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Green v. Chester Upland School District

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

January 30, 2015

ALPHONZO GREEN, a minor c/o ALPHONZO KING, Plaintiff
v.
CHESTER UPLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT, et al., Defendants

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For ALPHONZO GREEN, C/O ALPHONZO KING (MINOR), Plaintiff: DONALD BURNS, JR., LEAD ATTORNEY, PHILADELPHIA, PA; MU'MIN F. ISLAM, LEAD ATTORNEY, MFI LAW GROUP PLLC, PHILADELPHIA, PA.

For CHESTER UPLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT, Defendant: JOHN F. KENNEDY, LEAD ATTORNEY, BODELL BOVE LLC, PHILADELPHIA, PA.

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MEMORANDUM OPINION

NITZA I. QUIÑ ONES ALEJANDRO, J.

INTRODUCTION

Before this Court is a motion to dismiss filed by Defendant Chester Upland School District (" Defendant" ), pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (Rule) 12(b)(6), which seeks the dismissal of civil rights claims asserted under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (" § 1983" ), against the school district by Alphonzo Green (" Plaintiff" ), [ECF 12], and the response in opposition. [ECF 15]. The issues presented in the motion have been fully briefed, and for the reasons stated herein, the motion to dismiss is granted.[1]

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendant on June 16, 2014, [ECF 1], an amended complaint on August 1, 2014, [ECF 6], and a second amended complaint on August 28, 2014,[2] [ECF 11], seeking monetary damages for an alleged violation of his civil rights under § 1983. Specifically, Plaintiff asserts that Defendant failed to protect him from being assaulted by an individual who trespassed on school property. He further contends that the assault occurred because of Defendant's decision to not issue identification cards to the student body; a decision deprived him of rights provided by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.

On September 16, 2014, Defendant filed the instant motion to dismiss. When ruling on this motion, this Court must accept, as true, the relevant factual allegations in the second amended complaint. These allegations can be summarized as follows:

During the 2012-2013 school year, Plaintiff was a ninth grade student at Chester Upland School, which is operated by Defendant. (Sec. Amend. Comp. at ¶ ¶ 3, 6). Sometime during that school year, Defendant's Superintendent and/or Principal decided not to issue identification cards to the school's students. ( Id. at ¶ 7). According to Plaintiff, as a result of this decision, trespassers were able to enter the school, unauthorized, because school faculty and staff members were unable to verify whether the trespassers were or were not students. ( Id. at ¶ 10). Defendant was aware of an increase of instances in which unauthorized trespassers entered the school. ( Id. at ¶ 11).
On May 3, 2013, a trespasser posing as a student bypassed security and entered the school property, ( Id. at ¶ 14), and assaulted various students, including

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Plaintiff, in honor of " National Fight Day." ( Id. at ¶ ¶ 15-17). Plaintiff's attack was recorded and uploaded to the internet. ( Id. at ¶ 17). As a result of the attack, Plaintiff suffered multiple injuries and, subsequently, transferred from the school. ( Id. at ¶ 19).

LEGAL STANDARD

When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, a court " must accept all of the complaint's well-pleaded facts as true, but may disregard any legal conclusions." Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009). The court must determine " whether the facts alleged in the complaint are sufficient to show that the plaintiff has a 'plausible claim for relief.'" Id. at 211 ( quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009)). The complaint must do more than merely allege the plaintiff's entitlement to relief; it must " show such an entitlement with its facts." Id. (citations omitted). " [W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct the complaint has alleged -- but it has not 'show[n]' -- 'that the pleader is entitled to relief'" Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)) (alterations in original). " 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. at 678 (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). " Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements do not suffice." Id. To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), " a plaintiff must allege facts sufficient to 'nudge [his] claims across the line from conceivable to plausible.'" Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).

DISCUSSION

In the second amended complaint, Plaintiff essentially claims that Defendant's action in not issuing student identification cards violated his due process and equal protection rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, and his right to be free from unlawful seizures under ...


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