United States District Court, D. Oregon
Gibson, Gibson Law Firm, LLC, Herbert G. Grey, Herbert G.
Grey, Attorney at Law, Of Attorneys for Plaintiff.
M. Vickers, Beth F. Plass, Mersereau Shannon, LLP, Of
Attorneys for Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
Michael H. Simon United States District Judge.
Greta Leontiev (“Plaintiff”) brings this action
against Corbett School District (the “School
District”) and individuals Randi Trani, Carrie Church,
David Gorman, Katherine Ziemann, Jenny Layton, Jeff Mershon,
and Jill Edwards (collectively, “Defendants”).
Asserting claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Plaintiff
alleges that all Defendants violated her Fourteenth Amendment
rights by interfering with her parent-child relationship, and
that Defendant Carrie Church and the School District violated
Plaintiff's First Amendment rights by disparaging her
religion. Defendants have moved for summary
judgment. For the reasons that follow, this motion is
is entitled to 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.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party has the burden of
establishing the absence of a genuine dispute of material
fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323
(1986). The court must view the evidence in the light most
favorable to the non-movant and draw all reasonable
inferences in the non-movant's favor. Clicks
Billiards Inc. v. Sixshooters Inc., 251 F.3d 1252, 1257
(9th Cir. 2001). Although “[c]redibility
determinations, the weighing of the evidence, and the drawing
of legitimate inferences from the facts are jury functions,
not those of a judge . . . ruling on a motion for summary
judgment, ” the “mere existence of a scintilla of
evidence in support of the plaintiff's position [is]
insufficient . . . .” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252, 255 (1986). “Where the
record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of
fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no genuine
issue for trial.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (citation
and quotation marks omitted).
the responsibility of the non-moving party to “set
forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue
for trial.” Keiffer v. Pernsteiner, 967 F.2d
527 (9th Cir. 1992). In order for a party to avoid summary
judgment, such facts must be supported by “citing to
particular parts of materials in the record, including
depositions, documents, electronically stored information,
affidavits or declarations, stipulations . . . admissions,
interrogatory answers, or other materials.” Fed R. Civ.
P. 56(c)(1)(A). Where an affidavit or declaration is relied
on to oppose a summary judgment motion, it “must be
made on personal knowledge, set out facts that would be
admissible in evidence, and show that the affiant or
declarant is competent to testify on the matters
stated.” Fed R. Civ. P. 56(c)(4). Where the party
opposing summary judgment is proceeding pro se, the court
“must consider as evidence . . . all of [that
party's] contentions offered in motions and pleadings,
where such contentions are based on personal knowledge and
set forth facts that would be admissible in evidence, and
where [the party] attested under penalty of perjury that the
contents of the motions or pleadings are true and
correct.” Jones v. Blanas, 393 F.3d 918, 923
(9th Cir. 2004).
is the mother of F.V., a transgender boy who was 15 years old
when the events underlying this action took place. F.V.'s
father and Plaintiff divorced in 2008, and both have since
remarried. After the divorce, Plaintiff initially had full
custody of F.V., who for a time only saw his father
infrequently. Plaintiff first learned that F.V. identifies as
male during his ninth grade school year when he wrote a
letter to Plaintiff to reveal his name change. Plaintiff
reported that F.V. “was on a continuum sometimes
wanting to dress in female clothes and sometimes male.”
ECF 40-5 (Plaintiff Dep.) 62:20-23. Plaintiff states that she
supported F.V. through his gender transition by purchasing
masculine clothes for him, providing a therapist for him, and
assigning him gender neutral and masculine chores at home.
Plaintiff's current husband believes that F.V. “is
young and doesn't necessarily know what [he] is
doing.” ECF 35-3 (Eduardo Leontiev Dep.) 35:17-20.
Corbett School District is an Oregon Public School District.
During the relevant time period, F.V. attended Corbett High
School, where he participated in the Corbett Performing Arts
Club (“CPAC”), an extracurricular after school
theater program. CPAC meets and performs at various high
school campuses throughout the district. ECF 40-1 (Layton
Dep.) 22:8-14. In order for CPAC to meet at a campus within
the district, district policy mandates that a district staff
member be present during each campus meeting. Although the
district does not provide funding to CPAC, the district does
the club's accounting. ECF 40-1 (Layton Dep.) 23:4-9.
CPAC is run by community volunteers, many of whom are parents
of children enrolled with the School District. Some of the
volunteers are also employed by the district. Each volunteer
is required to sign a form stating:
Thank you for taking the time to volunteer in the Corbett
School District. * * * We must follow the same rules and
regulations established for School District employees. * * *
Volunteers shall not repeat information concerning students
or employee's private lives. * * * Personal or private
conversations pertaining to any sensitive subject should be
held away from children.
ECF 42 at 2-4.
Saturday, November 19, 2016, F.V. participated in CPAC's
matinee and evening productions of A Midsummer
Night's Dream. ECF 35-2 (Plaintiff Dep.) 128:15-17.
Between shows, F.V. told his father and his sister that he
felt uncomfortable living in Plaintiff's home, and he was
not planning to return to Plaintiff's home that evening.
ECF 35-1 (Van Horn Dep.) 30:11; ECF 46-1 (J.V. Dep.)
17:10-12. Earlier that morning, F.V. also had told his sister
that he was considering getting emancipated or changing
custody to his father. ECF 46-1 (J.V. Dep.) 18:13-17. After
the evening's show, F.V.'s father dropped off
F.V.'s sister at Plaintiff's home, but F.V. stayed at
the high school for a cast party hosted by Defendant Carrie
Church and other CPAC volunteers. Defendant Church is a
Corbett Middle School teacher and CPAC volunteer. F.V. was
never a student in any of Church's classes, and she
“never really had contact with him at school.”
Church's daughter, however, is a close friend of F.V.,
and F.V. had spent a significant amount of time with
Church's family, including joining them on overnight
trips. ECF 35-6 (Church Dep.) 112:8-23. The cast party ended
at midnight, at which point F.V left with Church's
daughter. Where F.V. went after the cast party and where he
stayed that night is unclear from the evidence.
a.m., Sunday, November 20th, F.V. sent the following email to
You are probably wondering why I did not come home after the
cast party. It's because I am miserable at home. I do not
feel like I am being supported, and I am done with contorting
myself to fit an image that you have created. You and Dad
both refuse to accept that I am a boy, and that my name is
[F.V.]. I am so tired of living in a place where I have to
endure constant invalidation.
I think it would be a good idea for me to take a break from
living with you for a while. It's not forever, but I need
some space to heal. I love you, and I am willing to continue
going to my therapist. However, I need to live in a place
where I feel supported and loved. I know you are trying, and
I'm sure we will get to a place where we share a strong
relationship again, and we can continue working toward it.
ECF 40-8. Shortly after F.V. sent the email, F.V. and
Plaintiff exchanged the following text messages:
F.V.: I will be happy to discuss the email in the next
Plaintiff: The first house I am going to is the Church's.
I will be waking up everyone that I ...