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Doe v. Humble ISD

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division

July 22, 2019

HUMBLE ISD, Defendant.


          Andrew S. Hanen United States District Judge.

         Before the Court is Defendant Humble Independent School District's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs Amended Complaint (Doc. No. 11). Plaintiff Jon Doe has not responded, and the time in which to do so has passed. Having considered the motion, complaint, and applicable law, the Court hereby GRANTS Defendant's Motion to Dismiss.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff Jon Humble ISD-PC Doe (hereinafter "Plaintiff or "Jon Doe") was a seventh grader at Timberwood Middle School in the Humble Independent School District ("Humble ISD"). (Doc. No. 9 at 3). According to Plaintiffs First Amended Complaint, on February 16, 2018, Plaintiff was allegedly bullied and assaulted by another student during their physical education class. (Id. at 4). Plaintiff claims that none of the educators at the school intervened in the assault and that, rather than being treated as the victim, Plaintiff was subsequently questioned about his role in instigating the assault. (Id.). The administration at Timberwood ultimately determined that Plaintiff had made a terroristic threat. (Id. at 4-5). Defendant alleges that this threat involved a statement about gun violence. (Doc. No. 11 at 1).

         A few days later, Humble ISD held an evidentiary hearing to determine the consequences of Jon Doe's actions. During the hearing, Humble ISD determined that the evidence was sufficient to warrant sending Jon Doe to an alternative campus for a period of around three months. (Doc. No. 9 at 6). Plaintiff and his parents pursued "every available remedy" to "clear Jon's name" and prevent the disciplinary action from going into effect or tainting his record. (Doc. No. 9 at 6). Plaintiff states that Humble ISD offered no right to appeal the decision. (Id. at 7). Upon completion of his time at the alternative campus, Humble ISD issued a "clearance letter," which stated that Jon Doe was allowed to return to his campus as a "student in good standing should he wish to do so." (Id. at 8). Plaintiff instead transferred to a different school district. (Id.).

         The alleged terroristic threat also resulted in criminal charges against the Plaintiff. (Id. at 8). Plaintiff requested that the school district, in light of the "clearance letter," abstain from testifying against him in the juvenile criminal proceedings. (Id. at 9). According to Plaintiff, Humble ISD continues to participate in the juvenile proceedings and certain employees have testified against Jon Doe. (Id.).

         Plaintiff also claims that on February 16, 2018 at another Humble ISD school, an unrelated terroristic threat was made. (Id. at 9). Plaintiff provides no other detail or explanation as to why or how this is related to the case at hand, but states that "policies, procedures, and protocols of Defendant Humble-ISD" were not followed as a part of a "cover up." (Id. at 9-10).

         Plaintiff filed this suit, alleging that Humble ISD has violated his rights under Title IX (20 U.S.C. § 1681), Section 1983 (42 U.S.C. § 1983), and the Texas Constitution. (Doc. No. 9 at 3). Jon Doe's allegations relating to the Texas Constitution include violations of procedural due process, substantive due process, and equal protection requirements. (Id. at 18). Plaintiff seeks only actual, consequential, and exemplary damages (and does not seek injunctive relief). (Doc. No. 9 at 20). Defendant filed the pending motion, seeking to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6).

         II. Legal Standards

         A court must dismiss a suit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1) where it lacks the statutory or constitutional power to adjudicate the case. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1); see also Home Builders Ass'n of Miss., Inc. v. City of Madison, 143 F.3d 1006, 1010 (5th Cir. 1998). Where "a defendant makes a 'factual attack' upon the court's subject matter jurisdiction over the lawsuit [and] the defendant submits affidavits, testimony, or other evidentiary materials," the plaintiff is also "required to submit facts through some evidentiary method." Paterson v. Weinberger, 644 F.2d 521, 523 (5th Cir. 1981) (delineating the difference between a "facial attack" and a "factual attack" to subject matter jurisdiction in a motion to dismiss). In a "factual attack," the plaintiff also has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the court has subject matter jurisdiction. Id. The party asserting jurisdiction bears the burden of overcoming the presumption that the cause falls outside the court's limited jurisdiction. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994).

         A defendant may also file a motion to dismiss a complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for "failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). To defeat a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), 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). "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." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 663 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). "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. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). "Where a complaint pleads facts that are 'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it 'stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).

         In reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court must accept all well-pleaded facts in the complaint as true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Sonnier v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 509 F.3d 673, 675 (5th Cir. 2007). The court is not bound to accept factual assumptions or legal conclusions as true, and only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79. When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, the court assumes their veracity and then determines whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief. Id. The court may also consider documents that a defendant attaches to a motion to dismiss, if the documents are "referred to in the plaintiffs complaint and are central to [the] claim." Collins v. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, 224 F.3d 496, 500 (5th Cir. 2000); see also Johnson v. Wells Fargo Bank, NA, 999 F.Supp.2d 919, 926 (N.D. Tex. 2014).

         III. Analysis

         A. ...

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