United States District Court, S.D. Florida
JANE DOE No. 60, Plaintiff,
G-STAR SCHOOL OF THE ARTS, INC., Defendant.
ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
BLOOM, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
CAUSE is before the Court upon Defendant G-Star
School of the Arts, Inc.'s (“Defendant” or
“G-Star School”) Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF
No.  (the “Motion”). The Court has reviewed
the Motion, all opposing and supporting submissions, the
record and the applicable law, and is otherwise fully
advised. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is
action is brought by minor Plaintiff Jane Doe No. 60
("Plaintiff") and arises out of the alleged sexual
harassment and assault of Plaintiff by one of her high school
teachers at G-Star School, a not-for-profit charter school.
Plaintiff attended G-Star School from August 2011, when she
began the tenth grade, through June 2014, when she graduated.
Defendant's Statement of Undisputed Facts, ECF No. 
(“Def. SOF”) at ¶¶ 2, 30. According to
Plaintiff, throughout her tenth grade year, her history
teacher, Ismael Martinez ("Martinez),
“groomed” her to gain her trust and develop an
inappropriate relationship with her. See ECF No.
 at ¶ 9. This process began at the beginning of the
school year when Martinez stated to her that she was
beautiful and assigned her to sit in the front of his class.
Plaintiff's Additional Material Facts, ECF No.  at
3-10 (“Pl. Additional Facts”), ¶
On another other occasion, Martinez allegedly sang the lyrics
of a sexually explicit song to Plaintiff and asked her what
she likes to do sexually. Id. at ¶ 3.
further alleges that some time afterwards, on April 17, 2012,
Martinez had her attend a tutoring session in his classroom
after school. Id. at ¶ 6. Allegedly, while
Martinez and Plaintiff were alone in his classroom, Martinez
again asked Plaintiff what she likes to do sexually, stated
to Plaintiff that he "like[s] to eat pussy[, ]" and
then, at the end of the tutoring session when Plaintiff was
getting ready to leave, sexually assaulted Plaintiff.
Id. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Martinez
came up to her from behind as she was packing her book bag,
caressed her thighs and buttocks, and began kissing her neck.
Id. Martinez then placed Plaintiff on her desk, felt
her breasts, pulled down her blouse and bra, kissed her on
the breasts while whispering "I want you so bad[,
]" and placed her hand on his penis. Id.
Martinez also tried to remove Plaintiff's pants, but
Plaintiff stopped him. Id. According to Plaintiff,
she began to believe that she was in love with Martinez after
the alleged sexual encounter, and the inappropriate
relationship between them continued throughout her eleventh
and twelfth grade years. Id. at ¶ 7; ECF No.
 at ¶¶ 12-14.
the course of this litigation and since first being
confronted with reports of the alleged relationship between
him and Plaintiff, Martinez has denied what Plaintiff now
alleges, maintaining that he has never been involved in an
inappropriate relationship with Plaintiff. The first of those
reports stemmed from Plaintiff herself, though indirectly.
Shortly after the alleged sexual encounter on April 17, 2012,
Plaintiff disclosed to a fellow classmate, Nina Nordarse
(“Nordarse”), that she was in a relationship with
Martinez. Def. SOF at ¶ 5; Pl. SOF at ¶ 5.
Thereafter, Nordarse spoke with a G-Star School employee,
Travis Hagler (“Hagler”), informing him that a
girl in one of her classes had hinted to her that she was in
a relationship with Martinez. Def. SOF at ¶ 7. Hagler
then immediately advised the founder and CEO of G-Star
School, Gregory Hauptner (“Hauptner”), of the
information he received during his conversation with
Nordarse. Id. at ¶¶ 9-10.
Friday, April 20, 2012, Hauptner and the principal of G-Star
School, Kimberly Collins (“Principal Collins”),
spoke with Plaintiff in their office. Id. at ¶
11. At that meeting, Plaintiff denied that she was
inappropriately involved with any teacher of G-Star School
and stated that some girls in the school were spreading
untrue rumors about her, including that one. Id. at
¶ 12. Plaintiff's statements at the meeting were
memorialized in a typed statement, which Plaintiff then
reviewed and signed. Id. at ¶ 13; see
also ECF No. [52-1] at Exh. E.
next day, Martinez contacted Hauptner and Principal Collins
to inform them that a student named Nicole Elkins
(“Elkins”) had told him of a rumor going around
that “he hooked with a student, ” which he denied
to Hauptner and Principal Collins. Def. SOF at ¶¶
14-15. Hauptner made a written note of this conversation, and
indicated on the note his intention to find out how Plaintiff
commuted home from school, whether she ever stays at school
after hours, and what day the rumored incident could have
taken place. Id. at ¶¶ 15-16.
following Monday, on April 23, 2012, Plaintiff was again
called into Hauptner and Principal Collins' office, this
time due to a rumor that Plaintiff was going to shoot
someone. Id. at ¶ 17. At that meeting,
Plaintiff explained that she had only joked with her friends
about shooting someone. Id. at ¶ 18. Hauptner
and Principal Collins documented this meeting in a typed
note. id. at ¶ 19. The note indicates that the
two of them spoke with Plaintiff's parents over the phone
later that same day regarding both the shooting-related rumor
and the meeting with Plaintiff, see ECF No. [52-1]
at Exh. H. According to the note, Hauptner and Principal
Collins also informed Plaintiff's parents during their
conversation that they “had been hearing rumors
concerning their daughter and had asked her about any
inappropriate activity between her, any teacher, any staff
member or students[, ]” and also requested that
Plaintiff's parents “call  immediately” if
they learned any more information about the rumors from
Plaintiff. ECF No. [52-1] at Exh. H. During the conversation,
Plaintiff's father informed Hauptner that Plaintiff had
been arriving home from school at the usual time every day
except for the previous Tuesday or Wednesday (April 17th or
April 18th) because she had to make up a test. Def. SOF at
¶ 22 (citing ECF No. [52-1] at Exh. H).
Martinez, at the instruction of Hauptner and Principal
Collins, prepared a document outlining his schedule during
the week of April 16, 2012-identifying in particular any
students who were in his classroom either during the lunch
hour or after school that week- which reflected that
Plaintiff stayed after school to complete make-up homework on
April 17, 2012. Id. at ¶¶ 24-25. Hauptner
and Principal Collins then had the rest of the teachers with
classrooms in the same building as Martinez indicate whether
they also had students stay after school on April 17, 2012
and provide what time each of them left the school that day.
Id. at ¶¶ 26-27. Upon collecting the above
information, Hauptner and Principal Collins concluded in a
final report that there was a “complete lack of any
evidence that the rumor is true that [Plaintiff] and the
teacher had any inappropriate contact[, ]” noting that
both Plaintiff and Martinez “completely denied”
the rumor. Id. at ¶ 28 (citing ECF No. [52-1]
at Exh. K). Thus, as reflected in the final report, Hauptner
and Principal Collins concluded that “[t]here was no
inappropriate contact between the teacher and
[Plaintiff]” and deemed “[t]he matter concerning
the teacher  dropped.” ECF No. [52-1] at Exh. K.
Apparently, no further action was taken by G-Star School with
respect to Plaintiff and Martinez.
graduating from G-Star School in 2014, Plaintiff filed the
instant action against G-Star School on March 21, 2016. In an
Amended Complaint filed on April 25, 2016, ECF No. ,
Plaintiff asserted a claim for negligence (Count I) and a
claim for violations of Title IX, 20 U.S.C. § 1681
et seq. (Count II). On September 6, 2016, the Court
granted a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings filed by
G-Star School, dismissing Plaintiff's negligence claim
without prejudice for Plaintiff's failure to allege that
G-Star School was provided with pre-suit notice as required
under Fla. Stat. § 768.28(6). ECF No. . The Court
advised that Plaintiff would be allowed to refile the
negligence claim after complying with the pre-suit notice
requirements of Fla. Stat. § 768.28(6). Id. at
15. On April 14, 2017, the Court, satisfied that Plaintiff
had thereafter complied with the pre-suit notice requirements
of Fla. Stat. § 768.28(6), granted Plaintiff leave to
file a Second Amended Complaint reasserting the negligence
claim against Defendant, which Plaintiff filed on April 19,
2017. See ECF Nos. , . Prior to the filing
of Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint, on March 3,
2017, G-Star School filed its Motion for Summary Judgment
with respect to Plaintiff's Title IX claim-the only claim
asserted at the time. ECF No. . Plaintiff's Response,
ECF No. , and G-Star School's Reply, ECF No. ,
may grant a motion for summary judgment “if 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). The parties may support their
positions by citation to the record, including, inter
alia, depositions, documents, affidavits, or
declarations. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). An issue is
genuine if “a reasonable trier of fact could return
judgment for the non-moving party.” Miccosukee
Tribe of Indians of Fla. v. United States, 516 F.3d
1235, 1243 (11th Cir. 2008) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986)). A fact is
material if it “might affect the outcome of the suit
under the governing law.” Id. (quoting
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48). The Court views the
facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and
draws all reasonable inferences in the party's favor.
See Davis v. Williams, 451 F.3d 759, 763 (11th Cir.
2006). “The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence
in support of the [non-moving party's] position will be
insufficient; there must be evidence on which a jury could
reasonably find for the [non-moving party].”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252. The Court does not weigh
conflicting evidence. See Skop v. City of Atlanta,
Ga., 485 F.3d 1130, 1140 (11th Cir. 2007) (quoting
Carlin Comm'n, Inc. v. S. Bell Tel. & Tel.
Co., 802 F.2d 1352, 1356 (11th Cir. 1986)).
moving party shoulders the initial burden to demonstrate the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact. See Shiver
v. Chertoff, 549 F.3d 1342, 1343 (11th Cir. 2008). If a
movant satisfies this burden, “the nonmoving party
‘must do more than simply show that there is some
metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.'”
Ray v. Equifax Info. Servs., L.L.C., 327 F.
App'x 819, 825 (11th Cir. 2009) (quoting Matsushita
Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S.
574, 586 (1986)). Instead, “the non-moving party
‘must make a sufficient showing on each essential
element of the case for which he has the burden of
proof.'” Id. (quoting Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986)). The non-moving party
must produce evidence, going beyond the pleadings, and by its
own affidavits, or by depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, designating specific
facts to suggest that a reasonable jury could find in the
non-moving party's favor. Shiver, 549 F.3d at
1343. But even where an opposing party neglects to submit any
alleged material facts in controversy, a court cannot grant
summary judgment unless it is satisfied that all of the
evidence on the record supports the uncontroverted material
facts that the movant has proposed. See Reese v.
Herbert, 527 F.3d 1253, 1268-69, 1272 (11th Cir. 2008);
United States v. One Piece of Real Prop. Located at 5800
S.W. 74th Ave., Miami, Fla., 363 F.3d 1099, 1103 n.6
(11th Cir. 2004).
resolving the issues presented under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56,
“the court may not weigh conflicting evidence to
resolve disputed factual issues; if a genuine dispute is
found, summary judgment must be denied.” Carlin
Commc'n, Inc. v. Southern Bell Tel. & Tel. Co.,
802 F.2d 1352, 1356 (11th Cir. 1986); see also Aurich v.
Sanchez, 2011 WL 5838233, at *1 (S.D. Fla. Nov. 21,
2011) (“If a reasonable fact finder could draw more
than one inference from the facts, and that inference creates
an issue of material fact, then the court must not grant
summary judgment.” (citing Hairston v. Gainesville
Sun Publishing Co., 9 F.3d 913 (11th Cir. 1993)). Even
“where the parties agree on the basic facts, but
disagree about ...