In a high school student's civil rights action against his school, high school basketball coaches, and others alleging that defendants violated his substantive due process rights and Tennessee state law by using excessive corporal punishment against him while he played for the High School basketball team, denial of plaintiffs' motion for a new trial after a jury verdict in favor of defendants is affirmed where: 1) reasonable juror could conclude that the paddlings administered by the coaches were for disciplinary purposes, and were not excessive in severity, frequency, motivation, or means; 2) district court properly denied motion for a new trial based on section 1983 claims against the coaches as a reasonable juror could have concluded that the paddlings that plaintiff endured by the coaches did not result in a severe injury and did not amount to a brutal and inhumane abuse of official power that shocks the conscience; 3) district court properly denied motion for a new trial based on the outrageous conduct and negligence claims as supported by sufficient evidence; 4) jury was properly instructed on the substantive due process claim; 5) district court acted within its discretion by excluding testimony of the superintendent under F.R.C.P. 403 as more prejudicial than probative; and 6) district court did not err in excluding testimony regarding the reasons that the principal and a coach were no longer assigned to teach at the high school as evidence of subsequent remedial measures under F.R.C.P. 407.
Read Nolan v. Memphis City Sch., No. 07-6037
Argued: June 18, 2009
Decided and Filed: December 11, 2009
Opinion by District Judge Marbley
For Appellant: Michael R. Marshall, Evans & Petree, PC
For Appellee: Cheryl Rumage Estes, Thomason Hendrix Harvey Johnson & Mitchell, PLLC