United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ZAINEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is a Motion to Dismiss (Rec. Doc.
13) filed by Defendant, Board of Supervisors of
Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical
College (the “LSU Board”). Plaintiff Thuy Doan
opposes the Motion (Rec. Doc. 14) and Defendant has replied.
(Rec. Doc. 17). The Motion, set for submission on September
20, 2017, is before the Court on the briefs without oral
argument. Having considered the motion and memoranda of
counsel, the record, and the applicable law, the Court finds
that the Defendant's motion should be
GRANTED for the reasons set forth below.
matter arises out of the expulsion of Plaintiff, Thuy Doan,
from the LSU School of Dentistry. (Rec. Doc. 1). Plaintiff, a
dental student who was expelled for multiple instances of
cheating, brings this lawsuit seeking readmission to LSU as
well as damages and attorney's fees. According to her
complaint, Plaintiff was expelled in March of 2017, during
the spring of her second year at the LSU School of Dentistry.
Sometime during the previous fall, Plaintiff allegedly began
to experience insomnia, depression, and anxiety, which she
claims interfered with her ability to wake in time for early
morning classes. As a result, Plaintiff allegedly allowed a
friend to take two early-morning quizzes for her. Plaintiff
was caught and, after two hearings and an appeal, was
dismissed from the school. Within weeks, Plaintiff filed this
lawsuit claiming that the school denied her due process,
expelled her to avoid accommodating her alleged disabilities,
and intentionally discriminated against her because of her
August 16, 2017, the Court dismissed all but two of
Plaintiff's claims. (Rec. Doc. 12). The only remaining
two claims are the Title VI claim against the LSU Board, and
the Direct Action claim against ABC Insurance Companies 1-10,
as it relates to the Title VI claim against the LSU Board. On
August 31, 2017, Defendant filed the instant motion seeking
to dismiss Plaintiff's remaining claims under FRCP
12(b)(6). The only true issue before the Court is whether
Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint contains factual
allegations sufficient for her Title VI claim to survive a
context of a motion to dismiss, the Court must accept all
factual allegations in the complaint as true and draw all
reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor.
Lormand v. U.S. Unwired, Inc., 565 F.3d 228, 232
(5th Cir. 2009) (citing Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues
& Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. 308 (2007); Scheuer v.
Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974); Lovick v.
Ritemoney, Ltd., 378 F.3d 433, 437 (5th Cir. 2004)).
However, the foregoing tenet is inapplicable to legal
conclusions. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). Thread-bare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice. Id. (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
central issue in a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss is
whether, in a light most favorable to the plaintiff, the
complaint states a valid claim for relief. Gentilello v.
Rege, 627 F.3d 540, 544 (5th Cir. 2010) (quoting Doe
v. MySpace, Inc., 528 F.3d 413, 418 (5th Cir. 2008)). To
avoid dismissal, a plaintiff must plead sufficient facts to
“state a claim for relief that is plausible on its
face.” Id. (quoting Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). “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. The Court does not accept as true
“conclusory allegations, unwarranted factual
inferences, or legal conclusions.” Id.
(quoting Plotkin v. IP Axess, Inc., 407 F.3d 690,
696 (5th Cir. 2005)). Legal conclusions must be supported by
factual allegations. Id. (quoting Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)).
Law and Analysis
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, “[n]o person
in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or
national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied
the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any
program or activity receiving Federal financial
assistance.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000d. Only public and
private entities can be held liable under Title VI. Price
ex rel. Price v. La. Dep't of Educ., 329 F.
App'x 559, 561 (5th Cir. 2009). Individuals are not
liable under Title VI. Id.
prevail on a claim for relief under Title VI, a private
litigant must prove: (1) that the defendant engaged in
intentional discrimination based on race, color, or national
origin; and (2) that the defendant received federal financial
assistance. 42 U.S.C. § 2000d; see also Alexander v.
Sandoval, 532 U.S. 275, 280 (2001) (acknowledging a
private right of action under certain sections of Title VI).
Plaintiff's subjective beliefs do not create an inference
of intentional discrimination. See, e.g., Byers
v. Dallas Morning News, Inc., 209 F.3d 419, 427 (5th
Cir. 2000). Rather, for Plaintiff's Title VI claim to
survive the 12(b)(6) motion, the facts Plaintiff alleged in
her First Amended Complaint must allow the Court to
reasonably infer that the alleged discrimination was
motivated by her Vietnamese ethnicity. See Ricci v.
DeStefano, 557 U.S. 557, 577 (2009).
moves for the Court to dismiss Plaintiff's remaining
Title VI claim for three reasons. (Rec. Doc. 13-1, p. 2).
First, Defendant contends that Plaintiff's claim fails
because she makes no factual allegations of any intentional
discrimination on account of her Vietnamese heritage.
Defendant argues that the more likely explanation of her
expulsion was her admitted academic and professional
misconduct. Id. Second, Defendant contends that
Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint lists allegations
regarding similarly-situated students that are too vague to
create a plausible claim of discrimination. See Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009); see also Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007). Third,
Defendant contends Plaintiff fails to allege intentional
discrimination at the entity level, as required by Title VI.
Defendant argues that Plaintiff's complaint lacks any
allegations that a person with authority to remedy the
alleged discrimination against her (1) had actual knowledge
of its occurrence, or (2) made an official and deliberate
decision to ignore it. (Rec. Doc. 13-1, p. 2).
Court finds that Plaintiff has failed to allege intentional
discrimination by the LSU Board. Plaintiff's remaining
claims hinge on the LSU Board as an entity committing
intentional discrimination. Generally, intentional
discrimination occurs when the recipient of federal funds
acted, at least in part, because of the actual or perceived
race, color, or national origin of the alleged victims of
discriminatory treatment. To show intentional discrimination
by an entity under Title VI, a plaintiff must show that (1)