The plaintiff, a kindergarten teacher in Nevada, won a First Amendment claim under section 1983 against?? her?? employer,?? a?? school?? district,?? for denying her access to the courts because it fired her in retaliation for a previous lawsuit she won against the district.?? The district’s liability was based on misconduct and ratification of misconduct by its superintendent and ass’t superintendent,? who? the? district? court? found were final policy-makers for the purpose of municipal liability under Monell v. Dep’t of Soc. Servs. of New York, 436 U.S. 658 (1978). ?The Ninth Circuit affirmed, finding that the school district had delegated its responsibility for “employment-related decisions, particularly employee discipline” to the superintendent and his delegee, so under Nevada law he was a final policy-maker even though the district?s board of trustees could review his disciplinary decisions. The Court also approved the jury instruction given for ratification, requiring the plaintiff to prove that the policy makers approved “a subordinate’s decision and the basis for it.” ?The appellate court also affirmed the district court’s reduction in attorney fees because the plaintiff, who was awarded $75,000 in damages, had not achieved an “excellent result” because she did not prevail on the majority of her claims and her attorneys failed to produce evidence of the prevailing market rate.? ?Lytle v. Carl, No. 02- 16244 (09/01/04; Alarcon, Beezer, Wm. Fletcher).
School District Liable for Actions of Superintendent of Schools Found to be Final Policymaker
Sep 1, 2004