United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
Chelsey M. Vascura Magistrate Judge
OPINION AND ORDER
A. SARGUS, JR. CHIEF JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendant Board of Education of
the Marysville Exempted Village School District's
("Defendant") Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings.
(ECF No. 13). Plaintiff Melissa Hackett has filed a response
(ECF No. 14) and Defendant has replied (ECF No. 15).
Accordingly, this matter is ripe for review. For the reasons
stated herein, Defendant's Motion (ECF No. 13) is
Melissa Hackett ("Plaintiff" or "Ms.
Hackett") commenced this action on October 25, 2018,
filing a Complaint asserting one claim against the Defendant,
alleging a violation of Plaintiffs Due Process rights
guaranteed under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United
States Constitution. (See generally Compl. [ECF No.
1]). Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint on
December 19, 2018. (ECF No. 5). Plaintiff filed an Amended
Complaint on January 8, 2019. (See generally Am.
Compl. [ECF No. 6]). The Amended Complaint contains three
claims brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; Plaintiff also
seeks attorney fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988. (See
April 17, 2014, Plaintiff and Defendant entered into a
written Administrator's Contract ("the
Contract") pursuant to Ohio Revised Code § 3319.02.
(See Contract at 3 [ECF No. 6, Ex. 1]). Pursuant to
the Contract, Ms. Hackett would serve as Principal at one of
Defendant's schools for a term of three years, beginning
on August 1, 2014 and ending on July 31, 2017. (Id.
at 1). Further, Plaintiff states, this Contract was subject
to renewal for a two-year term if Plaintiff were not given
written notice of Defendant's intent to not re-employ
her. (Am. Compl. ¶ 11-12). Similarly, Plaintiff had a
continuing employment contract with Defendant entitling her
to work as a teacher for Defendant unless she was fired or
suspended in accordance with Ohio law. (Id.
Plaintiff received a letter dated July 17, 2015, from
Defendant informing her that the Board adopted resolutions:
1) declaring its intent to consider the termination of her
administrator and teacher contracts; and 2) placing Plaintiff
on unpaid suspension until the conclusion of such
proceedings. (Termination Letter [ECF No. 9-2]; Mandamus
Compl. ¶¶ 2-3 [ECF No. 13-1]). Plaintiff was, in
fact, suspended without pay effective July 16, 2015. (Compl.
¶ 7 [ECF No. 1]). After receiving this letter, Plaintiff
submitted a written demand for a referee hearing in
accordance with Ohio Rev. Code § 3319.16. (Demand Letter
[ECF No. 9-1]; Mandamus Compl. ¶ 4). A list of potential
referees was provided to Plaintiff in a letter dated July 29,
2015 and, in that same letter, Plaintiff was advised that her
hearing was scheduled for August 25, 2015. (Mandamus Compl.
¶¶ 5-6). But while the parties agreed upon a
referee, the August 25, 2015 hearing did not take place and
was not rescheduled, all for reasons not explained in the
record of this case. (Id. ¶¶7-9).
first cause of action, Plaintiff submits that by failing to
provide a hearing with regard to her contractual
compensation, the defendant violated the Due Process Clause
of the 14th Amendment to the United States
Constitution. (See Am. Compl. ¶¶ 5-9).
Further, Plaintiffs second claims asserts that, after
Plaintiff invoked her right to have a referee hear her case,
Defendant could not lawfully terminate her contract prior to
such hearing. (See Id. ¶¶ 10-16). And in
her third claim for relief, Plaintiff maintains that she
still has an active teacher's contract with Defendant
which further entitles her to compensation. (Id.
contends that: 1) Plaintiffs first claim is time-barred; and
2) Plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted for her second and third causes of action.
(Def. Mot. at 5-11 [ECF No. 13]). Plaintiff replied that this
action was timely filed and that her second and third claims
were pleaded sufficiently. (See generally Pl.
Opp'n [ECF No. 14]).
Court reviews a Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the
pleadings in the same manner it would review a motion made
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Vichers
v. Fairfield Med. Ctr., 453 F.3d 757, 761 (6th Cir.
2006). Rule 12(b)(6) provides for dismissal of actions that
fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Generally, an action will be dismissed under this standard
where "there is no law to support the claims made."
Stew Farm, Ltd. v. Nat. Res. Conservation Serv., 967
F.Supp.2d 1164, 1169 (S.D. Ohio 2013) (citing Ranch v.
Day & Night Mfg. Corp., 576 F.2d 697, 702 (6th Cir.
1978)). The same holds where "the facts alleged are
insufficient to state a claim." Id. Rule
8(a)(2) requires "a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief."
See also Bett Atl. Corp. v. Twombley, 550 U.S. 544,
555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). To meet this
standard, a complain must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to "state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." Id. at 570;
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(clarifying the plausibility standard articulated in
considerations inform whether a complaint meets the
facial-plausibility standard. "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. at 678. Further, the factual allegations of a
pleading "must be enough to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level." Twombley, 550
U.S. at 555. A complaint will not, however, "suffice if
it tenders 'naked assertion[s]' devoid of
'further factual enhancement.'" Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombley, 555 U.S. at 557).
Courts must construe the claim at issue in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party, accept all factual
allegations as true, and make reasonable inferences in favor
of the non-moving party. Total Benefits Planning Agency,
Inc. v. Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, 552 F.3d
430, 434 (6th Cir. 2008).
Documents not part of Plaintiffs Amended Complaint
on a motion under Rule 12(b)(6) or 12(c), matters outside the
pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court, the
motion must be treated as one for summary judgment under Rule
56." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). "Under a well-established
exception to Rule 12(d), courts may consider documents
attached to a Rule 12(b)(6) or 12(c) motion without coverting
either into a summary-judgment motion if the attached
materials are: (i) 'referred to in the plaintiffs
complaint and are central to [the] claims' or (ii)
'matters of public record.' Kassem v. Ocwen Laon
Servicing, LLC, 704 Fed.Appx. 429, 432 (6th Cir. 2017)
(quoting McLaughlin v CNS Gas Co., LLC, 639
Fed.Appx. 296, 298-99 (6th Cir. 2016); see also Greenberg
v. Life Ins. Co. of Va., 177 F.3d 507, 514 (6th Cir.
to Defendant's Answer to the Amended Complaint are two
exhibits: "Exhibit A" is Plaintiffs letter
demanding a hearing before a referee prior to the final
decision to terminate her contract, (see Demand
Letter [ECF No. 9-1]); "Exhibit B" is
Defendant's letter to Plaintiff notifying her of
Defendant's decisions to terminate her contracts and
suspend her without pay, (see Termination Letter).
Defendant has attached as "Exhibit A" to its Rule
12(c) Motion, Plaintiffs Complaint for Writ of Mandamus,
filed in the Third District Court of Appeals in the State of
Ohio. (See generally Mandamus Compl. [ECF No.
submits that the Court can consider these attachments without
converting its Rule 12 Motion into a motion for summary
judgment as the documents are all matters of public record.
(Def. Mot. at 4-5). Defendant further avers that the
documents attached to its Answer can be considered as they
"fill [...] in the contours and details of the
plaintiffs complaint." (Id. at 5) (quoting
Yeary v. Goowill Industries-Knoxville, Inc., 107
F.3d 443, 445 (6th Cir. 1997); see also Lion Apparel v.
City of Cincinnati, No. 1:05-cv-61, 2006 WL 4643320, at
*1 (Mar. 13, 2006)). Plaintiff does not ...