John Doe v. Mentor Public School District BOE et al
Memorandum Opinion and Order Granted the Plaintiffs Motion to Amend the Complaint re 16 . Plaintiffs' Motion for Sanctions is Denied at this time, but may be re-filed if appropriate at the end of the litigation re 17 . Plaintiffs Motion for Leave to File Reply Briefs Instanter is Granted re 29 . Approved by Judge Donald C. Nugent on 8/4/2011. (H,SP)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
DRAGAN VIDOVIC, et al.,
MENTOR PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT
BOARD OF EDUCATION, et al.,
CASE NO. 1:10 CV 1833
JUDGE DONALD C. NUGENT
This matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs’ Motion for Leave to File Amended
Complaint, (ECF #16), and Plaintiff’s Motion for Sanctions, (ECF #17).
Plaintiffs seek leave
to amend their Complaint to add one count listing a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to
the U.S. Constitution and one count alleging a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of
1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(d), for discrimination on the basis of national origin. Plaintiff argues
that these claims are based on the factual allegations contained in the original Complaint which
claim that Sladjana Vidovic was bullied, teased, and harassed based on her nationality. In
addition Plaintiffs seek leave to add one count of spoilation of evidence under state law based on
newly discovered evidence that suggests documents relating to this litigation may have been
improperly destroyed. The Amended Complaint would also add a defendant, Pam Gross,
charging her with deliberate indifference to the alleged constitutional and statutory violations,
and seeking to hold her responsible, at least in part, for the alleged spoilation of evidence.
Defendants oppose the Plaintiffs’ Motion to Amend arguing that no good cause exists for
the changes; that the request is untimely; that they would be prejudiced by the proposed
amendment; and, that the spoilation amendment would be futile because it could not survive a
motion to dismiss.
The spoilation claim could not have been brought prior to Ms. Goss’s
deposition, as this is first time the parties became aware that relevant documents may have been
improperly destroyed. Based on the information currently before the Court, it is not clear that
such a claim could not survive a motion to dismiss, and the information underlying the claim was
only recently discovered. Therefore, there is good cause shown to allow the amendment of the
Complaint. Further, because Ms. Goss was allegedly the one who destroyed the potentially
relevant documents, it is appropriate to add her as a defendant at this time. Any prejudice that
may result to the Defendants from her addition to the case is outweighed by the Plaintiffs’
interest in fully prosecuting their potential claims. Further, any delays should not be significant
as Ms. Goss has already been actively participating in the discovery process and is familiar with
the claims and issues underlying this lawsuit, as well as her alleged involvement in those issues.
Finally, as the factual allegations underlying the proposed counts for discrimination on the basis
of national origin were contained in the original Complaint, the Court finds that the Defendants
will not be significantly prejudiced by the formal addition of those counts in the Amended
Plaintiffs have also moved for sanctions against all defendants based on an allegation that
Ms. Goss, an employee of Defendant, Mentor City School District “destroyed key evidence in
this case.” The Court cannot determine at this juncture whether such sanctions are warranted on
this basis. Sanctions, if appropriate, will be determined at the end of the litigation.
For the reasons set forth above, Plaintiffs’ Motion to Amend the Complaint (ECF #16) is
GRANTED. Plaintiff’s Motion for Sanctions is DENIED at this time, but may be re-filed if
appropriate at the end of the litigation. (ECF #17). Plaintiffs’ Motion for Leave to File Reply
Briefs Instanter on the above issues is GRANTED. (ECF #29).
IT IS SO ORDERED.
/s/ Donald C. Nugent
Donald C. Nugent
United Stated District Judge
August 4, 2011
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