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N'Jai v. Floyd

March 5, 2008

JACQUELYN B. N'JAI, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MR. HOMER C. FLOYD, ET AL, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Nora Barry Fischer

MEMORANDUM ORDER AS TO DEFENDANT WILKINSBURG SCHOOL DISTRICT

I. Introduction

Upon consideration of Defendant Wilkinsburg School District's (hereinafter "Defendant") Motion to Dismiss (Docket No [31]), Brief in Support (Docket No. [32]), and Plaintiff's Responses thereto (Docket No. [38] and [39], on this 5th day of March, 2008, this Court HEREBY GRANTS in part and DENIES in part said Motion to Dismiss. The Court further ORDERS that Plaintiff may file an amended complaint on or before April 3, 2008, if she chooses to pursue her claim.

II. Standard

Under Bell Atlantic v. Twombly,---U.S.---, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (2007), a complaint must be dismissed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) if the Plaintiff fails to allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 1974. Recently, the Third Circuit identified "two new concepts" within the Twombly decision: (1) a plaintiff's obligation under Rule 8 "to provide '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," but Rule 8 requires "that the 'plain statement' possess enough heft to 'sho[w] that the pleader is entitled to relief,' " in other words, "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level," Phillips v. County of Allegheny, --- F.3d ----, 2008 WL 305025, at *4 (3d Cir. Feb. 5, 2008) (citing Twombly, 127 S.Ct. at 1964-65, 1966, & n.3). Under this standard, a complaint will be deemed to have alleged sufficient facts if it adequately puts the plaintiff on notice of the essential elements of defendant's claims. Nami v. Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 65 (3d Cir. 1996). However, a court will not accept bald assertions, unwarranted inferences, or sweeping legal conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations. See In re Rockefeller Ctr. Props., Inc. Sec. Litig., 311 F.3d 198, 215 (3d Cir.2002); Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 n. 8 (3d Cir.1997). The defendant bears the burden to demonstrate that the complaint fails to state a claim. Gould Electronics, Inc. v. U.S., 220 F.3d 169, 178 (3d Cir. 2000). Finally, Courts are to construe complaints so as to do substantial justice, keeping in mind that pro se complaints in particular should be construed liberally. Alston v. Parker, 363 F.3d 229 (3d Cir. 2004).

III. Analysis

The Court construes Plaintiff's complaint to assert the following claims against Defendant:

(1) at Counts 1, 2, and 3, violation of her civil rights under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988*fn1 ;

(2) at Count 4, violation of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. ("Title VII"), violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §12101, et seq. ("ADA"), and violation of the Pennsylvania Whistleblower Act, 43 P.A. § 1421, et seq. ("Pennsylvania Whistleblower Act"); (3) at Count 5, violation of the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552 ("Freedom of Information Act"), and violation of the Right to Know Act, 65 P.S. § 66.1, et seq. The Court will address each of these claims, in turn.

A. Plaintiff's Section 1983 Claims

Defendant first moves to dismiss Plaintiff's section 1983 claims arising on or before November 6, 2005 because they are barred by the applicable statute of limitations.(Docket No. 32 at p. 3). The Court finds this argument persuasive. Under section 1983, the applicable statute of limitations is two years. See Ferderbar v. County of Allegheny, No. 05-1518, 2006 U.S. WL 909478,at *3 (W.D. Pa. Apr. 7, 2006)( citing Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261 (1985)). In this matter, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, attaching her complaint, on November 6, 2007. "While a complaint accompanied by a motion to proceed in forma pauperis is not deemed 'filed' until leave to proceed in forma pauperis is granted, the filing of the motion has been held to toll applicable statutes of limitations." Adams v. Heckler, 624 F. Supp. 63 (E.D. Pa. 1985). Therefore, applying the applicable two year statute of limitations, Plaintiff's section 1983 claims arising on or before November 6, 2005 are time-barred.

Next, Defendant moves to dismiss Plaintiff's remaining section 1983 claims "because she fails to present allegations concerning the relevant conduct, time, place of the alleged infringement as well as the specific identity of those responsible." (Docket No. 32 at p. 3). Construing Plaintiff's complaint liberally, the Court finds that Plaintiff's complaint lacks clarity and requires amendment.

Accordingly, the Court GRANTS Defendant's Motion to Dismiss with prejudice as to any and all of Plaintiff's section 1983 claims arisingon or before November 6, 2005. In addition, the Court GRANTS Defendant's Motion to Dismiss as to Plaintiff's remaining section 1983 claims without prejudice and ORDERS that Plaintiff may file an amended complaint in compliance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, in the event she chooses to continue pursuing her claims against said Defendant.

B. Plaintiff's Section 1983 and 1985 Conspiracy Claims

The Court and Defendant also construe Plaintiff's complaint to allege claims for conspiracy under sections1983 and 1985. (Docket No. 3 at §§ 14, 38, 39, 56, 57).

Similar to this Court's analysis at A, the Court dismisses with prejudice all conspiracy claims under sections 1983 and 1985 occurring on or before November 6, 2005 because said claims are untimely. See Ferderbar v. County of Allegheny, No 05-1518, 2006 WL 909478, at *3 ...


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