BLUEFIELD - A lawsuit against McDowell County Board of Education has been remanded back to McDowell Circuit Court.

On Sept. 30, a judgment order was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia at Bluefield.

"Plaintiff misapprehends the nature of the 'well-pleaded complaint' rule and Magistrate Judge VanDervort's use of the term in his PF&R," according to a Memorandum Opinion and Order authored by Judge David A. Faber.

The presence or absence of a federal question is determined by the well-pleaded complaint rule and under the rule, the plaintiff is the master of his or her complaint and a plaintiff may "avoid federal jurisdiction by exclusive reliance on state law," a judgment order states.

The court overruled the plaintiff's objections and adopted VanDervort's findings and recommendation. The defendants' motion to dismiss was granted as to the plaintiff's claims alleging favoritism, retaliation, race discrimination, sex discrimination and violation of Title VI, Title VII, Title IX and West Virginia code.

The motion to dismiss was denied in all other respects and having dismissed all of the plaintiff's federal claims, the court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the plaintiff's remaining state law claims.

Bonita Redd was the assistant principal of Mount View High School and in 2011, she was demoted to a teaching position, according to a complaint filed Feb. 5 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia at Beckley.

Redd claimed she was discriminated and retaliated against based on her race and sex.

In 2003-2004 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found the defendant guilty of discriminating against Redd based on race and in 2008, another charge was filed against the school board alleging race and sex discrimination pursuant to the grievance procedure, according to the suit.

Redd claimed she was retaliated against for past grievances, her civil suit, whistle blowing and EEOC complaints.

Redd was seeking compensatory damages in the amount of $425,000, for losses to Social Security and retirement benefits; pecuniary losses in the amount of $125,000; non-pecuniary losses of $125,000; punitive damages in the amount of $2 million; nominal damages in the amount of $500,000; exemplary damages of $500,000; and aggravated damages in the amount of $200,000 for a total of $3.875 million. She was representing herself.

The defendant was represented by Kevin J. Robinson and Chip E. Williams of Pullin, Fowler, Flanagan, Brown & Poe PLLC.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia at Bluefield case number: 1:13-cv-2015




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