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Davis v. Shawnee Mission School District No. 512

United States District Court, D. Kansas

April 10, 2018

RUBYE L. DAVIS Plaintiff,
v.
UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 512 K/A SHAWNEE MISSION SCHOOL DISTRICT, Defendant.

          ORDER

          James P. O'Hara U.S. Magistrate Judge.

         In this employment-discrimination case, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, plaintiff sues her former employer for race discrimination in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and the 14th Amendment. On April 9, 2018, the undersigned U.S. Magistrate Judge, James P. O'Hara, conducted a status conference to address concerns raised by the presiding U.S. District Judge, Kathryn H. Vratil, in a memorandum and order entered April 5, 2018 (ECF No. 153). Highly summarized, Judge Vratil directed the undersigned to address whether a stipulation entered by the parties to dismiss plaintiff's individual-capacity claims against John McKinney (the principal of Shawnee Mission East High School) and Ginny Lyon (defendant's director of certified professionals), should be “recalled and plaintiff's claims against McKinney and Lyon individually reinstated in this case.”[1] During the conference, Charles S. Scott, Jr. argued on behalf of plaintiff, and J. Drew Marriott and Kristen Michael O'Neal argued on behalf of defendant. This order supplements and summarizes the undersigned's directives made on the record.

         Given the current June 4, 2018 trial setting, the court and parties must act expeditiously to bring definition and clarity to the scope of this action. Thus, by April 13, 2018, the parties are directed to each file a brief, limited to ten double-spaced pages, addressing the issues set out below. Each party may then file a response to the opposing side's brief, limited to five double-spaced pages, by April 17, 2018.[2] No. further briefing shall be allowed.

         1. Setting Aside the Stipulation.

         The parties should address whether the Tenth Circuit's standards[3] for setting aside a stipulation are met in this case, specifically taking into account the concerns expressed on page 8 of Judge Vratil's memorandum and order.

         2. Statute of Limitations for Individual Claims

         Against McKinney and Lyon. The undersigned reads the Supreme Court case of Jones v. R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co., 541 U.S. 369 (2004), as recognizing a four-year statute of limitations applicable to plaintiff's claims against McKinney and Lyon. If a party believes the applicable statute of limitations is shorter than four years, it should discuss why.

         3. Procedural Mechanisms for Plaintiff to Assert Claims Against McKinney and Lyon.

         The undersigned can envision a number of procedural routes that could potentially bring plaintiff's claims against McKinney and Lyon back before the court. Mindful of Fed.R.Civ.P. 1's mandate that the rules be construed to secure the “just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action, ” the parties should address the following:

a. Since plaintiff's dismissal of McKinney and Lyon was without prejudice (see ECF No. 121), and since it appears the applicable four-year statute of limitations doesn't expire until March 2019, is there any legal impediment to plaintiff now filing an entirely separate lawsuit against McKinney and Lyon? And, if plaintiff were to file a separate lawsuit against McKinney and Lyon, wouldn't it be most efficient to consolidate that case with this case?
b. Instead of plaintiff filing a separate lawsuit and consolidating it with this case, should the court permit plaintiff to file an amended complaint under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 15 and 16? A pretrial order has been entered in this action (ECF No. 133). The pretrial order recognizes that, under Rule 16(e), the court may not modify the order except to prevent “manifest injustice.” In addition, Rule 15(a)(2) governs when a party may amend its pleading with leave of court. The parties should address whether these standards are met at this point in the case (in light of the analysis of U.S. Magistrate Judge K. Gary Sebelius when he granted plaintiff leave to amend her complaint on June 2, 2017 (ECF No. 107)). c. Should McKinney and Lyon be joined or substituted as defendants in the current lawsuit under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 19 or 21?

         4. Discovery.

         The court would like to hear from the parties about what specific discovery they wish to take should plaintiff's claims ...


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