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Blackledge v. Vicksburg-Warren School District

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division

October 17, 2017

EULA BLACKLEDGE, on behalf of J.B. PLAINTIFF
v.
VICKSBURG-WARREN SCHOOL DISTRICT; and JOHN DOES 1-10 DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          CARLTON W. REEVES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Defendant Vicksburg-Warren School District's Partial Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint. Docket No. 17. Plaintiff filed a response, Docket No. 21, to which Defendant filed a rebuttal, Docket No. 23. After considering the allegations, arguments, and applicable law, the Court grants Defendant's Motion.

         I. Factual and Procedural History

         In August 2015, J.B. started school at Vicksburg Junior High School. Docket No. 16 at 3. Within the first month of the school year, J.B. was allegedly “harassed, teased, bullied, and assaulted as a direct response to his learning disability [Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder].” Id. at 5.

         A year later, Eula Blackledge filed this suit on behalf of her son, alleging that the District “targeted and subjected J.B. to severe pervasive bullying and harassment on account of his learning disability” in violation of his equal protection and due process rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Docket No. 1 at 1. He also asserted a state law claim of negligence. Id.

         The District moved to dismiss all claims. Docket No. 6. This Court denied the Motion and granted Plaintiff leave to address several deficiencies in his Complaint: “whether (1) the child in question is alive; (2) what elements plaintiff would have to show to support a claimed violation of equal protection in the context of student-to-student harassment; (3) whether a claim has been brought pursuant to the ADA; and (4) whether plaintiff's claim of negligence is brought pursuant to the [Mississippi Tort Claims Act].” Docket No. 14 at 1.

         In May 2015, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint, clarifying that (1) the child is still alive; (3) claims have been brought pursuant to the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA[1]; and (4) the negligence claim is brought pursuant to the MTCA. Docket No. 16. But as discussed below, Plaintiff failed to follow this Court's second directive to provide an applicable equal protection standard.

         The District now requests that the Court dismiss all federal claims with prejudice and dismiss all state claims without prejudice for their refiling in state court. Docket No. 16 at 2.

         II. Legal Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) authorizes dismissal of an action that fails “to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).

         When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court accepts all factual allegations as true and makes all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The plaintiff's complaint “must contain a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Id. at 677-78 (quotation marks and citation omitted). The plaintiff's claims need not include “detailed factual allegations, ” but the complaint must contain “more than an unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Id. at 678 (quotation marks and citation omitted). The plaintiff must also plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Hale v. King, 642 F.3d 492, 499 (5th Cir. 2011) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678).

         Since Iqbal, the Fifth Circuit has clarified that the Supreme Court's “emphasis on the plausibility of a complaint's allegations does not give district courts license to look behind those allegations and independently assess the likelihood that the plaintiff will be able to prove them at trial.” Harold H. Huggins Realty, Inc. v. FNC, Inc., 634 F.3d 787, 803 n.4 (5th Cir. 2011). The plausibility standard calls only “for enough fact to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary claims or elements.” Flagg v. Stryker Corp. 647 Fed.Appx. 314, 316 (5th Cir. 2016) (quotation marks and citation omitted).

         III. Discussion

         A. ...


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