Video- Joelle Ogletree's Appeal to the Texas Supreme Court Denied (October 8 2010)
One of two CIVIL cases
Video- Joelle Ogletree's Appeal to the Texas Supreme Court Denied (October 8 2010)
12 October 2010 at 10:29:18 PM
The other day, on October 8, 2010, the Texas Supreme Court issued a regular court order regarding a number of cases they have been asked to hear. Civil Case Ogletree vs Glen Rose Independent School District, case # 10-0200 was among them.
ORDERS ON MOTIONS FOR REHEARING
THE MOTIONS FOR REHEARING OF THE FOLLOWING PETITIONS FOR REVIEW ARE DENIED:
JOELLE OGLETREE v. GLEN ROSE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT; from Somervell County; 10th district (10‑08‑00392‑CV, 314 SW3d 450, 02‑10‑10)
UPDATE: I want to paste in her Second Motion To Hear.
TO THE HONORABLE SUPREME COURT OF TEXAS:
On April 29, 2010 Petitioner Joelle Ogletree (“Ogletree”), through her attorneys, filed a Petition for Review with this Court from the Tenth Court of Appeals at Waco, Texas. The Tenth Court of Appeals had upheld the 249th District Court’s ruling granting summary judgment to Respondent, Glen Rose Independent School District (“the District”). In May 2010, after accepting employment with an “employer-sided-only” firm, Ogletree’s attorneys had to withdraw from the case. On August 20, 2010, this Court declined to hear Ogletree’s case. Continuing pro se, Ogletree comes now, filing her Motion for Rehearing and submits the following for consideration:
A. OGLETREE DID NOT FAIL TO EXHAUST ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES
When Ogletree was hired by the District in 2000, she was hired as a full time teacher working under Chapter 21 of the Texas Education Code. At that time, she signed a form acknowledging receipt of the District’s grievance policy. (2 CR 258)
In 2002, Ogletree resigned from her position with the District to stay at home with her daughter. (2 CR 250). During the summer of 2002, the District asked Ogletree to come back, as it could not find a French teacher to replace her. Ogletree agreed to an arrangement, but not as a full time employee, only as a part-time employee not governed under Chapter 21. (2 CR 252). At this time, her supervisors did not inform her of the District’s grievance procedures, as required by board policy. (2 CR 245).
Upon her termination, Ogletree specifically asked about telling her side of the story. She was not provided the grievance policy nor any information regarding it. She was not told where to find the grievance policy, that it could provide that information to her or which section would apply to her. (1 CR 110, 118). Contrastingly, she was simply told that the decision was final. (1 CR 110, 118, 170).
Ogletree found an attorney to help her, and through her attorney, before filing suit, she asked the District to give her a grievance hearing. (1 CR 171-173). While this request was not timely filed according to board policy, the District had not followed its own board policy when terminating Ogletree: she was not given proper notice of or information regarding her rights; she was also never provided information regarding her termination and the allegations made against her, as required by board policy. ( 1 CR 127). The District chose not to grant Ogletree the requested hearing, nor did it make any other attempt to rectify the situation.
Supporting Policy and Case Law
The Texas Tenth Court of Appeals cited Smith v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield United of Wis., 959 F.2d 655, 659 (7th Cir. 1992) to support its decision that Ogletree had not exhausted administrative remedies. In that case, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the plaintiffs had, in fact, failed to exhaust administrative remedies. Two of the cases the court cited in helping it make this determination, however, support Ogletree’s contention that she did not fail to exhaust her administrative remedies.
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals cited the first of these cases stating, “exhaustion was futile where putative class members had appealed decision and the Director of the Plan "made it clear that no adjustments were forthcoming."” Carter v. Signode Industries, Inc., 688 F.Supp. 1283, 1287 (N.D.Ill.1988). This applies to Ogletree’s case: when she asked the District’s superintendent, who serves as Chief Executive Officer of the District, what she could do, Ogletree was told the decision was final. See Texas Education Code 11.201(a); (1 CR 118).
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals cited the second of these cases stating, “claimant [was] denied meaningful access because he was not told how to file appeal or told review procedure was available.” Boesl v. Suburban Trust & Sav. Bank, 642 F.Supp. 1503, 1516 (N.D.Ill.1986). Similarly, upon her rehire under completely different terms, Ogletree was not made aware of the District’s grievance policy. Further, when she asked about telling her side of the story, she was not told or provided any information regarding how to do so.
With the lack of knowledge the District provided her, Ogletree did everything she could to pursue whatever remedies were available to her. After finding an attorney who knew she had a right to a hearing, she asked for one. Knowing that litigation would ensue if a hearing was not granted, the District made no effort to rectify the situation and chose to ignore Ogletree’s request.
B. OGLETREE’S SECTION 1983 CLAIM WAS TIMELY FILED
Ogletree was terminated from her position at Glen Rose ISD after allegations of misconduct were made against her. Unbeknownst to Ogletree, a male teacher working for the District had recently had similar allegations made against him. He was not terminated. He was allowed to remain in the classroom through the end of the school year, at which time he retired. (1 CR 140).
Ogletree was terminated October 3, 2002. Texas law prevented her from knowing, or inquiring and discovering, that similar allegations had been made against the male teacher. SeeTexas Education Code § 21.355.
It was only on August 19, 2003 that the Texas State Board for Educator Certification publicly published a reprimand on this educator’s license. (1 CR 220). Ogletree filed her suit containing a Section 1983 claim on April 26, 2005, within the two year statue of limitations.
Supporting Case Law
State law prohibited Ogletree from knowing about the District’s discriminatory practice until sanctions against the male employee were, by law, made public. In Greg Abbott v. North East Independent School District, the Court of Appeals was asked to determine whether, because of the Texas Education Code, documents containing complaints about a teacher and directing corrective action were to be kept confidential and exempt from disclosure under the Texas Public Information Act. The Court ruled that such documents were to remain confidential. Abbott v. North East Independent School District, 212 S.W. 364, 368 (Tex. App.--Austin 2006, no pet.). In fact, Glen Rose ISD acknowledges that it could not have released information concerning the allegations of misconduct made against the male employee. Therefore, until a public reprimand was given by the State, Ogletree had no access to information that would let her know a male employee facing allegations of similar misconduct was treated far differently from her. While this concealment was not fraudulent, it does not change the fact that upon her termination, Ogletree had no way of possibly knowing the facts that support her cause of action.
Regarding the commencement of time limitations, the Fifth Circuit has noted, “The time begins when facts that would support a cause of action are or should be apparent." Blumberg v. HCA Management Co., 848 F.2d 642, 645 (5th Cir.1988). Ogletree filed her Section 1983 Claim within two years from the time the facts that support her cause of action could become apparent.
To support its ruling that Ogletree’s time limitation began upon her termination, the Tenth Court of Appeals cites Frazier v. Garrison ISD . In Frazier, teachers filed suit based on racial discrimination. The Tenth Court of Appeals simply describes this case as “holding that when employment discrimination claim is based on discharge, the discharge itself is basis for discrimination suit and begins limitations period.” Ogletree v. Glen Rose Indep. Sch. Dist., No. 10-08-00392-CV, 2010 (Tex. App.--Waco Feb 10, 2010, no pet. h.) In actuality, the Fifth Circuit Court’s Opinion in Frazier explains that, when appropriate, the two year statute can be extended: “In the case at hand, if the teachers are going to file a suit sounding in racial discrimination, they should have done so when they were discharged, because the discharge itself is the basis for the discrimination suit. No facts exist that indicate to us that the alleged discrimination was either hidden or for some reason not apparent to a reasonably prudent person. We conclude that there are not equitable considerations to support extension of the Texas two year statue of limitations.” Frazier v. Garrison ISD, 980 F.2d 1514, 1521-22 (5th Cir. 1993). Of remarkable contrast, in Ogletree’s case, the facts supporting the discrimination were hidden by law, and were thus impossible to become apparent to a reasonably prudent person.
Confirmation that the Tenth Court of Appeals erred in interpreting federal law is found in a 2007 United States Supreme Court’s ruling:
Until information regarding the allegations made against the male employee became public, making them available to a reasonably prudent person, Ogletree would not have had a complete cause of action and would, therefore, not have been able to file suit and obtain relief.
This case has been referenced twice in the Texas Association of School Boards’ School Law Update (2007, 2010), an Annual Advanced Texas Administrative Law Seminar in Austin, Texas (2007) and an Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference at the University of Texas School of Law (2010). Only this Court has the authority to correct the misinterpretations of law in a case that will be turned to by many for precedent and guidance: the ruling in this case will provide a standard for accrual in situations where the plaintiff is actually prohibited for a certain period of time from learning information necessary to have a cause of action. Furthermore, the court of appeals’ ruling directly contradicts the United States Supreme Courts’ established position regarding the accrual of Section 1983 claims. Petitioner turns to the Supreme Court of Texas, the only court given the authority to rectify such critical, fundamental errors.
Based on the foregoing, Petitioner prays that the Court accept this motion and review the opinion and judgment of the court of appeals, reversing the same and remand her claims to the trial court for full adjudication on the merits.
P.O. Box 369
Glen Rose TX 76043
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I, Joelle Ogletree, Plaintiff pro se, do here by certify that on the _____ Day of August, 2010, a true and correct copy of the foregoing was forwarded to Tom Myers, attorney for Glen Rose Independent School District, by Certified Mail at the following address:
Salon, thank you especially for putting up the first link: "Here was Ms. Ogletree's Motion to Rehear..."
For those who are interested, this document states succinctly why I believe I should have had the opportunity to have a trial and let a jury decide this case.
The brief itself is seven pages long, beginning on page five of the PDF. The pages that follow are sworn testimony from two district administrators, letters, forms and polices that are referenced in the brief.
Ms. Ogletree, I cannot believe what you have been through! I saw both your Dr. Phil shows today because they were rebroadcast on the OWN network. I will never have the same level of respect for Dr. Phil again. NEVER. I hope you have recovered to the best of your ability.
Matt was an adult when he came on the show and reiterated his garbage. I hope you sued the living @#$% out of him.
You're a source of inspiration to those who are wrongfully accused.
I watch Dr. Phil, regularly, & today, I watched the taped, 2 part interview you did with him.
I am SO disappointed in his behavior! He keeps his show under his control, & you barely, EVER, see guests fighting or yelling, or verbally attacking each other.
SOOOOO, WHAT was up with him? He asked you not ONCE, but TWICE, what was going on, & how you could JUST sit there so calmly when these students were accusing you of being a "Pedaphile". It almost seemed as if he was inferring that because you were calm, "SOMETHING'S UP"! Maybe she did it?
As far as I'm concerned, Dr. Phil joined the ranks of Jerry Springer & Maury Povich, where the guests argue so loudly that WE, at home, can barely understand them because we can't hear! It's always been refreshing to watch Dr. Phil, & have the guests act respectfully & get, just a little, loud & disgruntled.
I'm sad he seemed to worry so much about ratings rather than the concern for you, the accused.
It's very disheartening to watch & hear what those boys did to you & your family.
I suspect that one of the reasons it took so much time for you to receive ANY relief that SOMEONE may be hearing you was because one, (or both) boys had a parent who had been or still was in a high position (Mayor?) within local politics. SURPRISE
I don't know when or if you'll ever come back to this website to look at comments, but I'd like to tell you that you are; ONE COOL CUSTOMER!
In a GOOD way, NOT the way Dr. Phil inferred when looking for higher ratings!
You were treated SO unfairly that it's almost ridiculous.
The Glen Rose School District went forth with your firing EVEN when they KNEW, BEFORE then that there was a good chance you were innocent!! (I can see it now....busy body teachers, principal, & the rest of that administration milling about, GOSSIPING, AND JUDGING you.
Horrible, horrible people. The reason it took so long for the "worm to turn" your way, was because one both of those boys had a parent (or other relative) still or recently in a high political office (Mayor?) so the school district & local courts patronized this person, even when there was evidence of your innocence. Good Luck!!!!
When this 'mess' began, I was working for an attorney in Glen Rose and you and your husband came into his office....you two met privately with Tim; therefore, I was never aware of the conversation that took place; however, when eating at the sandwich shop across the street I heard about the allegations that had been made about you. Since Tim was not a criminal attorney I never felt like your problem was your reason for being there but I do recall you and your husband's appearance that day and I thought to myself when I heard the rumor that it had to be another one of "Glen Rose's rumors"....what a pitiful town to live in.... I only lived there a short time because I have a 'life' and I did not fit in well with the general poplulation of Glen Rose. Joelle, I have so much sympathy for you and your family - I truly hope you win your case against the GRISD and you can regain your status as a great teacher that has only shown high integrity during this horrible ordeal. However, when all is said in done, I would take my family out of that horrible environment and move on to another area and start all over where people are respectful and can appreciate what you can add to their community. SHAME ON THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE IN GLEN ROSE.....AND DOUBLE SHAME ON THOSE BOYS WHO KNEW WHAT THEY WERE DOING WHEN THEY DID IT!!!!!
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