United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
Z.B. b/n/f IQBAL BHOMBAL and MARIE BHOMBAL, Plaintiffs,
IRVING INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. BOYLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Defendant Irving Independent School
District's (IISD)Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Third
Amended Complaint. Doc. 49. For the reasons stated below, the
Court GRANTS IISD's Motion (Doc. 49) and
DISMISSES with prejudice all of
Plaintiffs' claims against IISD.
case involves a discrimination suit brought by parents on
behalf of their Muslim-Indian-American son and the school
district in which he used to attend. Plaintiffs Iqbal and
Marie Bhombal now bring their Third Amended Complaint on
behalf of their minor child, Z.B. (collectively the
“Bhombals”), against IISD under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 for violations of the Fourteenth Amendment and Title VI
for race-based discrimination and retaliation. Doc. 48, Third
Am. Compl. (TAC), ¶ 1; see also Doc.
60, Pls.' Resp., 1.
and his family are Muslim. Doc. 48, TAC, ¶ 12.
Z.B.'s father was born in India; his mother is Caucasian
and was born in the United States. Id. In essence,
the Bhombals' claims are based on alleged bullying,
harassment, and retaliation that Z.B. and his father
experienced at school because they are Muslim and Indian.
Id. ¶ 13. More specifically, the Bhombals
allege that from 2012-2016 (Kindergarten to Second Grade)
school officials questioned the Bhombals on Z.B.'s
religious dietary restrictions, repeatedly called Z.B.'s
father to the school for small infractions, prohibited Z.B.
from using the restroom on one occasion, made discriminatory
remarks relating to the 9/11 terrorism attacks, intimated
that Z.B.'s father sexually and/or physically assaulted
Z.B., and reported Z.B.'s father to Child Protective
Services. See Id. ¶¶ 31-50. The Bhombals
allege that “Z.B. had a comparatively smooth
[third-grade] year.” Id. ¶ 51.
March 2017, during Z.B.'s fourth-grade year, several
students reported to school officials that Z.B. had a bomb in
his lunch box and called him “Tally, ” shorthand
for the Taliban.Id. ¶¶ 53-54. School
officials scheduled a meeting to discuss the incident with
Z.B. and his father resulting in Z.B. receiving a one-day
suspension. Id. ¶¶ 54-56. At the meeting,
Z.B.'s father allegedly told school officials that Z.B.
was being harassed due to his religion, race, and ethnic
background. Id. ¶ 55. After this initial
meeting, Z.B.'s father told schools officials that they
should refrain from questioning Z.B. unless one of his
parents were present. Id. ¶ 56. However, the
Bhombals allege that school officials continued to question
Z.B. about the incident without his parents present.
Id. ¶ 57. Z.B.'s father then had another
meeting with school officials where he became “very
upset” and “vehemently complain[ed]” about
his son being questioned without him or his wife present.
Id. ¶ 58. Later that afternoon, school security
arrived at the Bhombals' home and issued the father a
trespass warning that prevented him from going to the school.
Id. ¶¶ 58-60. In May 2017, Z.B. was
involved in two physical altercations with other students.
Id. ¶¶ 63-66. And finally, during
Z.B.'s fifth-grade year, his parents removed Z.B. from
IISD schools. Id. ¶ 69.
Bhombal originally filed suit against IISD and
former-defendant and principal Lindsay Sanders in September
2017, both Defendants filed separate Motions to Dismiss under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Docs.
10, 11. The Court issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order
granting both motions in full, dismissing some claims with
prejudice, but granting the Bhombals a month to file an
amended complaint repleading their (1) Section 1983 claim for
violations of the Fourteenth Amendment and (2) a Title VI
claim on Z.B.'s behalf against IISD for race-based
discrimination. Doc. 22, Mem. Op. & Order, 18. The Court
then granted the Bhombals several extensions of time,
totaling roughly six months, in which to retain new counsel
and file their now-operative Third Amended Complaint. This
Complaint contains the two claims; however, Plaintiffs no
longer bring suit against Sanders. See Doc. 48, TAC.
then filed its current Motion to Dismiss arguing that the
Bhombals' Third Amended Complaint (1) fails to cure the
pleading deficiencies the Court noted in its previous Order,
(2) is replete with conclusory allegations based on beliefs
and intimations as opposed to well-pleaded facts of
intentional discrimination or retaliation, and (3) otherwise
fails to state a Section 1983 claim because the Bhombals fail
to allege that a policy or custom of IISD's Board of
Trustees caused the alleged depravation of Z.B.'s
constitutional rights. Doc. 49, IISD's Mot. to Dismiss,
1. The Bhombals filed their Response (Doc. 60) and IISD its
Reply (Doc. 63). Thus, IISD's Motion is ripe for review
and the Court now turns to determining the sufficiency of the
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a complaint must
contain “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Rule
12(b)(6) authorizes a court to dismiss a plaintiff's
complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.” In considering a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion to dismiss, “[t]he court accepts all
well-pleaded facts as true, viewing them in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff.” In re Katrina Canal
Breaches Litig., 495 F.3d 191, 205 (5th Cir. 2007).
“The court's review [under 12(b)(6)] is limited to
the complaint, any documents attached to the complaint, and
any documents attached to the motion to dismiss that are
central to the claim and referenced by the complaint.”
Ironshore Europe DAC v. Schiff Hardin,
L.L.P., 912 F.3d 759, 763 (5th Cir. 2019)
(quoting Lone Star Fund V (U.S.), L.P. v. Barclays Bank
PLC, 594 F.3d 383, 387 (5th Cir. 2010) (citation
survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must 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). “Threadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
“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.” Id. “The
plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability
requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.”
Id. When well-pleaded facts fail to achieve this
plausibility standard, “the complaint has alleged-but
it has not shown-that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Id. at 679 (cleaned up).
moves to dismiss all of the Bhombals' claims under Rule
12(b)(6). Liberally construing the Bhombals' Third
Amended Complaint, the Bhombals appear to bring two
categories of claims: one under Title VI arguing that IISD
engaged in race/national-origin-based discrimination and
retaliation in addition to turning a blind eye to
student-on-student harassment; and another under Section 1983
arguing that IISD violated the Fourteenth Amendment. In
analyzing the sufficiency of each of the Bhombals'
remaining claims, the Court will discuss the pleading
deficiencies and applicable law the Court noted in its
previous Memorandum Opinion and ...