United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
STEPHANIE SANCHEZ and DAVID SANCHEZ, as natural parents and guardians of J.S., a minor, Plaintiffs,
GREGORY K. ADKINS, Ed. D., as Superintendent of the School District of Lee County, DAVID LAROSA, in his official capacity as Principal of Fort Myers Senior High School, Lee County, Florida, and SCOTT GUTTERY, individually and in his capacity as an employee of the School District of Lee County, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
E. STEELE SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on defendants Gregory K. Atkins
and David LaRosa's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. #13) filed on
December 21, 2017. Plaintiffs filed a Response in Opposition
(Doc. 17) on January 16, 2018. For the reasons set forth
below, the Motion is granted with leave to amend.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a Complaint must
contain a “short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). This obligation “requires more
than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action will not do.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)
(citation omitted). To survive dismissal, the factual
allegations must be “plausible” and “must
be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.” Id. See also Edwards v. Prime
Inc., 602 F.3d 1276, 1291 (11th Cir. 2010). This
requires “more than an unadorned,
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court must
accept all factual allegations in a complaint as true and
take them in the light most favorable to plaintiff,
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89 (2007), but
“[l]egal conclusions without adequate factual support
are entitled to no assumption of truth.” Mamani v.
Berzain, 654 F.3d 1148, 1153 (11th Cir. 2011) (citations
omitted). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a
cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do
not suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. “Factual
allegations that are merely consistent with a defendant's
liability fall short of being facially plausible.”
Chaparro v. Carnival Corp., 693 F.3d 1333, 1337
(11th Cir. 2012) (internal citations omitted). Thus, the
Court engages in a two-step approach: “When there are
well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their
veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise
to an entitlement to relief.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
November 27, 2017, Stephanie and David Sanchez, as parents of
J.S., a minor, filed a nine-count Amended Complaint against
Gregory K. Adkins, as Superintendent of Lee County School
District; David LaRosa, as principal of Fort Myers High
School; and Scott Guttery, a teacher and basketball coach at
Fort Myers High School. (Doc. #3.) Plaintiffs allege state
law negligence claims and claims for deprivation of
J.S.'s due process rights.
Amended Complaint alleges that on May 4, 2017, Guttery was
supervising a basketball scrimmage in the gymnasium at the
high school, and was on the opposite team of J.S. (Doc. #3,
¶ 15-16.) During the course of the scrimmage, J.S.
started to drive towards the basket when Guttery fouled him,
causing J.S. to fall to the floor and hit his head.
(Id., ¶ 18.) J.S. suffered a concussion as a
result. (Id., ¶¶ 19-20.) Adkins and LaRosa
move to dismiss the due process and state law claims brought
Due Process Claims
assert that Guttery's attack on J.S. at the basketball
scrimmage was a form of corporal punishment, prior to which
J.S. was not afforded due process under the Fourth and
Fourteenth Amendments. (Doc. #3, ¶¶ 54-56, 70-72.)
“Section 1983 creates a private cause of action for
deprivations of federal rights by persons acting under color
of state law.” Laster v. City of Tampa Police
Dept., 575 F. App'x 869, 872 (11th Cir. 2014)
(citing 42 U.S.C. § 1983). “Persons” include
individuals and municipalities and other local-government
units. Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S.
658, 690-91 (1978). “[T]he Due Process Clause was
intended to prevent government officials from abusing their
power, or employing it as an instrument of oppression.”
Cty. of Sacramento v. Lewis, 523 U.S. 833, 846
(1998) (internal quotations and citations omitted).
the application of physical force to punish a student for
school-related misconduct may constitute corporal punishment
that could trigger due process protections, Neal ex rel.
Neal v. Fulton Cty. Bd. of Educ., 229 F.3d 1069, 1073
(11th Cir. 2000), here, plaintiffs do not plausibly allege
that Guttery's foul in a pick-up basketball game
constitutes corporal punishment. And even if they did
plausibly allege as much, it is not plausible that any sort
of due process may be afforded in such a circumstance given
the nature of a basketball scrimmage such as the one here.
Therefore, plaintiffs' due process claims (Counts I, II,
III, and IV) fail.
Court need not address the issues raised in defendants'
motion to dismiss as to the remaining counts. The remaining
possible claims in the Amended Complaint are all state law
claims. Even assuming these are properly pled, pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3), the Court would exercise its
discretion and decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction
over the state claims. Raney v. Allstate Ins. Co.,
370 F.3d 1086, 1088-89 (11th Cir. 2004) (encouraging district
courts to dismiss state claims where all claims which
provided original jurisdiction have been dismissed.)
a party generally should be given at least one opportunity to
amend before the court dismisses a complaint with prejudice,
Bryan v. Dupree,252 F.3d 1161, 1163 (11th Cir.
2001), the Court will provide plaintiffs with a final
opportunity to file an amended complaint setting forth
claims. The Court ...