United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
AARON M. OGLETREE, Plaintiff,
CUYAHOGA COMMUNITY COLLEGE, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER (RESOLVES DOCS. 19
R. Adams UNTIED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on a motion for judgment on the
pleadings filed by Defendant Cuyahoga Community College
(“Tri-C”). Also pending before the Court is a
motion to amend the complaint filed by Plaintiff Aaron
Ogletree. The motion to amend (Doc. 23) is DENIED. The motion
for judgment on the pleadings (Doc. 19) is GRANTED.
Civ.P. 12(c) provides that “[a]fter the pleadings are
closed - but early enough not to delay trial - a party may
move for judgment on the pleadings.” The standard for
evaluating a motion for judgment on the pleadings is the same
as that applicable to a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6)
for failure to state a claim. Ziegler v IBP Hog Market,
Inc., 249 F.3d 509, 511-12 6th Cir. 2001). The Sixth
Circuit stated the standard for reviewing such a motion to
dismiss in Assn. of Cleveland Fire Fighters v.
Cleveland, 502 F.3d 545 (6th Cir. 2007) as follows:
The Supreme Court has recently clarified the law with respect
to what a plaintiff must plead in order to survive a Rule 12
(b)(6) motion. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544 (2007). The Court stated that “a plaintiff's
obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement of
relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.” Id. at 1964-65. (citations and
quotations marks omitted). Additionally, the court emphasized
that even though a complaint need not contain
“detailed” factual allegations, its [f]actual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief about
the speculative level on the assumption that all the
allegations in the complaint are true.” Id.
(internal citation and quotation marks omitted). In so
holding, the Court disavowed the oft-quoted Rule 12(b)(6)
standard of Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46
(1957) (recognizing “the accepted rule that a complaint
should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless
it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set
of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to
relief”), characterizing that rule as one “best
forgotten as an incomplete, negative gloss on an accepted
pleading standard.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 563.
Id. at 548.
allegation is capable of more than one inference, the Court
must construe it in the plaintiff's favor. Columbia
Natural Res., Inc. v. Tatum, 58 F.3d 1101, 1109 (6th
Cir. 1995) (citing Allard v. Weitzman, 991 F.2d
1236, 1240 (6th Cir. 1993)). The Court may not grant a Rule
12(b)(6) motion merely because it may not believe the
plaintiff's factual allegations. Id. Although
this is a liberal standard of review, the plaintiff still
must do more than merely assert bare legal conclusions.
Id. Specifically, the complaint must contain
“either direct or inferential allegations respecting
all the material elements to sustain a recovery under some
viable legal theory.” Scheid v. Fanny Farmer Candy
Shops, Inc. 859 F.2d 434, 436 (6th Cir. 1988)
(quotations and emphasis omitted).
the Court may deny leave to amend if the amendment would be
futile. Crawford v. Roane, 53 F.3d 750, 753 (6th
Cir. 1995). “A proposed amendment is futile if the
amendment could not withstand a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to
dismiss.” Riverview Health Inst. LLC v. Medical
Mut. of Ohio, 601 F.3d 505, 512 (6th Cir. 2010). In the
instant matter, the proposed amendment would not withstand
the pending motion for judgment on the pleadings.
Accordingly, amending would be futile.
claims that Defendant engaged in reverse discrimination under
the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 by refusing to allow
Plaintiff to apply to Tri-C's Basic Police Academy
(“BPA”). At the time of Plaintiff's
complaint, Plaintiff was an eighteen year old student at the
college. Plaintiff contacted Nancy Nekoranek, the Program
Coordinator at the BPA, regarding how to begin his
application to the BPA, and stated he was eighteen years old.
Nekoranek informed Plaintiff that the BPA has a practice of
not accepting candidates under twenty years old because a
candidate who does not receive a commission within twenty
four months of passing the State Certification Examination
must repeat the Academy and a State of Ohio police officer
must be twenty one years old. Nekoranek additionally informed
Plaintiff that Defendant also has a Private Security Academy
available to those who are eighteen years old with a high
school diploma or G.E.D. Plaintiff subsequently filed a
complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office of
Civil Rights alleging reverse age discrimination based on the
BPA's age requirement; the investigation of which is
still pending. Plaintiff also filed suit in state court
requesting relief in the form of damages and injunctive
relief by which he would be permitted to apply to the BPA.
Plaintiff also sought to require fair admissions practices
for other underage students who also wish to apply. Upon the
case's removal to federal court, a case management
conference was held during which Defendant informed the Court
that a settlement offer had been made to Plaintiff which
would allow Plaintiff to apply to the BPA. Plaintiff failed
to respond to Defendant's offer within the given thirty
days but informed Defendant just prior to a second case
management conference that he would be rejecting the offer.
Plaintiff has since turned twenty years old, has not applied
to the BPA nor to the Private Security Academy, and is not
currently enrolled at Defendant.
noted above, Defendant has sought judgment on the pleadings,
and Plaintiff has requested leave to amend his complaint,
asserting in part that his amended complaint more accurately
and concisely describes the basis for his claims. Both
motions are ripe for the Court's review.
jurisdiction of federal courts is limited to
“cases” and “controversies.”
U.S.Const. art. III, § 2, cl. 1. This is “a
cradle-to-grave requirement” that must be satisfied at
the time a plaintiff first brings suit and must remain
satisfied throughout the case. Hrivnak v. NCO Portfolio
Mgmt., Inc., 719 F.3d 564, 566-67 (6th Cir. 2013)
(citing Fialka-Feldman v. Oakland Univ. Bd. of Tr.,
639 F.3d 711, 713 (6th Cir. 2011)). The plaintiff must
demonstrate he has a “legally cognizable
interest” in the case's outcome. Id.
(quoting Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133
S.Ct. 1523, 1528, 185 L.Ed.2d 636 (2013)). If the plaintiff
subsequently loses such a legally cognizable interest, in
which it is no longer possible for the court to grant
effective relief, then the case must be dismissed as moot.
Id. (citing Church of Scientology v. United
States, 506 U.S. 9, 12, 113 S.Ct. 447, 121 L.Ed.2d 313
filing his original complaint, Plaintiff has lost his legally
cognizable interest in the case's outcome.
Plaintiff's primary form of relief requested was an
injunction permitting him to apply to the BPA. Plaintiff
turned twenty years old, thus reaching the requisite age for
application to the BPA, on January 2, 2017. Plaintiff, being
the necessary age where he is capable of applying to the BPA,
no longer ...