United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division
DR. LAVERNE HALLIBURTON, Plaintiff,
LIBERTY COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT; DR. JUDY SCHERER, individually and in her official capacity as Superintendent of the Liberty County School District; LILY H. BAKER, individually and in her official capacity as a Board Member of the Liberty County School District; MARCIA ANDERSON, individually and in her official capacity as a Board Member of the Liberty County School District; BECKY CARTER, individually and in her official capacity as a Board Member of the Liberty County School District; CHARLIE J. FRASIER, individually and in his official capacity as a Board Member of the Liberty County School District; CAROL GUYETT, individually and in her official capacity as a Board Member of the Liberty County School District; VERDELL JONES, individually and in his official capacity as a Board Member of the Liberty County School District; and HAROLD WOODS, individually and in his official capacity as a Board Member of the Liberty County School District; Defendants.
WILLIAM T. MOORE, JR UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 4.) For
the following reasons, Defendants' motion is
DENIED. However, Plaintiff's amended
complaint is DISMISSED. Plaintiff is
DIRECTED to file an amended complaint within
twenty-one days of the date of this order.
case stems from the Superintendent of Defendant Liberty
County School District's ("Defendant District")
decision not to recommend renewal of Plaintiff's contract
as principal. Plaintiff initially filed suit in the Superior
Court of Liberty County alleging various state law claims.
(Doc. 1, Attach. 26.) In a one-sentence order, the Superior
Court denied Defendants' Motion to Dismiss.
(Id., Attach 29.) However, the Georgia Court of
Appeals reversed that decision in part and dismissed the
claims against Defendant District and the individual
Defendants, in their official capacities. (Id.,
Attach. 4 6.)
response, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint in Superior Court.
(Id., Attach. 48.) The amended complaint alleged the
same claims, including those previously dismissed, and added
claims based on 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and 42 U.S.C. §
1983. (Id. ¶¶ 4-7 (including both
paragraphs number 6).) Based on the inclusion of these
federal claims, Defendants invoked this Court's federal
question jurisdiction and removed the case to this Court.
(Doc. 1.) Plaintiff sought to remand this case on the basis
that not all Defendants consented to removal. (Doc. 14.) This
Court denied Plaintiff's Motion to Remand. (Doc. 21.)
their Motion to Dismiss, Defendants argue that Plaintiff is
precluded from raising again those claims previously
dismissed by the Superior Court and affirmed by the Georgia
Court of Appeals. (Doc. 4 at 4-6.) Similarly, Defendants
maintain that Plaintiff is precluded from raising the
additional federal claims because she failed to raise them in
the prior proceeding. (Id.) Finally, Defendants
contend that Plaintiff's federal claims are barred by the
applicable statute of limitations. (Id. at 6-8.)
response, Plaintiff advances a confusing argument that
appears to reason that the Georgia Court of Appeals'
decision was not a final order because it did not dispose of
all her claims. (Doc. 16 at 3-6.) Therefore, Plaintiff
believes that she was free to replead the dismissed claims
and add completely new federal claims. (Id. at 5.)
In addition, Plaintiff contends that her federal claims are
timely because they relate back to her original complaint,
which was filed within the statute of limitations.
(Id. at 6-8.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires a complaint to
contain "a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief."
"[T]he pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not
require 'detailed factual allegations, ' but it
demands more than an unadorned,
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007)). "A pleading that offers "labels and
conclusions' or a 'formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.' "
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
"Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders 'naked
assertion [s]' devoid of 'further factual
enhancement.' " Id. (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557) (alteration in original).
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to "state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.' "
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). For
a claim to have facial plausibility, the plaintiff must plead
factual content that "allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged." Sinaltrainal v. Coca-Cola
Co., 578 F.3d 1252, 1261 (11th Cir. 2009) (quotations
omitted) (quoting Igbal, 556 U.S. at 678).
Plausibility does not require probability, "but it asks
for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully." Igbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
"Where a complaint pleads facts that are 'merely
consistent with' a defendant's liability, it
'stops short of the line between possibility and
plausibility of entitlement to relief.' "
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
Additionally, a complaint is sufficient only if it gives
"fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds
upon which it rests." Sinaltrainal, 578 F.3d at
1268 (quotations omitted) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 555) .
the Court considers a motion to dismiss, it accepts the
well-pleaded facts in the complaint as true.
Sinaltrainal, 578 F.3d 1252 at 1260. However, this
Court is "not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion
couched as a factual allegation." Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678. Moreover, "unwarranted deductions of fact
in a complaint are not admitted as true for the purpose of
testing the sufficiency of [plaintiff's]
allegations." Sinaltrainal, 578 F.3d at 1268
(citing Aldana v. Del Monte Fresh Produce, N.A.,
Inc., 416 F.3d 1242, 1248 (11th Cir. 2005)). That is,
"[t]he rule Moes not impose a probability requirement at
the pleading stage, ' but instead simply calls for enough
facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will
reveal evidence of the necessary element." Watts v.
Fla. Int'l Univ., 495 F.3d 1289, 1295-96 (11th Cir.
2007) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 545).
DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS
initial matter, the Court notes that the briefing in this
case may very well be the absolute worst and useless this
Court has ever had the misfortune to encounter. Neither
parties' legal arguments, to the extent they can actually
be deciphered, are anything near correct. Basically, the
parties simply dumped some facts, along with some obfuscating
case law, at the Court's feet and now expect this Court
to do ...