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Copyright Blog

New Filings in Elementary School Teacher Case

Teacher, School Board, and Elementary Principal Association Continue to Trade Arguments and Motions

Over the past few years, we have reported several times on the case of Woodson v. Atlantic City Board of Education (most recently in August of 2021). This long-running case has involved
Linda Woodson ("Woodson"), an elementary school teacher, and Woodson's copyright suit against defendants Principal James Knox ("Knox"), the Atlantic City Board of Education (the "Board"), and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (the "Association").

The suit is based on Knox allegedly appropriating and publishing a report (the "Report") that Woodson prepared in order to enter their elementary school in a contest. So far, salient questions in the case have included whether or not the Report was prepared as a work for hire within the scope of Woodson's employment and whether Woodson's filing of a complaint was timely under the statute of limitations. After an initial round of filings by both sides and with the leave of the court, Woodson submitted an amended complaint, hoping to address these questions, but they have continued to animate the case.

In January of 2022, after Woodson's attorney withdrew, Woodson elected to continue with the litigation, representing herself as a pro se plaintiff. Since that time, Woodson, the Association, and the Board have all filed motions for summary judgment as well as an improbable number of pages of additional statements of fact, exhibits, and briefs in opposition to one another's motions. The Board's and Association's most recent arguments have centered on the statute of limitations, a lack of evidence of damages, and questions about whether Woodson knew about and approved Knox's use of the Report.

It remains to be seen whether Woodson's tenacity will provide her with any sort of victory in this dispute. Pending other developments or a ruling by the court on one of the motions to dismiss, the case is not over yet.