Johnston et al v. Humble Independent School District et al, No. 4:2013cv01423 - Document 6 (S.D. Tex. 2013)

Court Description: MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER granting in part and denying in part 5 MOTION to Dismiss . (Signed by Judge Sim Lake) Parties notified. (aboyd)
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I Johnston et al v. Humble Independent School District et al I Doc. 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS HOUSTON DIVISION MISTI JOHNSTON, Individually and as next friend for R.J., a Child, § § § § § § § § § § § § Plaintiff, v. HUMBLE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT and MICHAEL TROST, Defendants. CIVIL ACTION NO. H-13-1423 MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER Plaintiff, Misti Johnston, individually and as next friend for R.J., a child, brings this Independent School District action (HISD) against defendants and Michael Trost.l asserts claims against both defendants under 42 U.S.C. Humble Plaintiff § 1983 for violation of rights protected by the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and for assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress under the common law of the State of Texas. 2 Plaintiff also asserts claims against HISD for negligent hiring, training, and supervision of Trost. 3 Pending before the Court is Defendants Humble Independent School District and Michael Trost's Motion to Dismiss (Docket Entry No.5) . IPlaintiff's Original Complaint and Jury Demand, Docket Entry No.1. 2Id. at 3, 3Id. a t f1 11 ~~ 12 9-11. ¢ Dockets.Justia.com \ A. \ Plaintiff Has Failed to State a Claim Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Defendants move for dismissal of plaintiffls complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12 (b) (6) for failure to state a claim for which relief may be granted. Although defendants filed their 2013 I motion to responded to it. dismiss on June III plaintiff Local Rule 7.3 provides that: has not "Opposed motions will be submitted to the judge 21 days from filing without notice from the clerk and without appearance by counsel. 7.3 (2000 1 Amended by General Order 2009-171 S.D. Tex. R. ff effective 12/1/09). Local Rule 7.4 provides: Failure to respond will be taken as a representation of no opposition. Responses to motions A. B. C. D. Must be filed by the submission day; Must be written; Must include or be accompanied by authority; and Must be accompanied by a separate form order denying the relief sought. S . D. Tex. R. 7.4 court to plaintiff l s takes motion (2000). dismiss Nevertheless I as In accordance with Local Rule 7.3 failure a to respond representation the court will of to the no 1 the defendants I opposition. analyze the merits of plaintiff IS claims under the governing law. 1. Standard of Review A motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b) (6) for failure to state a claim for which relief may be granted tests the formal sufficiency of the pleadings and is "appropriate when a defendant 2 I attacks the complaint 122 S. 2001), Ct. it fails to Ramming v. United States, cognizable claim." (5th Cir. because cert. 2665 state The court must a legally 281 F.3d 158, denied sub nom Cloud v. (2002). I 161 United States, accept the factual allegations of the complaint as true, view them in a light most favorable to the plaintiff, and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Id. When a federal court reviews the sufficiency of a complaint, before the reception of any evidence either by affidavit or admissions, its task is necessarily a limited one. The issue is not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 122 S. Ct. 992, 997 (2002). To avoid dismissal a plaintiff must allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Twombly, 127 standard" S. Ct. requires 1955, "more 1974 than unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." 1937, 1949 (2009). "Where a Bell Atlantic Corp. v. (2007) an This unadorned, Ashcroft v. complaint "plausibility the-defendant- Iqbal, pleads facts 129 S. Ct. that are 'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it 'stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief. ," rd. (quoting Twombly, 127 S. Ct. at 1966) . 3 I 2. I Applicable Law Section 1983 is not a source of substantive rights but is, instead, "a method for Graham v. conferred." vindicating Connor, federal S. 109 Ct. rights 1865, elsewhere 1870 (1989) (quoting Baker v. McCollan, 99 S. Ct. 2689, 2694 & n.3 (1979)). establish a claim under § a 1983 plaintiff must show (1) To the deprivation of a right secured by the United States Constitution or the laws of the United States and (2) that the deprivation was committed by a person or persons acting under color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 108 S. Ct. 2250, 2254-55 (1988) v. Taylor, 101 S. Ct. 1908, 1913 (1981) (citing Parratt (overruled in part on other grounds, Daniels v. Williams, 106 S. Ct. 662 (1986)). inquiry in any § violation which with 109 S. Ct. at 1870 3. suit' 1983 [the is "'The first 'to isolate the precise defendant] is charged.'" Graham, (quoting Baker, 99 S. Ct. at 2692). Analysis Plaintiff's claims that the defendants violated rights guaranteed by the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution are based on allegations that Trost touched R.J. inappropriately and made R.J feel "uncomfortable" and "awkward.,,4 However, plaintiff has neither identified the specific constitutional 4Id. at 2 , rights fi 11 8 she claims ¢ 4 the defendants violated nor I explained why, legally if true, the facts alleged in her complaint state cognizable claims for violations protected rights against either defendant. at 1870 ("The first inquiry in any precise I of constitutionally See Graham, 109 S. Ct. 1983 suit is 'to isolate the § . , violation with which [the defendant] is charged. Thus the court concludes that the § 'U ) . 1983 claims that plaintiff asserts based on rights guaranteed by the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution fail to state a claim for which relief may be granted. ~ Twombly, 127 S. Ct. at 1974 (to avoid dismissal a plaintiff must allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face U Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949 (Twombly's "plausibility ); standard" requires "more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmedme accusation"). Accordingly, Defendants' motion to dismiss is GRANTED as to all claims that plaintiff has asserted against HISD and Trost under federal law, and these claims will be dismissed with prejudice. B. The Court Declines to Exercise Supplemental Ju+isdiction Over Any State Law Claims Plaintiff Has Alleged Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. They have jurisdiction over claims arising from violations of federal law, including the United States Constitution, claims in which diversity of the parties is present, and pendent state law claims over which the court may exercise supplemental jurisdiction! 5 ----------------_ ... - -._----_._----- Plaintiff's I I allegations that the defendants violated rights guaranteed by the united States Constitution provided the court jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1331. § federal question Since the court has concluded that the plaintiff's only federal claims are subject to dismissal, no federal question remains before the court. Although this fact alone does not divest the court of jurisdiction, in Carnegie-Mellon Univ. v. Cohill, 108 S. Ct. 614, 619 n.7 (1988), the Supreme Court has stated that "in the usual case in which all federal-law claims are eliminated before trial, considered under the pendent economy, convenience, the balance of factors be judicial jurisdiction doctrine fairness, to and comity -- will point toward declining to exercise jurisdiction over the remaining state-law claims. state u Moreover, the general rule in this circuit is to dismiss law claims dismissed. when the federal claims they supplement are Parker & Parsley Petroleum Co. v. Dres$er Industries, 972 F.2d 580, 585 (5th Cir. 1992) F.2d 200, 204 (5th Cir. 1989)). (citing Wong v. Stripling, 881 See United Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 86 S. Ct. 1130, 1139 (1966) (ordinarily, when the federal claims are dismissed before trial the pendent dismissed as well) . state claims should be The dismissal of the supplemental state law claims should expressly be without prejudice so that the plaintiff may refile her claims in the appropriate state court. Parkwood Hosp., 180 F.3d 234, 246 (5th Cir. 1999). Bass v. Because the court has concluded that the federal claims asserted in this action 6 are subject to dismissal for failure to state a c aim for which relief may be granted, and because this action is still at an early stage, the court declines to exercise supplementa jurisdiction over any claims that the plaintiff has alleged r state law. Accordingly, ED as to all Defendants' motion to dismiss is claims that plaintiff has asserted against Trost under witho~ state law, but these claims will be dismissed being reasserted in a state court of appropriate C. j~ prejudice to isdiction. Conclusions For the reasons stated above, Defendants School District and Michael Trost's Motion to Hu~ Dismi~s e Independent (Docket Entry No.5) is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part. SIGNED at Houston, Texas, on this 1st day of UNITED Agust, 2013. JUDGE 7 ----i-_ _ _ _ _ __