United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
Father Doe 246, on behalf of his minor child, Jane Doe 246, Plaintiff,
Berkeley County School District and James Spencer, Defendants.
PATRICK MICHAEL DUFFY United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on Defendant James Spencer’s
Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) (ECF No. 6). For the reasons set forth herein, the
Court grants Spencer’s motion and dismisses Plaintiff
Father Doe 246’s claim against Spencer.
daughter, Jane Doe 246 (“Doe 246”), attended
Marrington Middle School in Goose Creek, South Carolina from
2012 to 2014. During that time, Spencer was
in February 2013, Spencer received complaints that WW, one of
Doe 246’s male classmates, was sexually assaulting
female classmates and engaging in other inappropriate sexual
behavior. Doe 246, however, was not one of the students who
WW had abused.
did little, if anything, in response. He did not properly
investigate the complaints, he did not remove WW from the
school or separate WW from female students, and he did not
impose additional supervisory controls on WW that would have
prevented further abuse. Instead, Spencer allowed WW to have
“continued access to [Doe 246]” and other female
classmates for the remainder of the 2012-2013 school year.
(Compl., ECF No. 1, at ¶ 59). Nevertheless, WW did not
harm Doe 246 during the remainder of that school year.
summer of 2013, Spencer created the classroom assignments for
the 2013-2014 school year. Spencer assigned Doe 246 and WW to
the same classroom and, like the previous spring, declined to
increase WW’s supervision. That fall, WW sexually
assaulted Doe 246.
has sued Spencer and the Berkeley County School District,
contending that Spencer’s “actions and inactions
in the fall of 2013 created for [Doe 246] the danger of
being assaulted by WW.” (Compl., ECF No. 1, at ¶
21.) Father has asserted claims against the District for
violation of Title IX, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et
seq., and for gross negligence under state law. He has
also asserted a claim against Spencer for violation of 42
U.S.C. § 1983.
moved to dismiss on April 11, 2016. Father filed a response
in opposition on April 27. Spencer filed a reply on May 9.
This matter is now ripe for consideration.
Court has subject matter jurisdiction over Father’s
federal-law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. The
Court exercises jurisdiction over Father’s related
state-law claim because it is so related to the federal-law
claims that they form part of the same case and controversy.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a).
motion to dismiss pursuant Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state
a claim “challenges the legal sufficiency of a
complaint.” Francis v. Giacomelli, 588 F.3d
186, 192 (4th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted). To be legally
sufficient, a pleading 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).
courts use a “two-pronged approach” to assess a
complaint’s legal sufficiency. Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009). First, the court
identifies all of the complaint’s factual allegations,
assumes they are true, and construes all of their reasonable
inferences in favor of the plaintiff. E.g., E.I.
du Pont de Nemours & Co. v. Kolon Indus., 637 F.3d
435, 440 (4th Cir. 2011); see also Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678 (“[T]he tenet that a court must accept as true
all of the allegations contained in a complaint is
inapplicable to legal conclusions.”). Then, it
determines whether those presumed-true allegations
“contain sufficient factual matter . . . to
‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.’” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). “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. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The complaint must
demonstrate that the plaintiff’s right to relief is
more than a mere possibility, ...