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McGriff v. Beavercreek City Schools District

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division

August 7, 2019

BONNIE M. McGRIFF, Plaintiff,



         Defendant, Beavercreek City School District Board of Education ("Beavercreek"), has filed a Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint, Doc. #9, of Plaintiff, Bonnie M. McGriff ("McGriff" or "Plaintiff"). McGriff has filed a response opposing Beavercreek's 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, Doc. #10.[1] Beavercreek has filed a reply, Doc. #11. For the reasons set forth below, Beavercreek's motion is overruled.

         I. Factual Background and Procedural History

         According to McGriffs Amended Complaint, she is a fifty-four-year old Caucasian female with an alleged fifty percent hearing deficiency that requires her to wear hearing aids. Doc. #7, PAGEID#22. McGriff contends her hearing loss began at age thirty-one and stems from nerve damage. Doc. #7, PAGEID#21. Additionally, McGriff contends that she suffers from fibromyalgia and alleges that this condition can be impacted when she experiences stress associated with her hearing issues. Doc. #7, PAGEID#22.

         McGriff alleges that she has been employed as a teacher by Beavercreek since July 1996 and currently remains employed by Beavercreek. Id. She contends that she has taught Spanish for more than thirty years, twenty-one years of which were taught at Beavercreek. Doc. #7, PAGEID#23. McGriff has alleged that prior to the 2017-2018 school year, she was given a job transfer to teach only French. Id. She claims that the last time she taught French was nearly twenty years ago and that due to her hearing disability, it is very difficult for her to teach French as compared to Spanish because of the difference in the need for "discriminating ears." Id. According to the allegations in McGriff's Amended Complaint, Beavercreek provided younger and non-disabled employees more favorable teaching assignments than McGriff. Id. She further contends that her reassignment has negatively impacted her fibromyalgia. Id.

         In response to the reassignment to teach French and not Spanish, McGriff filed a formal complaint of discrimination against Beavercreek with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. Doc. #7, PAGEID#22. On August 15, 2018, McGriff received notice that the complaint was dismissed and that she had the right to file a civil action. Id. As a result, she filed this action against Beavercreek and subsequently filed her Amended Complaint, Doc. #7, on January 1, 2019.

         II. Standard of Review

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) provides that a complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." The complaint must provide the defendant with "fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows a party to move for dismissal of a complaint on the basis that it "faii[s] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." The moving party bears the burden of showing that the opposing party has failed to adequately state a claim for relief. DirecTV, Inc. v. Treesh, 487 F.3d 471, 476 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing Carver v. Bunch, 946 F.2d 451, 454-55 (6th Cir. 1991)). The purpose of a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) "is to allow a defendant to test whether, as a matter of law, the plaintiff is entitled to legal relief even if everything alleged in the complaint is true." Mayer v. Mylod, 988 F.2d 635, 638 (6th Cir. 1993). In ruling on a 12(b)(6) motion, a court must "construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, accept its allegations as true, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff." Handy-Clay v. City of Memphis, 695 F.3d 531, 538 (6th Cir. 2012) (quoting Treesh, 487 F.3d at 476).

         Nevertheless, to survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the complaint must contain "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. Unless the facts alleged show that the plaintiff's claim crosses "the line from conceivable to plausible, [the] complaint must be dismissed." Id. Although this standard does not require "detailed factual allegations," it does require more than "labels and conclusions" or "a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Id. at 555. "Rule 8 . . . does not unlock the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than conclusions." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009). Legal conclusions "must be supported by factual allegations" that give rise to an inference that the defendant is, in fact, liable for the misconduct alleged. Id. at 679.

         III. Legal Analysis

         McGriff's Amended Complaint pleads two causes of action: age discrimination and disability discrimination. Beavercreek moves to dismiss both claims by first arguing that McGriff failed to plead factual allegations as required by Bell Atlantic v. Twombly and Ashcroft v. Iqbal. Alternatively, Beavercreek argues that McGriff has failed to plead an adverse employment action as well as a valid disability. The Court will separately address each of Beavercreek's arguments regarding these two claims.

         A. Complaint Requirements under Twombly and Iqbal

         Beavercreek first argues that dismissal of the two counts in the Amended Complaint is proper because McGriff has failed to comply with the pleading requirements of Bell Atlantic v. Twombly and Ashcroft v. Iqbal. "While a complaint attacked by a Fed. R. of Civ. P, 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations," the complaint is required to contain "more than labels and ...

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