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Hall v. Board of Supervisors of Community and Technical Colleges

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

May 18, 2015

ANNA HALL
v.
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF COMMUNITY AND TECHNICAL COLLEGES ET AL., Section

ORDER AND REASONS

JANE TRICHE MILAZZO, District Judge.

Before the Court is Defendant the Board of Supervisors of Community and Technical Colleges' Motion to Dismiss (R. Doc. 5). For the following reasons, the Motion is GRANTED.

BACKGROUND

This case arises out of the termination of Plaintiff, Dr. Anna Hall, from her job as a professor at Delgado Community College. Plaintiff alleges that she began working as an instructor at Delgado in August of 1997. In September of 2013, Dr. Hall took sick leave for a period of six days. She alleges that she was then suspended from her duties in November of 2013 when her medical issues resurfaced and was terminated in December of 2013. She states that she was not given a written explanation of her suspension and that the written reason indicated for her termination was "poor performance." She further alleges that Delgado failed to follow its own internal procedures in her termination, including its professor evaluation policy, its formal grievance policy, and its notice provisions. Her Complaint states that she "was an unclassified employee whose termination could only be implemented for cause. She was not an at-will' employee." Plaintiff's chief complaints appear to be wrongful termination, denial of due process rights, and failure to provide reasonable accommodations for her disability. Plaintiff first filed her Complaint in state court against Delgado Community College ("Delgado"), the Louisiana Community and Technical College System ("LCTCS"), the Board of Supervisors of Community and Technical Colleges, [1] the Louisiana Board of Regents, and FARA.

Defendant the Board of Supervisors of Community and Technical Colleges removed the case to this Court and then filed the instant Motion to Dismiss. Movant is the only defendant currently joined in this action. Movant asserts that Plaintiff's Complaint fails to allege any cause of action for which relief can be granted and should be dismissed with prejudice. Specifically, it argues that: (1) two of the other defendants in this action do not have the procedural capacity to be sued; (2) Movant has sovereign immunity from Plaintiff's claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"); and (3) Movant is not a "person" under the terms of 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 and thus cannot be sued for violations of due process. This Court will address each of Movant's arguments in turn.

LEGAL STANDARD

To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must plead enough facts "to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face."[2] A claim is "plausible on its face" when the pleaded facts allow the court to "[d]raw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged."[3] A court must accept the complaint's factual allegations as true and must "draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor."[4] The Court need not, however, accept as true legal conclusions couched as factual allegations.[5]

To be legally sufficient, a complaint must establish more than a "sheer possibility" that the plaintiff's claims are true.[6] "A pleading that offers labels and conclusions' or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action'" will not suffice.[7] Rather, the complaint must contain enough factual allegations to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of each element of the plaintiffs' claim.[8]

LAW AND ANALYSIS

I. Procedural Capacity of Delgado and LCTCS

Movant's first ground for dismissal is that Defendants Delgado and the LCTCS are not juridical entities with the procedural capacity to sue and be sued. Movant states that both Delgado and LCTCS are simply the names of a school and a collection of schools, respectively.

According to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure17:

Capacity to sue or be sued is determined as follows: (1) for an individual who is not acting in a representative capacity, by the law of the individual's domicile; (2) for a corporation, by the law under which it was organized; and (3) for all other parties, by the law of the state where the court is located....

Plaintiff's Complaint alleges only that Delgado and LCTCS are agencies or instrumentalities of the government. Accordingly, they are neither individuals nor corporations, and their procedural capacity should be ...


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