Troy Causey Jr. federal lawsuit against DISD and Dallas County Juvenile Department
Post on 23-Dec-2015
DESCRIPTIONTammy Simpson, the mother of slain Dallas basketball standout Troy Causey Jr., has filed a civil rights lawsuit against Dallas ISD and the Dallas County juvenile department alleging improper athletic recruiting led to her son's death one year ago, March 24, 2014.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
THE ESTATE OF TROY CAUSEY, JR, BY AND THROUGH HIS MOTHER, TAMMY SIMPSON, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF HIS HEIRS
MIKE MILES, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS SUPERINTENDENT OF THE DALLAS INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT; TERRY S. SMITH IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE DALLAS COUNTY JUVENILE DEPARTMENT; TERRY S. SMITH IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS CHIEF JUVENILE PROBATION OFFICER FOR DALLAS COUNTY;
Civil Action No.
3:15-cv-914 Jury Trial Requested
Plaintiff THE ESTATE OF TROY CAUSEY, JR, BY AND THROUGH
HIS MOTHER, TAMMY SIMPSON, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF
HIS HEIRS (herein Causey or Plaintiff), by and through undersigned counsel,
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makes this his Complaint against Defendants, MIKE MILES, IN HIS OFFICIAL
CAPACITY AS SUPERINTENDENT OF THE DALLAS INDEPENDENT
SCHOOL DISTRICT; TERRY S. SMITH IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE DALLAS COUNTY JUVENILE
DEPARTMENT; TERRY S. SMITH IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS CHIEF
JUVENILE PROBATION OFFICER FOR DALLAS COUNTY and allege as
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
1. This Court has jurisdiction over the federal claims of the Plaintiffs in this
action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1331, 1343 because the subject matter of
Plaintiffs claims are premised on violations of 42 USC 1983 and 1988.
2. Venue is proper in this Court pursuant to 28 USC 1391(2) as all material
facts out of which this suit arises occurred within the Northern District of
Texas, Dallas Division.
3. Causey, when alive, was a citizen of the State of Texas and was at all
pertinent times within the confines of the Dallas County Juvenile
Department and a resident of Dallas County Youth Village and/or a student
in the Dallas Independent School District.
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4. His mother and natural heir is Tammy Simpson. She too is a citizen of the
State of Texas and brings this Compliant individually and as heir and
representative of the Estate of Troy Causey, Jr.
5. Defendant Mike Miles is sued in his official capacity as Superintendent of
the Dallas Independent School District (DISD or the District) which at
all times was responsible for the implementation of relevant federal and state
law, UIL rules, the care, management and control of all public school
business within its jurisdiction as to students like Causey, the training of
staff and coaches, the enforcement of policies and procedures and to both
train and supervise staff to prevent harm to students and illegal recruiting
practices of student athletes.
6. Defendant Terry S. Smith is sued in her official capacity as Executive
Director of the Dallas County Juvenile Department which at all times was
responsible to the implementation and enforcement of all public business
within its jurisdiction as to juvenile residents of its facilities like Causey, the
training of staff, the enforcement of policies and procedures and to both
train and supervise staff to prevent harm to residents and participants in the
juvenile probation program and to prevent the illegal contact of residents for
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any purposes including but not limited to sports recruiting from among its
probationers by personnel of DISD.
7. Defendant Terry S. Smith is sued in her official capacity as Chief Juvenile
Probation Officer for Dallas County which at all times was responsible to
the implementation and enforcement of all public business within its
jurisdiction as to juvenile residents of its facilities like Causey, the training
of staff, the enforcement of policies and procedures and to both train and
supervise staff to prevent harm to residents and participants in the juvenile
probation program and to prevent the illegal contact of residents for any
purposes including but not limited to sports recruiting from among its
probationers by personnel of DISD.
HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL BACKGROUND OF RECRUITMENT
8. Many school districts throughout the United States have engaged in the
practice or recruiting students from outside their territorial districts to play
sports as varied as football, baseball, track, and many others, including but
not limited to basketball.
9. DISD for many years has likewise had a dismal record of engaging in the
practice of recruitment of students from outside the confines of the DISD to
play sports within DISD schools.
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10. For the purpose of example only, South Oak Cliff High School in DISD
forfeited its 2005 and 2006 basketball titles for having an ineligibly recruited
11. For further example only, Kimball High School in DISD improperly
recruited a star basketball player and with that player won the state
championship in 2011.
12. In 2012, a DISD investigation found a concerted attempt by coaches and
administrators to recruit players from both within and without DISD without
regard to the schools to which those students were properly zoned.
13. The stakes for the DISD sports programs could not have been higher.
Coaches and administrators are professionally scrutinized based upon their
successes on the playing fields and the court. Students are treated as
property good not for the content of their character, but for the success
they can produce in athletic endeavors.
14. Approvals for the transfer of students were made by a committee at DISD
that votes for approval as a matter of course because to vote against a
transfer would be a vote against ones peers and would be an act against
ones own possible self-interest in future committee votes on eligibility.
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This resulted in a policy and practice where anomalies and clear deviations
on UIL and other rules and regulations were routinely disregarded.
15. The Dallas County Juvenile Department and Dallas County (jointly, the
Department) operate facilities for juveniles who are part of the juvenile
justice system and monitor probation for youth participants in the juvenile
justice system. As part of that, they operate the Dallas County Youth
Village, a residential placement facility to which young men are sent by the
juvenile courts in Dallas County for rehabilitation, instruction and training.
The Department also undertakes to train all of its employees and officers,
but has wholly failed to properly train and supervise them.
16. The Department has written policies that state that participants have
restricted access to the outside world. Youth mail is monitored, visits are
restricted to counsel and family members and phone calls are similarly
restricted. However, it has been the long-time practice, and therefore the
actual policy of the Department, to allow DISD personnel to visit with
otherwise incarcerated youth for the purpose of sports recruiting.
FACTS REGARDING TROY CAUSEY, JR.
17. In 2013, Causey entered the custody of the Department and was placed at
the Dallas County Youth Village through April of 2013.
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18. While there and in the custody of the Department, Causey was visited by
staff members of the DISD, including the head coach of the DISD Wilmer-
Hutchins basketball team, John Burley.
19. Burley and DISD had unadulterated and unsupervised access to Causey
within the Department and Causeys private juvenile records in the custody
of the Department.
20. Burley recruited Causey to play basketball in the DISD while he was in
Department custody and obtained private and confidential juvenile records
of Causey not publically accessible.
21. Causey was not a resident within DISD, but was a resident of the Richardson
School District and was zoned to Richardson High School.
22. While within the confines of the Department, Burley and DISD set up a
residence within DISD to which Causey would be released from the custody
of the Department. Before his release from the Department, DISD caused
Causey to be registered to attend Wilmer-Hutchins High School in DISD so
he could play sports there despite his lack of residence.
23. Upon information and belief, Jonathan Tramaine Turner, also was recruited
by DISD staff members from the Department while in Department custody
to play basketball for another DISD team Madison High School.
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24. Both Causey and Turner were placed in the same residence within DISD by
DISD staff members so that they could play basketball at DISD schools.
25. DISD and the Department were consciously indifferent to the risk and
threats of placing unsupervised non-mature student athletes in homes just so
they would be in DISD and therefore eligible to participate in DISD athletics
programs. However, this had been the pattern and policy of DISD for many
26. Upon information and belief, upwards of 13 such DISD recruiting
placements had occurred at properties owned by the same owner of the
residence where Causey and Turner had been placed.
27. Causeys paperwork at DISD was falsified to allow the transfer and was
made without parental approval. This was the custom and the practice
involved in this illegal policy of DISD recruitment.
28. There was a complete lack of training as to policy and a complete lack of
enforcement and oversight at both DISD and the Department.
29. For example, Anita Connally, the director of enforcement of DISDs stated
non-recruitment policies, brought irregularities to the attention of DISD
supervisory personnel but was overruled in favor of the more prevalent
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DISD policy of allowing this illegal and improper recruitment, regardless of
30. In these matters, DISD and the Department acted in concert and coordinated
action. DISD knew and understood full well that access to potential
recruiting targets incarcerated within the Department resulted in juveniles
minors being transferred between homes and schools. Potential athletes
who were outside of parental control and supervision in the Department
were identified by DISD and through intimidation and both positive and
negative influence were cajoled and manipulated into agreeing to play in
DISD schools. These student athletes within the Department (as well as
generally) are immature minors, seek validation and crave approval from
coaches and others in their peer groups and seek opportunity to grow into the
athletes they see on television and in video games. The Department and
DISD coaches have acted to manipulate these young athletes as a concerted
policy and custom with conscious indifference to the welfare of the young
men and women, such as Causey that are the victims. Students who are
subject to the power of intimidation and pressure of recruitment by DISD
and Department personnel as well as the perceived ego-boost and perceived
opportunity of the ability to play for a team or teams that were being
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specially assembled with select players who were tough, seasoned and had
the experience of the juvenile incarceration and probation that provides
unfettered access to these willing young athletes, such as Causey.
31. Causey was placed in the home with Turner.
32. The Department and DISD engaged in a concerted action in all matters
involved with Causey.
33. On March 24, 2014, Turner and Causey got in an argument in the home in
which they had been placed without adequate supervision.
34. Turner physically accosted Causey such that he was on the ground. Turner
then hit and kicked Causey about the head until his skull was crushed.
Causey suffered severe brain damage from the beating and after
extraordinary attempts to save his life, was declared dead on March 24,
35. Following on the death of Causey, Anita Connally, the then athletic
compliance officer of DISD immediately began to investigate the matter of
Causeys recruitment after hearing that the documents presented to her by
other DISD personnel, including head coach John Burley, may have been
falsified. Connally knew that the practice of recruiting at DISD was
endemic. For her efforts in trying to bring the matter of the policies and
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conscious indifference of recruiting at DISD into public view and to cause
them to stop she was terminated from her job at DISD. Connally is fully
aware, and while a DISD official was deeply suspicious and concerned, that
DISD had a policy of an active dismissal of recruiting rules that put student
athletes in jeopardy.
36. Also following on the death of Causey, the DISD top investigator, Jeremy
Libbe, began an investigation into the death of Causey and the DISD
recruiting that had led to the death. Libbes clear conclusion was that it was
the policy of DISD to recruit and to allow improper recruiting and that led
to the death of Causey. Within weeks of the conclusion of Libbes
investigation, Libbe was fired by DISD.
37. DISD and the Department acted in concert with each other in the
incarceration and intimidation of young athletes to isolate them, recruit them
from their incarceration into DISD athletic programs for which they would
have been ineligible and placing them in homes within the DISD district
area without regard to the known risk caused by having these young and
immature students, with (albeit juvenile) violent backgrounds into
inadequately supervised housing to allow them athletic eligibility. The
policy and practice includes the rampant and endemic avoidance and
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falsification of UIL rules. The policy and practice involves the contact and
recruitment of Department incarcerated minors. The policy and practice
involves the providing of private and confidential juvenile records to DISD
coaches involved in recruiting. The policy involves placing these student
athletes in homes together without adequate supervision. The policy
includes the falsification of records. The policy includes ostracizing and
even termination from employ of those who oppose. The policy resulted in
the death of Troy Causey, Jr.
38. DISD and the Department (alone and in concert) had a special relationship
with Causey because of his custodial care in the Department, because of his