United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
OPINION DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS, ECF NO. 10
F. LEESON, JR. United States District Judge
2016, Plaintiff Nika Raet Bey, the mother of two children
formerly enrolled in the East Penn School District,
proceeding pro se, initiated this civil rights action under
the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Bey's claims arise out of a series of
alleged incidents involving inadequate individual education
programs (IEPs) for her children, threats made by other
students against her children, and school officials'
failure to appropriately investigate these threats.
Defendants have collectively moved to dismiss Bey's
Complaint. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants'
Motion is granted and Bey's Complaint is dismissed
Complaint alleges the following facts.
March 2015 through December 2015, Bey's son and daughter,
both of whom are autistic, were enrolled in Wescosville
Elementary School, within the East Penn School District.
Compl. ¶ III, C, ECF Nos. 1, 8. During this time, the
School District failed to “provide [an] adequate I.E.P.
under accurate evaluations” for Bey's two children.
Id. In addition, Bey's children were subjected
to threats from students “of a different race.”
Id. Tara Desiderio, the Principal of Wescosville
Elementary School, “failed to conduct an appropriate .
. . investigation” to determine the identities of the
students who threatened Bey's children. Id. Bey
“complained to the [p]rincipal, tried to meet with the
children's teachers, ” and ultimately withdrew her
children from the District. Id. Thereafter, the
School District and Principal Desiderio “press[ed]
charges against [Bey]” for removing her children from
the school. Id. Bey seeks an award of “$400,
000.00 in damages” as well as an injunction
“assuring homeless families and families with
disabilities that fraud against them [and] false allegations
against them will not be tolerated.” Id.
Standard of Review
Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure permits the court to dismiss a complaint for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction. A Rule 12(b)(1)
challenge may either be made in the form of a facial
challenge or a factual challenge. Warren v. Matthey,
No. 15-1919, 2016 WL 215232, at *2 (E.D. Pa. Jan. 19, 2016).
Where, as here, an attack is facial, the court must consider
only “the allegations of the complaint and documents
referenced therein and attached thereto, in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff.” Id. (quoting
Gould Elecs. Inc. v. United States, 220 F.3d 169,
176 (3d Cir. 2000)).
Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim
defendant bears the burden of demonstrating that a plaintiff
has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Hedges v. United States, 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir.
2005) (citing Kehr Packages, Inc. v. Fidelcor, Inc.,
926 F.2d 1406, 1409 (3d Cir. 1991)). This Court must
“accept all factual allegations as true, construe the
complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and
determine whether, under any reasonable reading of the
complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief.”
See Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224,
233 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Pinker v. Roche Holdings
Ltd., 292 F.3d 361, 374 n.7 (3d Cir. 2002)) (internal
quotation marks omitted).
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007),
the Supreme Court recognized that “a plaintiff's
obligation to provide the ‘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.” 550 U.S. at 555
(citing Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286
(1986)). In Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009),
the Court subsequently laid out a two-part approach to
reviewing a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6).
the Court observed, “the tenet that a court must accept
as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is
inapplicable to legal conclusions.” Id. at
678. Thus, “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a
cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do
not suffice” to survive the motion; “instead,
‘a complaint must allege facts suggestive of [the
proscribed] conduct.'” Id.;
Phillips, 515 F.3d at 233 (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 563 n.8). While Rule 8, which requires only
“a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief, ” was “a
notable and generous departure from the hyper-technical,
code-pleading regime of a prior era, . . . it does not unlock
the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing
more than conclusions.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
678-79 (“Rule 8 . . . demands more than an unadorned,
the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555)); see Fed. R.
Civ. P. 8(a)(2). For “without some factual allegation
in the complaint, a claimant cannot satisfy the requirement
that he or she provide not only ‘fair notice' but
also the ‘grounds' on which the claim rests.”
Phillips, 515 F.3d 224, 232 (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 n.3).
the Court emphasized, “only a complaint that states a
plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss.
Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for
relief . . . [is] a context-specific task that requires the
reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common
sense.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Only if
“the ‘[f]actual allegations . . . raise a right
to relief above the speculative level'” has the
plaintiff stated a plausible claim. Phillips, 515
F.3d at 234 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). This
is because Rule 8(a)(2) “requires not merely a short
and plain statement, but instead mandates a statement
‘showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.'” See id., 515 F.3d at 234
(quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). If “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)(2)). “Detailed factual
allegations” are not required, id. at 678
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555), but a claim must
be “nudged . . . across the line from conceivable to
plausible.” Id. at 680 (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability
requirement, '” but there must be “more than
a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.” Id. at 678 (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “Where a complaint
pleads facts that are ‘merely consistent with' a
defendant's liability, it ‘stops short of the line