United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
before the Court is a motion to dismiss  pursuant to Rule
12(b)(1) and (b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
filed by Defendants Greenwood Public School District, Deidre
Mayes, Randy Clark, and Samantha Milton. Upon due
consideration and for the reasons stated below, the Court
finds that the motion to dismiss  should be granted.
Factual and Procedural Background
6, 2016, Plaintiff Montrell Greene ("Plaintiff), former
superintendent of Greenwood Public School District
("GPSD"), filed this action against Defendants
GPSD, as well as the following members of the Greenwood
Public School Board: Deidre Mayes, Randy Clark, and Samantha
Milton, in both their individual and official
asserts the following 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims:
deprivation of liberty and property interests in written
employment contract with Defendants in violation of the Due
Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and possibly civil
conspiracy. Plaintiff further asserts the following state-law
claims: defamation of character; deprivation of property
interest in employment contract with Defendants and without
due process of law pursuant to Article 3, § 14 of the
Mississippi Constitution; breach of contract; bad-faith
breach of contract; and possibly civil conspiracy. Plaintiff
seeks a wide range of remedies including compensatory
damages, punitive damages, and injunctive relief, including
immediate reinstatement of his former position as
superintendent of GPSD.
alleges that Defendants violated the Fourteenth Amendment to
the United States Constitution and the Mississippi
Constitution by intentionally and maliciously depriving him
of his property and liberty interest in his employment
contract by not allowing a due process hearing prior to
Plaintiffs termination as superintendent of GPSD. Plaintiff
further alleges deprivation of his liberty interest due to
allegedly terminating him in a manner that defamed his
of answering the complaint, Defendants have filed a motion to
dismiss  under Rule 12(b)(1) and (b)(6) challenging the
viability of all claims asserted. Plaintiff has filed a
response in opposition, and Defendants have filed a reply.
The motion is now ripe for review.
Analysis and Discussion
a Rule 12(b)(1) motion is filed in conjunction with a Rule
12(b)(6) motion, . . . courts must consider the
jurisdictional challenge first." McCasland v. City
of Castroville, Tex., 478 F.App'x 860, 860 (5th Cir.
2012) (per curiam) (citing Wolcott v. Sebelius, 635
F.3d 757, 762 (5th Cir. 2011); Moran v. Kingdom of Saudi
Arabia, 27 F.3d 169, 172 (5th Cir. 1994)). This "
'prevents a court without jurisdiction from prematurely
dismissing a case with prejudice.' " Id. at
860-61 (quoting Ramming v. United States, 281 F.3d
158, 161 (5th Cir. 2001) (per curiam)); accord Hitt v.
City of Pasadena, Tex., 561 F.2d 606, 608 (5th Cir.
1977) (per curiam).
the Court first addresses the Rule 12(b)(1) issues and then
addresses the Rule 12(b)(6) issues.
12(b)(1) motion allows a party to challenge the Court's
subject matter jurisdiction. " '[A] factual attack
under Rule 12(b)(1) may occur at any stage of the
proceedings, and plaintiff bears the burden of proof that
jurisdiction does in fact exist' " Arena v.
Graybar Elec. Co., 669 F.3d 214, 223 (5th Cir. 2012)
(quoting Menchaca v. Chrysler Credit. Corp., 613
F.2d 507, 511 (5th Cir. 1980) (citations omitted)).
Fifth Circuit has instructed:
A case is properly dismissed for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction when the court lacks the statutory or
constitutional power to adjudicate the case. In considering a
challenge to subject matter jurisdiction, the district court
is free to weigh the evidence and resolve factual disputes in
order to satisfy itself that it has the power to hear the
case. Thus, under Rule 12(b)(1), the district court can
resolve disputed issues of fact to the extent necessary to
v. Reg'I Transit Auth., 756 F.3d 340, 347 (5th Cir.
2014) (quotation marks and citation omitted). In ruling on a
Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss, the Court can consider:
"(1) the complaint alone; (2) the complaint supplemented
by undisputed facts evidenced in the record; or (3) the
complaint supplemented by undisputed facts plus the
court's resolution of disputed facts." Tsolmon
v. United States, 841 F.3d 378, 382 (5th Cir. 2016)
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
to Rule 12(b)(1), Defendants argue that the Court lacks
jurisdiction over the case subjudice, because
Plaintiff failed to comply with Mississippi Code §
37-9-113 and file a petition for appeal and bond in chancery
court within twenty days after receipt of his termination
letter.The Court addresses the foregoing arguments
Mississippi Code § 37-9-113 and Subject-Matter
Defendants argue under Rule 12(b)(1) that the Court lacks
subject-matter jurisdiction of the case sub judice
due to Plaintiffs failure to comply with Mississippi Code
§ 37-9-113 and seek judicial review in chancery court.
argues in response that Defendants are collaterally estopped
from raising this argument in this Court, as the issue was
fully litigated in the proceeding in the Chancery Court of
Leflore County and denied by the Chancellor.
argue in reply that the issue of whether a superintendent
must appeal the board's decision pursuant to Mississippi
Code § 37-9-113 was not decided by the Chancery Court of
Leflore County. Specifically, Defendants maintain that
Plaintiff cannot show that collateral estoppel applies and
bars their motion to dismiss on this ground because the issue
was neither determined by that court nor was essential to
that court's judgment. Defendants argue that the case
before the chancery court was limited to a complaint for
discovery seeking to determine reasons for Plaintiffs
termination from his employment as superintendent and did not
constitute a challenge to the board's decision or an
attempt to seek reversal of that decision. Defendants
maintain that the Chancery Court of Leflore County
intentionally did not determine whether Plaintiff was
required to perfect his appeal under Mississippi Code §
37-9-113 but instead granted Plaintiffs complaint for
discovery under its equitable powers. This Court finds
Defendants' arguments in this respect to be well taken.
Code § 37-9-113 provides in pertinent part:
employee aggrieved by a final decision of the school board is
entitled to judicial review thereof, as hereinafter provided.
appeal may be taken by such employee to the chancery court of
the judicial district in which the school district is
located, by filing a petition with the clerk of that court
and executing and filing bond payable to the school board
with sufficient sureties, in the penalty of not less than Two
Hundred Dollars ($200.00), conditioned upon the payment of