The opinion of the court was delivered by: BY THE COURT; EDWARD N. CAHN
This case arises out of a series of events which transpired during a wrestling meet at Dieruff High School, in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on February 2, 1991. Michael Fenstermaker ["Michael"] was a wrestler for the visiting team, which was from Salisbury High School. Defendant Edward Nesfedder ["the coach"] was Salisbury's wrestling coach. In the course of his bout, Michael injured his knee. During the stoppage following Michael's injury, Michael's mother and guardian, Pamela Fenstermaker ["the plaintiff"], who was in attendance at the meet, informed the coach that Michael was not permitted to continue wrestling because Michael would probably sustain further, and more severe, injuries to his knee. Despite this directive from the plaintiff, the coach sent Michael back to finish the bout. Michael's knee was, in fact, injured further, and correcting the injuries has required three surgical operations.
The plaintiff, acting in both her individual capacity and in her capacity as the guardian for Michael, filed suit against the coach and the Salisbury School District on June 22, 1992. The suit, brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleged that the coach had violated Michael's constitutional rights by sending him back into the bout, and that the Salisbury School District had failed to provide the coach with adequate training. See generally City of Canton, Ohio v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 388 (1989) ("We hold today that the inadequacy of [a municipal actor's employee's] training may serve as the basis for § 1983 liability only where the failure to train amounts to deliberate indifference to the rights of persons with whom the [employee] comes into contact.") (footnote omitted); Stoneking v. Bradford Area School District, 882 F.2d 720, 725 (3d Cir. 1989), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 1044 (1990) ("Nothing in DeShaney [v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services, 489 U.S. 189 (1989)] suggests that state officials may escape liability arising from their policies maintained in deliberate indifference to actions taken by their subordinates."); Turley v. School District of Kansas City, Mo., 713 F. Supp. 331, 335 (W.D. Mo. 1989) ("plaintiffs could recover under their failure to supervise and monitor claims if they can show that the failure amounted to deliberate indifference by the school district to its pupils. The mere fact that the monitoring or supervision was 'negligently administered' will not be enough to prove a section 1983 violation.").
The defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) on August 6, 1992. On August 18, 1992, the plaintiff filed a response to the 12(b)(6) Motion, along with an amended complaint.
The amended complaint did not include any claims against the Salisbury School District. The coach is therefore the only defendant remaining in this case. Since the claims asserted against the coach in the amended complaint are not materially different from those asserted against him in the original (the gravamen of both is that, by sending Michael back into the bout, the coach violated Michael's constitutional rights), the court will proceed as if the defendant had moved to dismiss the amended complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6).
Since the plaintiff, on the facts presented, cannot demonstrate that the coach's actions violated Michael's constitutional rights, the court will grant the defendant's Motion, and dismiss the plaintiff's case.
I. STANDARDS FOR DISMISSAL FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM PURSUANT TO FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6)
When ruling on a 12(b)(6) Motion, a court
II. Necessary Elements of a § 1983 Claim
In order to state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege, in essence, that a state actor caused a civil rights violation, and that the violation was not the result of mere negligence on the state actor's part. See Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 330-31 (1986); Jane Doe A v. Special School District of St. Louis County, 901 F.2d 642, 646 (8th Cir. 1990); D.T. by M.T. v. Independant School District No. 16, 894 F.2d 1176, 1193 (10th Cir.), cert. denied, U.S. , 111 S. Ct. 213 (1990); Metzger by and through Metzger v. Osbeck, 841 F.2d 518, 520 n.2 (3d Cir. 1988); Williams v. City of Boston, 784 F.2d 430, 433-34 (1st Cir. 1986); Grubbs v. Aldine Independent School District, 709 F. Supp. 127, 129 (S.D. Tex. 1989); Thelma D. v. Board of Education of the City of St. Louis, 669 F. Supp. 947, 949 (E.D. Mo. 1987). A high school wrestling coach is unquestionably a state actor when engaged in coaching a school wrestling team at a school sponsored wrestling meet. Whether Michael's constitutional rights were violated will be discussed infra in Section III of this Opinion. Finally, the plaintiff has alleged that, in instructing Michael to resume the bout, the coach acted knowingly, intentionally, purposefully and recklessly. See Amended Complaint at P 13. The plaintiff infers that the coach acted intentionally since she told the coach that Michael was not to continue with the bout because doing so would result in further injuries to his knee, and the coach nonetheless instructed Michael to resume wrestling. Such allegations are sufficient to create a triable issue of fact as to whether the coach acted with the requisite mens rea to violate § 1983.
III. Constitutional Rights Implicated in a High School Wrestling Meet
Since § 1983 does not create substantive rights, but simply allows plaintiffs to recover damages for violations of rights secured by other federal laws or by the federal constitution, see Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 278 (1985); D.R. v. Middle Bucks Area Vocational Technical School, 972 F.2d 1364, , 1992 Westlaw 191115 at *3 (3d Cir. 1992); Barfield v. Brierton, 883 F.2d 923, 934 (11th Cir. 1989); Schuster v. Thraen, 532 F. Supp. 673, 676 (D.V.I. 1982), the plaintiff must allege that the coach's conduct violated Michael's constitutional rights in order to state a claim.
The court will ...