United States District Court, W.D. Texas, San Antonio Division
ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS
RODRIGUEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
date, the Court considered Defendants' Motion to Dismiss
for Lack of Jurisdiction (docket no. 5), Plaintiff's
Response (docket no. 8), and Defendants' Reply (docket
no. 11). For the foregoing reasons, Defendants' Motion is
DENIED, but the Court ORDERS Plaintiff to file an Amended
Complaint within seven (7) days in which Plaintiff identifies
herself pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 10.
case arises from Plaintiff Jane Doe's
(“Plaintiff”) tenure as a student at Defendants
University of the Incarnate Word and the University of the
Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine (collectively,
“Defendants” or “UIW”). Plaintiff
suffers from Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
(“ADHD”) and a nerve condition in her hand.
Plaintiff enrolled at UIW in the fall of 2017, and later that
semester was in a car accident which exacerbated that hand
injury to the extent that Plaintiff was diagnosed with a
temporary physical limitation. She sought accommodations from
UIW who, she alleges, refused to provide them. Through the
following semester, Plaintiff was required to retake various
examinations she alleges she would have otherwise passed if
accommodations had been provided. And the following summer,
UIW informed Plaintiff she would need to re-enroll as a
first-year student. She appealed that decision, but her
appeal was denied.
first-year student again in 2018, Plaintiff alleges that UIW
continued to refuse her accommodations but that UIW granted
accommodations to white students. Later that fall, Plaintiff
claims she lost faith such accommodations would ever be
granted. She also felt that certain representations UIW made
as to its curriculum would never be honored. She claims that
instead of a “meaningful academic curriculum led by
qualified and dedicated professors, ” she experienced a
lack of formal education typical of a medical school, an
inexperienced dean, and a faculty who showed little concern
for students' learning.
thereafter, Plaintiff voluntarily left UIW. She claims that
UIW continues to harm her in that it refuses to provide
credit for classes Plaintiff passed as a UIW student and that
UIW continues to report her as having failed out of UIW's
program. Plaintiff alleges that administrators at UIW have
worked in concert to harm her because of her disabilities and
her Hispanic ethnicity.
seeking leave of the Court, Plaintiff filed suit anonymously,
bringing claims for: (1) violation of Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act, (2) fraud in the inducement, (3) breach
of contract, (4) intentional infliction of emotional
distress, (5) tortious interference, (6) conspiracy, and (7)
breach of implied warranties.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
moved to dismiss the claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1).
At all points, the burden is on the plaintiff to prove that
subject-matter jurisdiction exists for his or her claims.
Ramming v. United States, 281 F.3d 158, 161 (5th
Cir. 2001). A court should grant such a motion “only if
it appears certain that the plaintiff cannot prove any set of
facts in support of his claim that would entitle plaintiff to
relief.” Id. (citing Home Builders
Ass'n of Miss., Inc. v. City of Madison, Miss., 143
F.3d 1006, 1010 (5th Cir. 1998)).
case the Plaintiff has alleged a federal question, which
provides this Court subject matter jurisdiction.
Notwithstanding the federal question, Defendants argue that
no subject matter jurisdiction exists because Plaintiff has
brought this suit seeking anonymity. The Court finds
unpersuasive Defendants' attempts to link its anonymity
argument with its jurisdictional motion. If the Court here
decided anonymity were proper, it would be peculiar for that
very anonymity to also divest this Court of subject matter
jurisdiction. Indeed, Defendants cite no authority from this
Circuit-nor can the Court identify any-holding that a
plaintiff's improper anonymity is grounds for a dismissal
due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
only authority Defendants cite to justify such a dismissal
does not, in fact, support Defendants' position.
See docket no. 5 at 2 (citing Doe v. Bush,
SA-04-CA-1186, 2005 WL 2708754, at *5 (W.D. Tex. Aug. 17,
2005)). In that case, the Magistrate Judge first acknowledged
it had jurisdiction under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, but then
confusingly recommended dismissal on subject matter
jurisdiction grounds because the court's deadline for
amending the plaintiff's complaint had passed and because
“[p]laintiff has already been afforded sufficient time
to consider whether she will identify herself” given
the plaintiff's motion to proceed anonymously and request
for reconsideration. Id. And crucially, the district
court thereafter decided it “will not dismiss
plaintiff's claims on the ground that the Court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction over plaintiff's claims on
the grounds they have been brought anonymously.”
Sims v. Bush, SA-04-CA-1186, 2005 WL 3337501, at *3
(W.D. Tex. Sept. 6, 2005).
the Court DENIES Defendants' Motion to Dismiss for lack
of subject matter jurisdiction because this Court does indeed
have jurisdiction, specifically under 28 U.S.C. § 1331
(Plaintiff's Rehabilitation Act claim) and § 1367
(related state-law claims). Plaintiff's anonymity is a
distinct-and important-question, to which the Court now