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IN THE IOWA DISTRICT COURT


POLK COUNTY
TROY GOMEZ. as parent and natural
guardian of R.G., a minor,
Plaintiff,
v.
JOHNSTON COMMUNITY SCHOOL
DISTRICT, CLAY GUTHMILLER,
BRIAN CARICO and RENEE MENZ
Defendants.
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No. _______
Jury Trial Demanded
PETITION
Troy Gomez, as parent and natural guardian of R.G., a minor, makes the following
complaint against Johnston Community School District, Clay Guthmiller, Brian Carico
and Renee Menz.
This petition is being filed concurrently with a civil action in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of Iowa based upon the same claims. This petition is filed
solely for the purpose of assuring that, if the federal action is dismissed for lack of
jurisdiction, an action has been commenced within the limitations period. Plaintiff
intends to proceed upon the federal action.
GENERAL ALLEGATIONS
1. R.G. was in 8
th
grade during the 2012-2013 school year but was then 13 years old. He
is disabled by attention deficit disorder.
2. Attention deficit disorder is a physiological brain disorder causing a deficit in
executive function manifest the inability to attend to matters of significance, control
impulses, and exercise appropriate judgment. The deficit in ability to direct attention
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interferes with learning and the organization and planning needed for school
success.
3. R.G. attended the Johnston County Community School Districts Johnston Middle
School during and prior to the 2012-2013 school year.
4. During the times relevant to this action Guthmiller was superintendent of the
Johnston Community School District, Carico was principal of Johnston Middle
School, and Menz was a counselor at Johnston Middle School.
5. R.G. was frequently bullied at school.
6. Prior to October 1, 2102 and thereafter plaintiff notified defendants Johnston, Menz
and Carico that R.G. was being bullied and in need of protection and
accommodations to protect him from bullying.
7. R.G. was bullied numerous times in the few weeks before October 1, 2012.
Defendants knew of this bullying but dismissed this it as not significant because the
bully pretended to be R.G.s friend.
8. R.G., because of his disability and consequent lack of skill in forming personal
relationships, lacked skills to cope with the bullying.
9. It is not possible to bully a disabled child frequently and over a long period and to be
the childs friend. Defendants failed to recognize that and consider it in discharging
their obligations to R.G.
10. Defendants response to the history of bullying demonstrated deliberate indifference
to R.G.s safety and needs as a disabled person.
11. On October 1, 2012, R.G. was bullied during lunch by a student who had repeatedly
bullied him both recently and in past school years.
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12. On October 1, 2012 Menz took R.G. to a conference room and confined him there.
While he was in the conference room he was questioned by Carico, who continued
his confinement.
13. R.G. remained in the conference room over 60 minutes and until after the end of the
school day.
14. Following October 1, 2012 Guthmiller demonstrated approval of defendants failure
to protect R.G. from bullying.
15. In violation of Iowa Administrative Code, Title 281, Ch. 103 no Johnston staff
member contacted R.G.s legal guardian to inform them that R.G. had been confined
to the conference room.
COUNT I
Violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
16. Petitioner incorporates the allegations of paragraphs 1 through 15.
17. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 USC 794 (a) provides:
No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the Unites States, as defined
in section 705 (20) of this title, shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be
excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to
discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial
assistance[.]
18. R.G. is a qualified individual with a disability within the meaning of 29 USC 705
(20) in that learning and appropriate decision making by the use of executive
function are major life activities. R.G.s learning is substantially limited by his
disability.
19. Johnston is the recipient of federal financial assistance in the operation of its
schools.
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20.In violation of section 504, Johnston failed to make reasonable accommodations to
enable R.G. to receive an education free from discrimination based on his
disabilities. Johnstons violations of Section 504 included:
a. Johnston failed to provide a school environment in which R.G. was free
from fear of injury.
b. Johnston failed to provide accommodations appropriate to protect R.G.
from bullies, or to allow R.G. to protect himself.
21. Because of defendants Johnston, Guthmiller and Caricos failure to provide
reasonable accommodation to R.G., he has suffered severe emotional injury.
22. This action seeks monetary damages. Monetary damages are not available under the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 210 U.S.C. 1400 et. seq. Plaintiff is
therefore relieved any requirement to exhaust any administrative remedy by 20
U.S.C. 1415(l).
WHEREFORE, plaintiff requests that judgment be entered against defendant for actual and
punitive damages together with attorneys fees and costs.
COUNT II
Violation of 42 U.S.C. 1983
23. Petitioner incorporates, by reference, paragraphs 1 through 15.
24. Johnstons illegally confined R.G. to the conference room under color of state law
within the meaning of 42 USC 1983.
25. R.G. was detained in the conference room in violation of the 14
th
amendment, and
this violated 42 U.S.C. 1983.
26. Menz, an employee of Johnston was trained by Johnston how to punish children.
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27. Menz acted within her employment when she confined R.G. in a school conference
room.
28.When Menz and Carico confined R.G. in a conference room, they denied R.G. the
protections of Iowa Administrative Code 281-103.8 (1), and denied R.G. his rights
under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
29. Because of defendants violation of R.G. civil right, he has suffered severe emotional
injury.
WHEREFORE, plaintiff requests that judgment be entered against defendant for actual and
punitive damages together with attorneys fees and costs.
COUNT III
False Imprisonment
30.Petitioner incorporates, by reference, paragraphs 1 through 15..
31. R.G. was physically placed in the conference room by Menz around 12:35 PM and
told not to leave.
32. R.G. was kept in the conference room until the end of the school day.
33. Under Iowa Administrative Code, Title 281, Ch. 1o3, without notifying the parent,
Johnston cannot keep a child in confinement for longer than sixty minutes unless it
complies with stated requirements included notifying the childs parents
34. At no time during the confinement did any of the defendants notify R.G.s parents
that he was confined to the conference room.
35. Johnston never contacted R.G.s legal guardian to notify them, and kept R.G. in the
conference room for 150 minutes.
36. Because of the false imprisonment, R.G. has suffered severe emotional damage.
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WHEREFORE, plaintiff requests that judgment be entered against defendant for actual and
punitive damages and costs.
Dated: September 30, 2014 /s/ David C. Roston
David C. Roston
Law Office of David C Roston
2000 Forest Hill Circle
Coralville, IA 52241
Tel: 319-321-5646
Fax: 319-466-9417
david@rostonlaw.com
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