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Saturday, June 30, 2012

GA - Summary Judgment in Favor of School District in Bullying Case

GA - Summary Judgment in Favor of School District in Bullying Case 
On May 21, 2012, the Northern District of Georgia in Long v. Murray County School District, Case No. 4:10-CV-00015-HLM, entered summary judgment in favor of the Murray County School District ("Murray") in a multi-count lawsuit brought by the parents of a deceased student named Tyler. Tyler was a high school male with Asperger's Syndrome who committed suicide on October 17, 2009, after suffering from constant bullying in school. In the lawsuit, Plaintiffs alleged that Defendants' "failure to intervene, investigate, correct, or train their employees to adequately protect Tyler from bullying was the sole or a substantial contributing cause of Tyler's decision to take his own life."  Murray maintained that it properly addressed the incidents of bullying. In the lawsuit, Plaintiffs brought claims under Section 1983 (Equal Protection and Substantive Due Process), the ADA, Section 504, and state law (public nuisance).  Plaintiffs also sought punitive damages and attorney's fees.  Ultimately, Defendants prevailed on all claims.  With respect to Plaintiffs' deliberate indifference argument, the Court reasoned, "[a]lthough Plaintiffs establish that Defendants should have done more to address disability harassment, Plaintiffs fail to meet the high bar of deliberate indifference and demonstrate that Defendants' response was clearly unreasonable."

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