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Doe v. North Allegheny School District

September 28, 2009

JANE DOE, A MINOR, BY JOHN DOE, AND SUSAN DOE, HER PARENTS AND NATURAL GUARDIANS, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
NORTH ALLEGHENY SCHOOL DISTRICT, DR. PATRICIA P. GREEN, IN HER INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY AND AS SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, DR. LAWRENCE A. BUTTERINI, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY AND AS PRINCIPAL, WALTER E. SIEMINSKI, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY AND AS ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL, WILLIAM H. YOUNG, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY AND AS ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL, AND BILL STOOPS, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY AND AS HEAD OF SECURITY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: David Stewart Cercone United States District Judge

Electronic Filing

MEMORANDUM OPINION

I. INTRODUCTION

Jane Doe, a minor, by John Doe and Susan Doe, her parents and natural guardians ("Plaintiffs"), filed a four (4) count complaint against the North Allegheny School District (the "District"), Dr. Patricia P. Green ("Dr. Green"), Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Lawrence A. Butterini ("Dr. Butterini"), Principal, Walter E. Sieminski ("Sieminski"), Assistant Principal, William H, Young ("Young"), Assistant Principal, and Bill Stoops ("Stoops"), Head of Security (the "Individual Defendants")(collectively with the School District "Defendants"). Plaintiffs allege the following: (1) a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of Jane Doe's rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States; (2) a claim under Article 1, section 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution; (3) a claim that the School District and the Individual Defendants violated Jane Doe's rights under 20 U.S.C. § 1681, Title IX; and (4) a claim that the School District violated Jane Doe's rights under Title IX. Defendants have filed a motion to dismiss, Plaintiffs have responded and the motion is now before the Court.

II. STATEMENT OF THE CASE

Jane Doe met James Roe ("Roe") during her ninth grade year while attending North Allegheny Intermediate High School.Complaint ¶ 23. Doe continued her acquaintance with Roe in subsequent years while they attended North Allegheny High School. Complaint ¶¶ 23 and 25. Plaintiffs contend that, prior to attending North Allegheny High School but while a student in the School District, Roe committed two (2) sexual assaults. Complaint ¶ 24.

On April 28, 2006, during sixth period of the school day, Roe forced Jane Doe to perform oral sex and forced her to engage in sexual intercourse in a parking lot at North Allegheny High School. Complaint ¶ 25. Plaintiffs allege that the School District and its officials and employees acted with deliberate indifference toward Jane Doe's safety and bodily integrity by permitting students to roam school property during the school day with minimal or no supervision and by allowing Roe to remain in the student population despite his alleged involvement in prior sexual assaults. Complaint ¶ 22.

III. LEGAL STANDARD FOR MOTION TO DISMISS

In deciding a motion under Rule12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court is required to accept as true all factual allegations in the complaint and draw all inferences from the facts alleged in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Worldcom, Inc. v. Graphnet, Inc., 343 F.3d 651, 653 (3d Cir. 2003). It had long been part of the Rule 12(b)(6) standard that a complaint may not be dismissed "unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." See Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41,45-46 (1957). Recently, however, the United States Supreme Court disavowed the "no set of facts" language as part of the Rule 12(b)(6) standard, instructing: "[t]his phrase is best forgotten as an incomplete, negative gloss on an accepted pleading standard: once a claim has been stated adequately, it may be supported by showing any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint." Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1969 167 L.Ed. 2d 929 (2007). Therefore, a plaintiff must make a factual showing of his entitlement to relief by alleging sufficient facts that, when taken as true, suggest the required elements of a particular legal theory. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. at 1965; Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 233 (3d Cir. 2008).

The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit summarized the Twombly formulation of the pleading standard as follows: "'stating . . . a claim requires a complaint with enough factual matter (taken as true) to suggest' the required element. This 'does not impose a probability requirement at the pleading stage,' but instead 'simply calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of' the necessary element." Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d at 234 (internal citations omitted). In so deciding, a court usually looks "only to the facts alleged in the complaint and its attachments without reference to other parts of the record," see Jordan v. Fox, Rothschild, O'Brien & Frankel, 20 F.3d 1250, 1261 (3d Cir. 1994), but it also may consider "matters of public record . . . and undisputedly authentic documents attached to a motion to dismiss." Delaware Nation v. Pennsylvania, 446 F.3d 410, 413 n.2 (3d Cir. 2006).

Further, The Supreme Court reaffirmed that FED. R CIV. P. 8 "'requires only a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,' in order to 'give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests,'" and that this standard does not require "detailed factual allegations." Twombly, 127 S.Ct. at 1964. Rule 8 requires a showing, rather than a "blanket assertion, of entitlement to relief." Id. at 1965 n.3. The factual allegations of the complaint must be enough to "raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id. at 1965 and n.3.

IV. DISCUSSION

A. Jane Doe's Section 1983 Claim

Defendants argue that: (1) Jane Doe's § 1983 claim against the Individual Defendants are subsumed by the Title IX claim; and (2) Plaintiffs have failed to state a § 1983 claim against the Individual Defendants. The Court ...


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