United States District Court, D. Colorado
PATTI A. HARTMAN, Plaintiff,
HARRISON SCHOOL DISTRICT TWO and HARRISON SCHOOL DISTRICT TWO BOARD OF EDUCATION, Defendants.
A. BRIMMED, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment [Docket No. 39] and Plaintiff's Motion
for Leave to File Sur-Reply in Opposition to Defendants'
Motion for Summary Judgment [Docket No. 44]. The Court has
jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
Harrison School District Two ("District") employed
plaintiff as an assistant principal at Sierra High School
("Sierra") in El Paso County, Colorado in the
2013-14 and 2014-15 school years. Docket No. 39 at 4, ¶
1; Docket No. 40 at 7, ¶ 1. Dr. Aaron Griffen
("Griffen") was Sierra's principal and
plaintiff's direct supervisor during the 2014-15 school
year, replacing her previous supervisor, Zach Craddock.
Docket No. 39 at 4, ¶ 2; Docket No. 40 at 7, ¶ 1.
During that school year, plaintiff worked on a one-year
contract running from July 22, 2014 until June 26, 2015.
Docket No. 39 at 4, ¶1.
November 4, 2014, plaintiff suffered injuries to her head,
right ankle, and left shoulder when she responded to a
physical altercation involving two students and a security
officer. Id. at 5, ¶¶ 9-10. As a result of
her injuries, plaintiff missed work intermittently in
November 2014. Id. at 6-7, ¶¶ 11, 13. She
also missed some days in January 2015. Id. at 7,
January 14, 2015, Griffen met with plaintiff to discuss his
intent to place her on a "Growth Improvement Plan."
Id., ¶ 16. The two met again on February 9,
2015, at which point plaintiff signed the plan. Id.,
¶ 18. At this meeting, plaintiff informed Griffen that
she would be submitting a formal application for leave under
the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") and
consequently would not be able to attend some of the meetings
scheduled in the Growth Improvement Plan. Id.,
February 9, 2015, plaintiff formally requested FMLA leave, to
run from February 11 to April 9, 2015. Docket No. 39 at 8,
¶ 20. The District and Griffen approved her
request on February 13, 2015. Id. As plaintiff did
not have enough paid days of medical leave available to cover
her entire FMLA leave, she requested ten days of
"Compassionate Leave" from defendants. Docket No.
40 at 7-8, ¶¶ 4, 7. Compassionate Leave is a
District program that allows other employees to donate their
paid leave days to an employee who is out of paid leave days.
Id. at 8, ¶ 6. On March 9, 2015, the District
informed plaintiff that her request for ten Compassionate
Leave days was granted and that requests for Compassionate
Leave donations on plaintiff's behalf would go out to
Sierra and, by March 20, 2015, to the entire District.
Id., ¶ 8. Griffen did not send a request for
donations to Sierra or the District. Id. at 9,
¶¶ 10-11. On March 20, 2015, plaintiff returned
from FMLA leave early because she had run out of paid leave
days and could not take unpaid leave for financial reasons.
Docket No. 39 at 9, ¶¶ 25-26; Docket No. 40 at 9,
1, 2015, the District informed plaintiff that it would not
renew her contract for the upcoming year. Docket No. 39 at
10, ¶ 33. The District later transferred plaintiff to an
elementary school for the remainder of her contract.
Id., ¶ 34.
filed this lawsuit on May 8, 2017. Docket No. 1. Plaintiff
asserts causes of action under the FMLA, 29 U.S.C. §
2601 et sec/., for interference with substantive
rights and for retaliation. Id. at 7-9, ¶¶
judgment is warranted under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
56 when 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);
see Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248-50 (1986). A disputed fact is
"material" if under the relevant substantive law it
is essential to proper disposition of the claim. Wright
v. Abbott Labs., Inc., 259 F.3d 1226, 1231-32 (10th Cir.
2001). Only disputes over material facts can create a genuine
issue for trial and preclude summary judgment. Faustin v.
City&Cty. of Denver, 423 F.3d 1192, 1198 (10th Cir.
2005). An issue is "genuine" if the evidence is
such that it might lead a reasonable jury to return a verdict
for the nonmoving party. Allen v. Muskogee, 119 F.3d
837, 839 (10th Cir. 1997).
"the moving party does not bear the ultimate burden of
persuasion at trial, it may satisfy its burden at the summary
judgment stage by identifying a lack of evidence for the
nonmovant on an essential element of the nonmovant's
claim." Bausman v. Interstate Brands Corp., 252
F.3d 1111, 1115 (10th Cir. 2001) (internal quotation marks
omitted) (quoting Adlerv. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 144
F.3d 664, 671 (10th Cir. 1998)). "Once the moving party
meets this burden, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party
to demonstrate a genuine issue for trial on a material
matter." Concrete Works of Colo., Inc. v. City &
Cty. of Denver, 36 F.3d 1513, 1518 (10th Cir. 1994). The
nonmoving party may not rest solely on the allegations in the
pleadings, but instead must designate "specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial."
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986)
(internal quotation marks omitted). "To avoid summary
judgment, the nonmovant must establish, at a minimum, an
inference of the presence of each element essential to the
case." Bausman, 252 F.3d at 1115. When
reviewing a motion for summary judgment, a court must view
the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving
move for summary judgment on plaintiff's claims for
interference and retaliation under the FMLA, 29 U.S.C.
§2601 et seq. Docket No. 39 at