Math Tutor Ousted Over 'Explicit' Past Has a Case
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CN) - A former producer of explicit adult media must amend claims against a school district that removed his math-tutoring advertising, a federal judge ruled.
Before dubbing himself "The Happy/Fun Math Tutor," David Benoit Mech produced explicit adult media under another business called Dave Pounder Productions LLC, according to the ruling.
Mech said he had contracts with three schools in Palm Beach County, Fla., to advertise his tutoring services with banners on their fences.
In a 2013 pro se lawsuit, Mech dba The Happy Math Tutor claimed that the school board broke its contract by taking the banners down, violating his right to due process and equal protection under the 14th Amendment.
Palm Beach's school board pointed to its policy that states: "[school] [p]rincipals shall use their discretion in selecting and approving business partners that are consistent with the educational mission of the School Board, District and community values, and appropriateness to the age group represented at the school."
In a motion to dismiss the three civil rights claims as they relate to Boca Raton Community Middle School, the board noted that the principal of that school did not send Mech a letter explaining why the banners were taken down.
The board also moved to dismiss the breach of contract claim as it relates to Omni Community Middle School and Spanish River Community High School because the contracts had expired with these schools at the time the breach occurred.
Claiming that Mech did not prove irreparable harm and other issues, the board likewise sought to dismiss the claims for declaratory and injunctive relief.
Finally, the board asked the judge to strike three areas of Mech's amended complaint.
It said that Paragraph 49 improperly seeks attorneys' fees for the pro se plaintiff, that paragraph 52 strays from relevancy in saying that the Miami-Dade School District cannot fire a teacher who had been a producer and performer in adult films, and that Exhibit J, an article on the topic, is irrelevant.
U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra refused to strike any of the three Friday, finding the motion premature.
He noted that Paragraph 49 of the amended complaint states only that Mech "will seek reasonable attorney's fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988" if he retains counsel.
As to the Paragraph 52 and the exhibit, "whether these allegations have any relevance to this case need not be determined at this time," Marra wrote.
"These allegations and the attached article are not so scandalous or impertinent as to require the drastic remedy of striking," he added. "If appropriate at the time of a trial, reference to these matters can be precluded by order of the court."
In refusing to dismiss any of the counts, Marra also said Mech had targeted the school board only and not the schools themselves in his amended complaint.
Marra nevertheless agreed that Mech had not met the necessary elements to prove injunctive relief, and gave him 14 days to amend his complaint.