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Skalsky v. Independent School District No. 743

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

November 28, 2014

Timothy Skalsky, Plaintiff - Appellant
v.
Independent School District No. 743, Sauk Centre Public Schools; Dan Brooks, individually and in his official capacity as Superintendent of Schools; John Messer, individually and in his official capacity as Director of Maintenance, Defendants - Appellees

Submitted October 7, 2014.

Page 1127

Appeal from United States District Court for the District of Minnesota - Minneapolis.

For Timothy Skalsky, Plaintiff - Appellant: Daniel Eric Warner, Warner Law Office, Blackberry Office Park, Inver Grove Heights, MN.

For Independent School District No. 743, Sauk Centre Public Schools, Dan Brooks, individually and in his official capacity as Superintendent of Schools, John Messer, individually and in his official capacity as Director of Maintenance, Defendants - Appellees: Paul Edward David Darsow, Hanson Bolkcom Law Group, Ltd., Minneapolis, MN; Sally Jean Ferguson, Arthur & Chapman, Minneapolis, MN.

Before RILEY, Chief Judge, WOLLMAN and BYE, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1128

RILEY, Chief Judge.

Timothy Skalsky appeals the district court's[1] grant of summary judgment in favor of Dan Brooks, John Messer, and Independent School District 743, Sauk Centre Public Schools (district), on his claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA), Minn. Stat. § 363A.08; and state tort law. The district court found the record evidence did not establish any genuine dispute of material fact or sufficient evidence to show (1) Skalsky's association with his wife was a substantial or motivating factor in his alleged constructive discharge; (2) appellees' proffered reason for Skalsky's reassignment was pretext; or (3) the requisite personal motive necessary for a tortious interference with a contract claim. We affirm.[2]

I. BACKGROUND

The following facts are stated in the light most favorable to Skalsky. See Hughes v. Stottlemyre, 454 F.3d 791, 793 (8th Cir. 2006). In February 2009, the district hired Skalsky as a substitute custodian--later promoting him to full-time custodian. On April 19, 2011, the school board held a public meeting to receive community input about budgetary issues facing the district. At that meeting, Kirsten Skalsky, Skalsky's wife, speaking as a member of the public, suggested the school board should consider sharing a superintendent and eliminating a principal. Skalsky contends

Page 1129

his wife's suggestion upset Brooks, the district superintendent, because Brooks's employment status with the district had recently been changed to " at will." Just a week before Skalsky's wife spoke, Brooks resigned his position as superintendent with the district and became an independent contractor under a contract between the district and a company providing administrative services to school districts. Either the district or the company could terminate the contract with sixty days written notice.

On April 21, the school board approved the elimination of two part-time custodial positions and a restructuring of the custodial assignments. On April 25, six days after Skalsky's wife spoke at the board meeting, Messer told Skalsky he was being reassigned to the afternoon shift (1:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.) and would be assigned both indoor and outdoor duties during the summer months. Messer, as director of buildings and grounds, was responsible for establishing the work schedules for the custodial staff and testified he felt ...


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