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Jones v. Avon Local School District Board of Education

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

February 22, 2017

Monique Jones, individually and on behalf of her minor son, C.H., Plaintiff,
v.
Avon Local School District Board of Education, et al. Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER

          PATRICIA A. GAUGHAN JUDGE

         Introduction

         This matter is before the Court upon Defendants Kimberly Fuller and Psych & Psych's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint. For the following reasons, the motion is GRANTED.

         Facts

         Plaintiff Monique Jones, individually and on behalf of her minor son, C.H., filed her original Complaint against defendants Avon Local School District Board of Education, Michael Laub (Superintendent), Jason Call (Principal of Avon Heritage South Elementary School), Loretta Oley (Teacher), and Lynn Maslinski (Teacher) in the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas. A First Amended Complaint was filed adding defendant Kimberly Fuller (Licensed Therapist at Diana Santanonio, Ed.S. & Associates, LLC dba Psych & Psych Services) and removing as defendants Maslinski and Laub. The case was thereafter removed to this Court. Defendants Fuller and Psych & Psych[1] filed a Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint. That motion was moot with the filing of a Second Amended Complaint which generally alleges the following.

         C.H. is a minor who was a student at Avon Heritage South Elementary School. Plaintiff Monique Jones is his mother. C.H. began the 2014-2015 school year as a third grader in defendant Oley's class. He was the only African American student in the class. Jones met with Oley in September 2014 because she wanted to build a relationship with the teacher. At the meeting, Jones mentioned that she had recently been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Oley told Jones that she thought C.H. had ADD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and then frequently mentioned this in conversations thereafter with Jones although Jones noted that he had not previously had any symptoms of such. In late September, Oley suggested that C.H. be placed on a 504 plan (under the Rehabilitation Act) for his frequent urination. C.H. has Benign Urinary Frequency Syndrome. Principal Call also contacted Jones regarding the plan in hopes that it would be established prior to the upcoming standardized testing. The plan was established on October 3, 2014. Unbeknownst to Jones, Oley had been physically and emotionally abusing C.H. on a daily basis until November 6, 2014, when he was removed by Jones from the school. Eleven specific instances of abuse are listed. Jones learned of the abuse on November 3, 2014, when C.H. came home from school and told her about it. Jones reported the abuse to Principal Call the next morning in a telephone call. A meeting was scheduled by Call with Jones for the morning of November 5. Jones sent C.H. to school on November 4, “hoping that her conversation with Mr. Call would address the situation and because she was concerned about truancy issues.” It is unknown whether abuse occurred on that day. At the November 5 meeting, Jones reiterated that Oley had been abusing C.H. and requested that C.H. be removed from Oley's classroom, but Call refused. Call excused C.H. from school for the rest of the day of November 5. A follow-up meeting was scheduled for November 7. Jones “trusted Mr. Call's educational expertise, and feeling satisfied that the situation would be resolved, [Jones] sent C.H. to school on November 6.” But, C.H. came home that day and reported that Oley had continued to physically and emotionally abuse him. On November 6, Oley kept C.H. in from recess to complete a test, threw test papers in his face and yelled “wrong, wrong, wrong.”[2] Jones did not thereafter send him back to the school. She formally withdrew C.H. on November 11. Call did not report the abuse as required by Ohio law. Pursuant to a prior referral by Oley, Jones had scheduled an appointment for November 4, 2014 with Psych & Psych to have C.H. formally evaluated for ADD/ADHD. Fuller met with C.H. and Jones three times between November 4 and December 12. He was not diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. Jones reported Oley's abuse of C.H. to Fuller during the meetings, including the first meeting on November 4. Fuller never reported the allegations of abuse as required by Ohio law. As a result, C.H. suffered additional abuse under Oley's supervision. On December 9, 2014, C.H. was diagnosed, by a separate facility, with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of Oley's abuses and discrimination.

         The Second Amended Complaint asserts ten claims for relief. One claim is asserted against Fuller: Count Nine alleges that she failed to report Oley's abuse as required by Ohio Revised Code § 2151.421 which proximately caused Oley's continued abuse.

         This matter is now before the Court upon Fuller and Psych & Psych's Motion to Dismiss the Second Amended Complaint.

         Standard of Review

          “Dismissal is appropriate when a plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). We assume the factual allegations in the complaint are true and construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Comtide Holdings, LLC v. Booth Creek Management Corp., 2009 WL 1884445 (6th Cir. July 2, 2009) (citing Bassett v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 528 F.3d 426, 430 (6th Cir.2008)). In construing the complaint in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, “the court does not accept the bare assertion of legal conclusions as enough, nor does it accept as true unwarranted factual inferences.” Gritton v. Disponett, 2009 WL 1505256 (6th Cir. May 27, 2009) (citing In re Sofamor Danek Group, Inc., 123 F.3d 394, 400 (6th Cir.1997). As outlined by the Sixth Circuit:

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” “Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need only give the defendant fair notice of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.”Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). However, “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level” and to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 570. A plaintiff must “plead[ ] factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

Keys v. Humana, Inc., 684 F.3d 605, 608 (6th Cir.2012). Thus, Twombly and Iqbal require that the complaint contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face based on factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570; Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. The complaint must contain “more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         Discussion

         Count Nine alleges that Fuller[3] was subject to the mandatory reporting requirements of the Ohio statute and failed to report the allegations of abuse that Monique Jones reported to her beginning on November 4, 2014, and that her ...


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