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G.S., A Minor, By J.A., Her Parent and Natural Guardian v. the School District of the City of Monessen

April 17, 2012

G.S., A MINOR, BY J.A., HER PARENT AND NATURAL GUARDIAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF THE CITY OF MONESSEN, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Cathy Bissoon

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

I.MEMORANDUM

Pending before the Court is Defendants The School District of the City of Monessen, Dr. Cynthia Chelen, and Randall Marino's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 3). For the reasons stated herein, the Court will grant in part and deny in part Defendants' motion.

BACKGROUND

A.Factual Background

Plaintiff G.S. was a minor and high school student at Monessen Middle-High School at the time of the events alleged in the complaint. Compl. 1 (Doc. 1). Defendant The City of Monessen School District ("Monessen School District") is the legal entity that administers Monessen Middle-High School. Id. at 2. Defendant Cynthia Chelen was the Superintendent of Defendant Monessen School District. Id. Defendant Randall Marino was the Principal of either Defendant Monessen School District or Monessen Middle-High School. See id. at 2, 7.*fn1

Defendant Ashley Herre-Bagwell was a teacher at Monessen Middle-High School. Id. at 3.

Plaintiff alleges that during the 2009-2010 school year, Defendant Herre-Bagwell "engaged in inappropriate conduct with the minor plaintiff, including but not limited to contact of a sexual nature, actively seeking an intimate relationship with the minor plaintiff by words and gestures directed to the minor plaintiff, inappropriately touching the minor plaintiff in a sexual manner and engaging in explicit conversations of a sexual nature with the Plaintiff . . . ." Id. at 4. Plaintiff alleges Defendant Herre-Bagwell had previously "engaged in similar acts and conduct directed toward other students at the Monessen Middle-High School." Id. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendants Monessen School District, Chelen, and Marino "had notice of inappropriate conduct by defendant Ashley Herre Bagwell, prior to the events involving the minor plaintiff herein and despite this knowledge, had a policy, practice, custom and course of conduct wherein defendants failed to take disciplinary action to prevent further instances resulting in the injury to the minor plaintiff." Id.

B.Procedural Background

Plaintiff seeks declarations that Defendants have violated Plaintiff's rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, violated Plaintiff's rights under Title IX, and violated Plaintiff's rights under the Constitution of Pennsylvania Article 1, § 1. Id. at 8-9.*fn2 Plaintiff also seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages, and reasonable attorney's fees and costs. Id. Defendants Monessen School District, Chelen, and Marino moved to dismiss all claims against them.*fn3

ANALYSIS

In deciding a motion to dismiss a complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the Court must 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. Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 228 (3d Cir. 2008). To survive a motion to dismiss, the factual allegations in a complaint must "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The plaintiff must plead "enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary element[s]" of the plaintiff's cause of action. Great W. Mining & Mineral Co. v. Fox Rothschild LLP, 615 F.3d 159, 177 (3d Cir. 2010) (quoting Phillips, 515 F.3d at 234) (internal quotation marks omitted).

As an initial matter, the Court notes that Plaintiff's Complaint is quite sloppy. The paragraphs in the Complaint are numbered haphazardly. References to Defendants are inconsistent in the Complaint. The caption names "The School District of the City of Monessen," but the body of the Complaint refers to "City of Monessen School District." Defendant Herre-Bagwell is referred to as both "Herre-Bagwell" and "Herre Bagwell." Defendant Marino is identified on page 2 as "the principal of the City of Monessen School District," but is identified on page 7 as "the Principal of Monessen Middle-High School."

Plaintiff's claim under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 apparently is for a violation of rights under the Fourteenth Amendment, but Plaintiff's demand for ...


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