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Court sanctions school corporation a third time

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A Northern District magistrate judge has issued sanctions for the third time against Gary Community School Corp. for its lack of cooperation in a suit involving a transgender student.

Magistrate Paul Cherry of the Northern District of Indiana granted plaintiff Kevin "K.K." Logan's third motion for sanctions against the school corporation Jan. 23 in Kevin Logan v. Gary School Corp., et al., No. 2:07-cv-431.

Logan filed suit against the school in December 2007 after he was denied admittance to his high school's prom in 2006 by principal Diane Rouse because he was wearing a pink dress. Rouse cited school policy for not allowing Logan in; however, a female wearing a tuxedo attended the prom.

Magistrate Cherry granted Logan's motion for sanctions, citing the school corporation's long history of non-compliance with court orders as well as federal and local Rules of Civil Procedure. In the Jan. 23 order, the District Court cited the school corporation's failure to comply with some outstanding discovery requests. Even though the school corporation's current attorneys appear to be making a good faith effort to bring the school corporation into compliance, it has "displayed a willful failure to obey court orders and have displayed a pattern of dilatory tactics and contumacious conduct such that additional sanctions are appropriate at this time under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(b)," wrote Magistrate Cherry.

Three of Gary School Corp.'s affirmative defenses were struck because they relate to the substance of the discovery sought by Logan. The defenses are that Logan failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted against the school corporation; Logan wasn't permitted to enter the school-sponsored function wearing a pink party dress because the school corporation sought to ensure the safety and welfare of Logan and other students at the event; and Logan wasn't permitted to enter the event wearing the dress because the school corporation sought to prevent substantial disruption and interference at the function.

The school corporation also must pay Logan's reasonable expenses caused by its failure to comply with a Nov. 21, 2008, order. Magistrate Cherry noted that if the school corporation continues non-compliance with court rules and orders, further sanctions may be necessary. Gary School Corp. already had been sanctioned for failure to comply, ordered to pay Logan's costs and expenses for filing his motions to compel, and precluded from introducing any testimony of witnesses or documentary evidence that wasn't initially disclosed under Rule 26(a) without first seeking leave of the District Court and establishing its failure to produce was substantially justified or harmless.

The District Court also granted Gary School Corp.'s revised motion for extension of time to supplement answers to plaintiff's request for production, extending the original Dec. 5, 2008, deadline to Dec. 19, 2008.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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