United States District Court, W.D. Texas, Austin Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES
HIGHTOWER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
THE HONORABLE LEE YEAKEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT
this Court are Defendant's Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss filed on April 5, 2019
(Dkt. No. 11); Plaintiff's Response filed on May 9, 2019
(Dkt. No. 16); and Defendant's Reply filed on May 16,
2019 (Dkt. No. 17). On July 18, 2019, the District Court
referred the above motion to the undersigned Magistrate Judge
for Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72, and Rule 1 of
Appendix C of the Local Rules of the United States District
Court for the Western District of Texas (“Local
time of the events giving rise to this lawsuit, Plaintiff
Jane Doe (“Plaintiff”) was four years old and was
enrolled as a prekindergarten student at Old Town Elementary
School (“School”) in Williamson County, Texas,
which is operated by the Round Rock Independent School
District (“RRISD”). Plaintiff's Complaint
alleges that on September 11, 2017, Plaintiff was returning
from recess when she was “forgotten by her teacher and
locked out of the school building, completely alone”
(“Incident”). Dkt. No. 1 at ¶ 18. Plaintiff
contends that she was locked outside of the building
“for an undetermined amount of time” and was
“terrified and in tears.” Id. at
¶¶ 19-20. Plaintiff was eventually let back in the
building by the School's librarian. Id. at
¶¶ 20, 33. Plaintiff's alleges that the School
failed to “immediately notify the parents” of the
Incident. Id. at ¶ 22.
lawsuit further complains that although the School's
security camera footage shows that Plaintiff was left outside
and unattended, “[t]here is no footage of Plaintiff
Jane getting up or leaving the Video scene” and likens
the missing footage to “a scene out of a conspiracy
movie.” Id. at ¶ 38. Plaintiff complains
that “RRISD did not place the safety of their young
students above all other priorities, ” and alleges:
When reviewing the entirety of the foregoing actions of
Defendant RRISD, it is clear that the only driving force
behind Defendant RRISD's acts and omissions, leading up
to, and after, Plaintiff Jane being Forgotten and Locked out
was; to work in concert and conspire to keep the incident
quiet, to cover the incident up, and to hope that Plaintiff
Jane's parents would merely go away.
Id. at ¶¶ 39-40.
father, on behalf of Plaintiff, filed a grievance with RRISD,
pursuant to the District's “Policy for Student and
Parent Complaints, ” complaining about the Incident.
Dkt. No. 11 at p. 2. RRIDS denied the grievance and Plaintiff
appealed the decision to RRISD's Board of Trustees.
Id. The Board dismissed the appeal as untimely.
Id. Plaintiff appealed to the Commissioner of
Education, but her appeal was also dismissed. Plaintiff did
not appeal the Commissioner's ruling denying her appeal.
on the alleged facts above, Plaintiff, individually and on
behalf of all other similarly situated plaintiffs, filed this
lawsuit against RRISD under Title IX of the Education
Amendments of 1972 and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 of the Civil
Rights Act. Plaintiff alleges that she “has been
deprived of educational opportunities and benefits by
Defendant RRISD in violation of IX.” Dkt. No. 1 at
¶ 63. Plaintiff further alleges that RRISD's actions
in this case violated her rights under the United States
Constitution in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Id. at ¶ 72. Plaintiff also seeks to certify a
class of “similarly situated students” under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure who have also suffered
similar actions with regard to lack of school safety.
Although Plaintiff does not allege that she was physically
harmed, she alleges that she suffered emotional distress and
psychological damage as a result of the Incident. Plaintiff
seeks $5 million in damages, attorneys' fees and costs.
April 5, 2019, RRISD filed the instant Motion to Dismiss,
arguing that Plaintiff's claims should be dismissed under
Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a cause of action under
Title IX or 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows a party to move to
dismiss an action for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted. In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to
dismiss for failure to state a claim, the court
“accepts all well-pleaded facts as true, viewing them
in the light most favorable to the [nonmovant].” In
re Katrina Canal Breaches Litig., 495 F.3d 191, 205 (5th
Cir. 2007) (internal quotation marks omitted). The Supreme
Court has explained that a complaint must contain sufficient
factual matter “to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A claim has
facial plausibility when the [nonmovant] pleads factual
content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the [movant] is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678.
“While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion
to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a
plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his
entitle[ment] to relief requires more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555 (internal quotations and citations omitted).
“Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to
relief above the speculative level.” Id. The
court's review 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. Lone Star Fund V (U.S.),
L.P. v. Barclays Bank PLC, 594 F.3d 383, 387 (5th Cir.