In the latest back and forth between Midland Christian School and the City of Midland over the arrest of its top administrators, the City of Midland has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in Midland by Midland Christian against the City of Midland. Plaintiffs are former Superintendent Jared Lee, former Principal Dana Ellis, former Principal Matthew Counts, former Athletic Director Greg McClendon and former Head Baseball Coach Barry Russell. The defendants are the City of Midland, Jennie Alonzo, Rosemary Sharp and Camilo Fonseca, all of the Midland Police Department.
U.S. District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn of the Northern District was chosen to preside over the case. Rusty Hardin is the defense attorney.
In August, former Superintendent Jared Lee, former Principal Dana Ellis, former Principal Matthew Counts, former Athletic Director Greg McClendon and former Head Baseball Coach Barry Russell filed suit against the City of Midland, Midland Police Department, and Det. Jennie Alonzo, following the exoneration of the five on false allegations that they failed to report a sexual assault in January. The suit also names officers Rosemary Sharp and Camilo Fonseca.
According to a news release from the plaintiffs’ attorney Rusty Hardin, the school’s investigation determined what happened was “nothing more than locker room horseplay among members of the baseball team.” Almost three months later, a Midland County grand jury investigating the incident declined to indict any of the five plaintiffs in the case.
The suit stems from an incident “in which a young student suffered a physical assault that included a baseball bat.” According to the motion, the plaintiffs failed to allege any facts that overcome the officers’ qualified immunity.
A statement from Rusty Hardin & Associates, LLP responding to the motion says: “The City’s response does not seriously address the myriad of falsehoods and omissions that were evident in Detective Alonzo’s arrest warrant affidavits accusing these five career educators of failing to report an alleged ‘sexual assault.’ The response disappointedly continues to perpetuate the falsehood that the Plaintiffs were not cooperating with the police department’s investigation when they absolutely were. It overlooks the role of Detective Alonzo’s direct supervisor, who participated at every step of the tunnel-visioned, biased, and malicious campaign against the Midland Five. And it attempts to insulate the city from responsibility despite the City’s awareness of Detective Alonzo’s repeated pattern of unconstitutional and unprofessional behavior. Qualified immunity does not and will not protect the City of Midland from the abuse of power that is the central issue in this case. And make no mistake, that’s exactly what it was: an abuse of power. We look forward to responding in due course.”