Thursday, November 7, 2013

M.B. v. Rankin County School District

Below is a copy of the Amended Complaint as filed in the M.B. a minor by and through her next friend Kanwar Singh Bedi v. Rankin County School District and Charles Frazier, individually and in his Official Capacity as Principal of Northwest Rankin High School, Case No. 3:13cv00241, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Jackson Division.

My initial thoughts:

- The Plaintiff provided detailed accounts of the school assemblies for the Juniors and Seniors; not only details of statements made by school officials, but also speakers at the assemblies.  Getting her hands on the actual tapes played during the assemblies won't be an issue either for her.

- Pinelake Church is the only religious institution named in the lawsuit.

- The Complaint seeks punitive damages against Charles Frazier, individually.  Apparently, the basis of this request is the fact the American Humanist Association sent Principal Frazier a letter two days after the first assembly requesting the assemblies be stopped immediately.

- Apart from nominal damages against the School District, the Plaintiff requests attorneys fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. s 1988.  If the ultimate decision in this matter is against the School District, this is where it will hurt since prevailing Plaintiffs are entitled to attorneys fees in 1988 actions.

- A Motion for Partial Summary Judgment has been filed by the School District and is presently pending.  I can also tell you a number of Notices of Depositions have been issued by the Plaintiffs to various school officials and teachers, and other players.

- The Plaintiff is represented by the lawyers of the Mississippi firm of Silin and Ellis of Ocean Springs, along with some California and Washington D.C. lawyers.

- The School Board and Charles Frazier are represented by the firm of Corlew Munford and Smith, from Jackson, along with Board attorney Fred M. Harrell, Jr., or Brandon.

- I haven't read the School District's Answer yet, but I imagine its defense will be the assembly was entirely student led and attendance was voluntary.

I'm presently digging through a pending Motion for Partial Summary Judgment filed by the School District, and the Response filed by the Plaintiff.  I'll give a legal analysis (for what it's worth) after wading through that.

Complaint after the jump:


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