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Ryburn v. Giddings Independent School District

United States District Court, W.D. Texas, Austin Division

November 29, 2017

JESSICA RYBURN, as next friend of L.W., Plaintiff,



         Before the Court is Defendant's Third Amended Motion to Dismiss. (Dkt. 27). Having considered the parties' submissions, the record, and the applicable law, the Court agrees that dismissal of Plaintiff's claims is proper under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Jessica Ryburn (“Plaintiff”) brings this action on behalf of her minor son L.W., who was previously a student at a middle school within Giddings Independent School District (“Defendant”). The claims here arise from an injury L.W. sustained while engaged in an exercise called “mat drills” at the direction of his coach.[1]

         The present motion to dismiss comes after several rounds of amended pleadings. Plaintiff's original complaint contained only a single claim under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. (“Title IX”). (Dkt. 1, ¶ 61). Defendant filed a motion to dismiss, (Dkt. 2), and Plaintiff responded by filing an amended complaint, (Dkt. 5). Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint kept the Title IX claim and added a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“Section 1983”) based on an alleged violation of L.W.'s rights under the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. (Dkt. 5, ¶¶ 97-104). Defendant filed another motion to dismiss, (Dkt. 6), and Plaintiff again amended her complaint, (Dkt. 11).

         Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint retained L.W.'s Title IX and Section 1983 claims, but modified the latter by adding several new constitutional violations: L.W.'s constitutional rights to bodily integrity, medical care, and education. (Id. ¶¶ 96-121). Defendant moved to dismiss a third time, (Dkt. 14), and in an order issued on August 31, 2017 (“August 31 Order”), the Court dismissed all of Plaintiff's claims without prejudice. (Dkt. 24). In that order, the Court also granted Plaintiff leave to amend her complaint a third time. (Id. at 15). Plaintiff accepted the Court's invitation and filed her Third Amended Complaint, (Dkt. 25), which is the subject of the present motion to dismiss.

         There is little in Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint that differs from the second. Plaintiff added some new factual allegations, but the vast majority of Plaintiff's allegations are simply recited verbatim from the Second Amended Complaint. Plaintiff also recharacterized some of the constitutional violations underlying her Section 1983 claim and added a handful of new facts to her Title IX claim. Finally, Plaintiff added claims under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12131, et seq. (“ADA”), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 701 et seq. (“Section 504”).


         Defendant argues that Plaintiff's claims should be dismissed pursuant to Federal Rules of Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). (Dkt. 27, at 1). Defendant argues that Rule 12(b)(1) requires dismissal of Plaintiff's Title IX, ADA, and Section 504 claims. (Id. ¶ 7). Defendant argues that because Plaintiff failed to exhaust her ADA and Section 504 claims, the Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over those claims. (Id. ¶ 9 (“Because alleged ‘exhaustion' is not explained for the vague ADA and [Section] 504 claims, those likewise do not confer jurisdiction.”)). Defendant also states that the Court lacks jurisdiction over Plaintiff's Title IX claim because “Plaintiff has not stated a recognized cause of action under Title IX.” (Id.). Although Plaintiff does not address Defendant's 12(b)(1) arguments, the Court is nonetheless not persuaded to follow them.[2] Accordingly, the Court will consider whether dismissal of Plaintiff's claims is appropriate under Rule 12(b)(6). For the reasons discussed below, the Court holds that all of Plaintiff's claims should be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

         A. Standard of Review

         Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), a court may dismiss a complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). “To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a complaint ‘does not need detailed factual allegations, ' but must provide the [plaintiff's] grounds for entitlement to relief-including factual allegations that when assumed to be true ‘raise a right to relief above the speculative level.'” Cuvillier v. Taylor, 503 F.3d 397, 401 (5th Cir. 2007) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). That is, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).

         “[T]he tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. “[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not ‘show[n]'--that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Id. at 679 (quotation marks and citation omitted).

         B. Plaintiff's Title IX Claim

         In the Court's August 31 Order, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's Title IX claim because “Plaintiff's allegation that L.W. was required to engage in exercises that female students were not simply does not suffice to state a plausible claim of actionable discrimination under Title IX.” (Dkt. 24, at 6). Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint introduces a handful of ...

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