth

Amendment Due Process rights.

29. Plaintiff was subjected to disciplinary actions and was effectively terminated

for alleged de minimis and unsubstantiated reasons, under harsh standards not applied to

other employees;

30. As a direct and proximate result, Plaintiff has suffered humiliation, emotional

distress, loss of self-esteem, lost income and benefits, and will suffer such injuries and

losses in the future;


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V. THIRD CLAIM: CONSTRUCTIVE DISCHARGE FROM EMPLOYMENT

31. Plaintiff realleges Paragraphs 1 through 30 as if fully set forth herein.

32. Defendants forced Plaintiff to resign from her position through the conduct

alleged hereinabove.

33. But/for Defendants’ forced coercion, Plaintiff would not have resigned her

position.

34. Defendants constructively discharged Plaintiff by forcing her to resign.

35. Plaintiff was subjected to disciplinary actions and was effectively terminated

for alleged de minimis and unsubstantiated reasons, under harsh standards not applied to

other employees.

36. As a direct and proximate result, Plaintiff has suffered humiliation, emotional

distress, loss of self-esteem, lost income and benefits, and will suffer such injuries and

losses in the future.

VI. FOURTH CLAIM: WRONGFUL DISCHARGE

37. Plaintiff hereby restates and incorporates, as if fully rewritten herein, the

allegations contained in paragraphs 1 through 36, inclusive, of this Complaint.

38. Any action undertaken by Defendants with respect to Plaintiff's contract of

employment were governed by Ohio Revised Code § 3319.081, and by Defendants' own

formally adopted policies.

39. Defendants owed a duty to Plaintiff to adhere to the provisions set forth in

Ohio Revised Code § 3319.081 and their own formally adopted policies.
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40. Defendants breached their duty to Plaintiff when Plaintiff's employment

relationship with Defendants was severed by Defendants in violation of the obligations

imposed upon them by Ohio Revised Code § 3319.081 and by Defendants' own formally

adopted policies.

41. Defendants' actions ineffectively terminating Plaintiff's employment

constitute the tort of wrongful discharge.

42. As a result of Plaintiff's wrongful discharge by Defendants, Plaintiff has

suffered damages in the form of embarrassment, mental anguish, loss of reputation, loss of

self-esteem, harm to Plaintiff's relationship with her family, and other emotional distress

and caused physical injury in the form of adverse health effects.

VII. FIFTH CLAIM: BREACH OF CONTRACT

43. Plaintiff realleges paragraphs 1 through 41 as stated hereinabove.

44. Plaintiff is, pursuant to the terms of her continuing employment contract with

Defendants, entitled to be retained under a contract of employment with Defendant Rock

Hill Local School District Board of Education.

45. Defendants failed to fulfill requirements under Ohio law of Plaintiff’s

continuing contract and therefore have breached her contract and have caused her

economic damage as a result of the same.

VIII. SIXTH CLAIM: COBRA VIOLATION

46. Plaintiff realleges Paragraphs 1 through 45 as if fully set forth herein;

47. 29 U.S.C.A 1161 and 42 U.S.C.A 300bb-1 et seq. require employers, including

public sector employees to provide notice of continuance coverage upon the occurrence
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within thirty days of a qualifying event through 29 USCA 1163 and 29 USCA 1166.

Termination of employment is a qualifying event.

48. Plaintiff is a covered employee entitled to protections by virtue of her

participation in the Rock Hill Local School District’s vision and dental insurance plans.

49. Defendants failed to provide notices to Plaintiff of continuation coverage to

which she was entitled by law, and have failed to continue to provide vision and dental

insurance to Plaintiff.

50. As a direct and proximate result of Defendants’ failure to comply with the

aforesaid requirements, Plaintiff has suffered damages and asks that this court impose

sanctions under COBRA up to and including fines of up to $100 per day, attorney’s fees, and

such other relief to which she may be entitled by law and equity.

IX. SEVENTH CLAIM: DEFAMATION

51. Plaintiff realleges Paragraphs 1 through 50 as if fully set forth herein.

52. Defendant John Doe has made false and defamatory statements regarding

Plaintiff’s conduct as set forth hereinabove.

53. As a result of the actions of Defendant John Doe, Plaintiff’s reputation was

tarnished.

54. As a result of the actions of Defendant John Doe, as well as statements and

actions of the Defendants named herein, Plaintiff’s reputation has been tarnished and issues

have arisen as to her good morals and veracity. Defendant John Doe falsely stated that

Plaintiff had engaged in the conduct stated herein, when in fact she had not done so. Plaintiff

will provide other examples of false statements made by Defendants at trial.


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55. As a result of the foregoing actions by the designated Defendants, Plaintiff has

suffered a general threat to her reputation in the community as well as grievous injury to her

person.

X. EIGHTH CLAIM: INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL


DISTRESS AS TO DEFENDANT JOHN DOE

56. Plaintiff realleges the claim set forth in paragraphs 1 through 55 and

incorporates them herein.

57. Defendant John Doe owed Plaintiff a duty to refrain from negligently or

intentionally injuring her and to create a workplace consistent with its representations,

resolutions and with state law. By disseminating false information about Plaintiff, her

character, and her veracity, Defendant John Doe has breached his duty to Plaintiff.

58. The Defendant’s negligent and intentional actions caused injuries to the

Plaintiff in the form of mental anguish, loss of self-esteem and other emotional distress as

well as causing physical injury in the form of adverse health effects.

59. The Defendant’s actions directly and proximately caused Plaintiff’s damages

arising from the Defendant’s negligent or intentional infliction of emotional distress.

60. The Defendants’ actions constitute an outrageous invasion of Plaintiff’s

personal rights.

61. The Defendant’s actions acted willfully and maliciously, with spite and ill will,

and with cavalier disregard to Plaintiff’s personal rights.

62. As a direct and proximate result of Defendant’s actions, Plaintiff has been

damaged.
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XI. NINTH CLAIM: DECLARATORY JUDGMENT

63. Plaintiff realleges the claims set forth in paragraphs 1 through 62.

64. Plaintiff is an interested person for purposes of Ohio's Declaratory Judgment

Act at Chapter 2721 of the Ohio Revised Code.

65. Plaintiff is entitled to a declaration from the Court that the Defendant Board’s

action in removing her from the payroll was in violation of the parties' contract and of Ohio

law, and is null, void, and of no force or effect.

66. Plaintiff is entitled to a declaration from the Court that Defendant's removal

from Defendant Board's payroll is in violation of the parties' contract and of Ohio law.

67. Plaintiff is entitled to a declaration from the Court that Defendant Board

remains under a contract of employment with the Plaintiff, and Plaintiff is entitled to remain

on Defendant Board of Education's payroll, and should be reinstated to her responsibilities

and to her position on that payroll.

XII. TENTH CLAIM: MANDAMUS

68. Plaintiff hereby restates and incorporates the allegations contained in

paragraphs 1 through 67, inclusive of this Complaint.

69. The Defendant Board of Education will continue to withhold Plaintiff's

rightful position in her continuing contract and on Defendant’s payroll, unless ordered not to

do so by the Court.

70. Plaintiff has no plain and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.
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71. Plaintiff is entitled to the issuance of a writ of mandamus by this court,

directing that Plaintiff be restored to her rightful position within Defendant Board of

Education's employ and on Defendant Board of Education's payroll.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff demands judgment against Defendants, jointly and

severally, as follows:

1. Under all Claims, awards of compensatory damages in such amounts as the

jury deems just;

2. Under all Claims, awards of punitive damages in such amounts as the jury

deems just;

3. Under all Claims, an award of the reasonable attorney fees, prejudgment

interest and the costs of this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1988; for a total award in such

amounts as the jury deems just;

4. A declaratory judgment declaring that the Defendant Board did not adhere to

the terms of its contract of employment with Plaintiff, which terms obligated the Defendant

Board and its representative to pay compensation to Plaintiff; therefore, the deprivation of

salary was and is invalid and Plaintiff should be reinstated to her employment position and

should be paid all salary and benefits lost as a result of said action; further, the minutes all

records of any action taken against Plaintiff and/or her contract of employment should be

expunged.
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5. A writ of mandamus ordering the Defendant Board to reinstate Plaintiff to

her employment position and to pay her all salary and benefits lost as a result of said action

and to physically expunge from the minutes all records of any action taken against Plaintiff

and/or his contract of employment.

6. An injunction directing restoration of Plaintiff to her position, and on

Defendant Board’s payroll.

7. An award of back pay and benefits retroactive to the date of her removal from

the pay roll of Rock Hill Local School District.

8. A preliminary and permanent injunction enjoining the Defendants from

continuing to deprive Plaintiff of her employment contract and salary and benefits.

9. A preliminary and permanent injunction enjoining the Defendants from

barring Plaintiff from school property and school functions.

10. An award of reasonable attorney's fees, expenses, and such other and further

relief to which Plaintiff is or may become entitled to.

Respectfully submitted,

FARLOW & ASSOCIATES LLC

/s/ Beverly J. Farlow


Beverly J. Farlow (0029810)
270 Bradenton Ave., Suite 100
Dublin, Ohio 43017
Telephone614-734-1270
bfarlow@farlowlaw.com
Counsel for Plaintiff

JURY DEMAND

Plaintiff demands trial by a jury of twelve (12) persons as to all issues.