United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Tallahassee Division
SHERRI L. RENNER, Plaintiff,
THE SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA, and THE FLORIDA BAR, Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
CHARLES A. STAMPELOS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Sherri Renner, initiated this case pro se by filing a
complaint on October 5, 2017, raising claims under the
Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and
due process claims brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
ECF No. 1. The Defendant Supreme Court of Florida filed a
motion to dismiss the complaint. ECF No. 11. Defendant The
Florida Bar filed an answer and motion to dismiss, ECF No.
12, adopting the memorandum of law filed by the Supreme
Court. Ms. Renner has filed opposition to both motions to
dismiss. ECF Nos. 16, 17.
Renner also filed a request for judicial notice, ECF No. 18,
submitting a copy of a motion for rehearing which she filed
in her underlying case in the Supreme Court of Florida. ECF
No. 18-1. She requests that this Court find two facts: (1)
[t]hat the motion was filed on October 5, 2017, the same day
that this action was initiated, and (d) [t]hat rehearing was
the relief requested.” ECF No. 18 at 2.
201 of the Federal Rules of Evidence permits the Court to
“judicially notice a fact that is not subject to
reasonable dispute because . . . it can be accurately and
readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot
reasonably be questioned.” Fed.R.Evid. 201(b)(2). Ms.
Renner has supplied the Court with a copy of her motion. ECF
motion, titled as “Respondent's Motion for
Rehearing, ” is styled for the Supreme Court of
Florida, case number SC17-1093. ECF No. 18-1 at 1. It is,
indeed, a request for rehearing under Rule 9.330(a), and contends
the Florida Supreme Court “overlooked facts or
misapprehended the law as applied to those facts . . .
.” Id. The certificate of service at the end
of the motion reveals that it was “e-filed” on
October 5, 2017, id. at 5, as does the date stamp at
the top of the document. Id. at 1. Ms. Renner has
not advised whether her motion was granted or denied.
Nevertheless, her motion for judicial notice is granted, and
the fact that she filed a motion for rehearing on October 5,
2017, is noted.
of the Complaint
Renner was admitted to The Florida Bar on February 18, 2005.
ECF No. 1 at 3. “On June 9, 2017, Defendant Florida Bar
filed with Defendant Florida Supreme Court a petition for
contempt and order to show cause.” Id. at 4.
The complaint alleges that the Bar prepared the petition with
knowledge “that there was no good faith basis for its
assertion that Plaintiff's license should be
revoked.” Id. Further, the “Court
essentially ‘rubber stamped' the Bar's petition
and order the Plaintiff's license revoked without due
process, without just cause, and in furtherance of its goal
of purging Bar membership rolls of people deemed unfit to
practice.” Id. Ms. Renner contends that the
Court's applicable rules are “devoid of
procedure” which permits the Bar to “maintain a
‘civil rights free zone' in which they could, with
impunity, purge Bar membership rolls of people deemed unfit
to practice.” Id. at 5.
complaint acknowledges that Ms. Renner has “a long-past
history of mental health treatment, ” and asserts she
“is a qualified person with a disability within the
meaning of the Rehabilitation and Americans with Disabilities
Acts.” Id. She alleges that Defendants have
excluded her “from participation in, and denied her the
benefits of its programs or activities, because of her status
as a qualified person with a disability.” Id.
Further, Ms. Renner asserts that the Court has intentionally
been deliberately indifferent “to the rights of people
who are licensed to practice law in the State of Florida but
who qualify for protections under the Rehabilitation and
Americans with Disabilities Acts.” Id. She
alleges the Defendants have subjected her to discrimination,
which has caused her “severe harm.” Id.
complaint alleges a violation of the Rehabilitation Act
against the Court (count 1) and the Bar (count 2), a
violation of the ADA against the Court (count 3) and the Bar
(count 4), and due process violations against both the Court
(count 5) and the Bar (count 6). ECF No. 1 at 6. As relief,
Ms. Renner seeks one million dollars. Id. at 6-7.
clarify that the complaint arises from an order issued by the
Supreme Court “on September 20, 2017, revoking
Plaintiff's conditional admission to the Bar.” ECF
No. 11 at 1. Ms. Renner's “revocation was initiated
by a petition for contempt filed by the Bar.”
Id. at 2. The Supreme Court issued an order to show
cause, Ms. Renner filed a response, and after review, the
Court entered “a unanimous decision” revoking her
“conditional admission because it found her to be in
contempt of its order granting her conditional
admission.” Id. The motion to dismiss argues
that dismissal is appropriate because the complaint is barred
by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine and sovereign immunity bars
the due process claims brought under § 1983. ECF No. 11
at 2-9. Finally, it is argued that the complaint fails to
state a cause of action, and no “highly personal”
or “stigmatizing information” was made public.
Id. at 9-13.
of Review The issue on whether a complaint should be
dismissed pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failing to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted is whether the
plaintiff has alleged enough plausible facts to support the
claim stated. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (retiring
the standard from Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 78
S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957)). “To survive a motion to
dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009)
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570, 127 S.Ct.
1955). “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.” Iqbal, 129
S.Ct. at 1949 (citing Twombly, 550 at 556); see
also Speaker v. U.S. Dep't of Health, 623 F.3d 1371,
1380 (11th Cir. 2010). “The plausibility
standard” is not the same as a “probability
requirement, ” and “asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677 (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 556). A complaint that “pleads facts that
are ‘merely consistent with' a defendant's
liability, ” falls “short of the line between
possibility and plausibility.” Iqbal, 129556
U.S. at 677 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
requirements of Rule 8 do “not unlock the doors of
discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than
conclusions.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79, 129
S.Ct. at 1949. A complaint does not need detailed factual
allegations to survive a motion to dismiss, but Rule 8
“demands more than an unadorned,
the-defendant-unlawfully- harmed-me accusation.” 556
U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. “A pleading that offers
‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555). Thus, “conclusory allegations,
unwarranted factual deductions or legal conclusions
masquerading as facts will not prevent dismissal.”
Davila v. Delta Air Lines, Inc., 326 F.3d 1183, 1185
(11th Cir. 2003).