United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
CADDO PARISH SCHOOL BOARD, ET AL.
ELIZABETH ERNY FOOTE UNITED STATES/DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is a motion for summary judgment filed by
Defendants Caddo Parish School Board ("CPSB"),
Colonel Eric Sweeney, and Sergeant Adron Hester. Record
Document 21. Plaintiffs complaint brings claims for invasion
of privacy/ defamation, violation of the federal
Rehabilitation Act, the Louisiana Employment Discrimination
Law, violation of Fourteenth Amendment due process and state
law procedural due process, malicious prosecution and breach
of contract, all arising out of CPSB's termination of
Plaintiff's employment. Record Documents 1-2, 12.
reasons discussed below, Defendants' motion for summary
judgment [Record Document 21] is GRANTED. Plaintiff's
claims are dismissed with prejudice as nonjusticiable under
the Feres doctrine.
patties agree on the following facts. Plaintiff Logan
Fileccia is a retired Army Major. Record Document 1-2, p. 1.
He was hired by the CPSB to be an instructor in the Junior
Reserve Officers'Training Corps ("JROTC")
program at Fair Park High School in Caddo Parish, beginning
in the fall of 2014. Id., p. 2. Col. Sweeney is the Director
of Army Instruction for the JROTC units at CPSB and was
Plaintiff's supervisor. Record Document 1, p. 4. Sgt.
Hester is a JROTC instructor at Fair Park High School. Record
Document 12, p. 2. The Secretary of the Army is required to
establish and maintain a JROTC unit at any qualified school
that requests one, and oversees all JROTC programs
nationwide. 10 U.S.C. § 2031. A JROTC instructor must be
either active duty military or retired military who meet
certain requirements and have qualifications approved by the
Secretary. Id., § 2031(d). The Secretary,
through the United States Army Cadet Command ("Cadet
Command"), issues a certification to retired military
personnel who meet the necessary requirements. Only certified
personnel may be employed as JROTC instructors. Instructors
are employed by the school district, not by the Army.
Plaintiff is retired from the Army and was certified by the
Secretary to act as a JROTC instructor. Record Document 1-2,
p. 1. Plaintiff worked as the JROTC instructor from September
2014 to March 2015, when Cadet Command decertified Plaintiff
as a JROTC instructor. Record Document 21-1, p. 4. Because
CPSB is required to employ only certified JROTC instructors,
Plaintiff was terminated. Id.
parties differ over the reason for the decertification and
resulting termination. Plaintiff contends that there were
serious irregularities in the administration of the JROTC
program at Fair Park High School, which he tried to bring to
the attention of his superior, Col. Sweeney, who had
previously been the JROTC instructor at Fair Park High
School. Record Document 1-2, p. 2. In an effort to discredit
Plaintiff, Col. Sweeney and Sgt. Hester allegedly made false
reports to school administration that Plaintiff had
threatened to burn down the school and was a threat to
students. Ig\, p. 3. Defendants Hester and Sweeney allegedly
also made false reports to Cadet Command that Plaintiff was
mentally unstable, which led to Plaintiffs decertification
and termination. IcL, p, 4.
contend that there were incidents at the school that showed
that Plaintiff was not properly supervising students. Record
Document 21-1, pp. 2-3. Defendants further contend that
Plaintiff volunteered that he suffered from combat-reiated
PTSD and that he was seeking ongoing treatment as a result.
Id. Coi. Sweeney and Sgt. Hester, concerned about
Plaintiff's fitness to serve as a JROTC instructor, took
the issue up the chain of command to the JROTC Chief in the
U.S. Department of Army, and ultimately filed a
"decertification review packet." Id., p.
4. Thereafter, Plaintiff was decertified by Cadet Command.
his termination, Plaintiff brought suit in state court,
alleging state law tort claims for invasion of privacy,
because Col. Sweeney allegedly improperly allowed Sgt. Hester
to see Plaintiff's personnel records, including his
medical records, and for defamation, because Co!. Sweeney and
Sgt. Hester falsely reported to Cadet Command that Plaintiff
suffered from a serious psychiatric condition and was a
threat to students. Record Document 1-2. After this action
was removed, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint alleging
several additional claims. Record Document 12. Plaintiff
claims CPSB terminated him on the basis of disability in
violation of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (42
U.S.C. § 12102) and the Louisiana Employment
Discrimination Law (La. R.S. 23:323). Plaintiff brings a
claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of his
Fourteenth Amendment due process rights, and a parallel claim
for violation of state constitutional due process, for
deprivation of his property interest in his employment.
Plaintiff also alleges Louisiana law claims for malicious
prosecution against Col. Sweeney, for instituting the
decertification procedure, and breach of contract against
CPSB. All of these claims arise out of the events leading up
to Plaintiff's decertification as a JROTC instructor and
consequent termination by CPSB, Plaintiff seeks
reinstatement, back pay and benefits, and compensatory
damages for economic injury and injury to his professional
Standard of Review
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) directs that a court
"shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law." Summary judgment is appropriate when the
pleadings, answers to interrogatories, admissions,
depositions, and affidavits on file indicate that there is no
genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). When the
burden at trial will rest on the non-moving party, the moving
party need not produce evidence to negate the elements of the
non-moving party's case; rather, it need only point out
the absence of supporting evidence. See Id. at
322-323, If the movant satisfies its initial burden of
showing that there is no genuine dispute of material fact
with the motion for summary judgment, the nonmovant must
demonstrate that there is, in fact, a genuine issue for
dispute at trial by going "beyond the pleadings"
and designating specific facts for support. Little v.
Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994).
"This burden is not satisfied with 'some
metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, '" by
conclusory or unsubstantiated allegations, or by a mere
scintilla of evidence. Id. (quoting Matsushita
Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574,
586 (1986)). However, "[t]he evidence of the non-movant
is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be
drawn in his favor." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby.
Inc.. 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1985) (internal citations
omitted); Reid v. State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co., 784
F.2d 577, 578 (5th Cir. 1986) (the court must "review
the facts drawing all inferences most favorable to the party
opposing the motion"). While not weighing the evidence
or evaluating the credibility of witnesses, courts should
grant summary judgment where the critical evidence in support
of the nonmovant is so weak and tenuous that it could not
support a judgment in the nonmovant's favor.
Little, 37 F.3d at 1075.
Feres doctrine, sometimes referred to as the
intramilitary immunity doctrine, prohibits military personnel
from bringing actions in federal court for injuries suffered
"incident to their service in the armed forces, "
Waich v. Adjutant General's Dep't of Texas,
533 F.3d 289, 294 (5th Cir. 2008). The doctrine is
"premised on the disruptive nature of judicial
second-guessing of military decisions." Id., at 296.
Allowing a plaintiff to bring a claim against military