Federal Court Dismisses Lawsuit Alleging High School Basketball Coach's Foul During Pick-Up Basketball Game Amounted To "Corporal Punishment"


A federal court in Florida has dismissed a lawsuit that claimed a coach's hard foul on a student during a pickup basketball game was tantamount to corporal punishment.


David and Stephanie Sanchez filed the federal lawsuit in November on behalf of their son Joshua Sanchez. The complaint was against Lee County School Superintendent Greg Adkins, Fort Myers High School Principal David LaRosa, and Scott Guttery, the high school's former boys' basketball coach. The suit claims Sanchez's Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, those dealing with excessive force, battery and due process, were violated during the May 4, 2017 pick-up game.


The court wrote in its six-page order that the plaintiffs did not reasonably argue that "Guttery’s foul in a pick-up basketball game constitutes corporal punishment. And even if they did plausibly allege as much, it is not plausible that any sort of due process may be afforded in such a circumstance given the nature of a basketball scrimmage such as the one here."


Corporal punishment is allowed in Florida schools, but it can only be carried out by a teacher or principal "in the presence of another adult who is informed beforehand, and in the student’s presence, of the reason for the punishment," according to state law. 


The lawsuit claims Guttery became enraged and agitated when he was called for a foul. The lawsuit also alleges that Guttery told the student, "'I will show you what a real foul is!" The lawsuit further alleges that when Sanchez later attempted to drive to the basket, Guttery grabbed his left arm, and he used his right hand and forearm to hit him. Sanchez fell and hit his head, putting him in a semi-conscious state, according to the lawsuit. 


Guttery was put on paid administrative leave for 49 days while the Lee County School District investigated the claims. Guttery was given a letter of reprimand and was reinstated as a coach. In June 2017, Guttery resigned from Fort Myers High School and announced he had taken a position at a private religious school.


For a video of the incident - click here.


Source: News-Press