United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division
A. DOUGHTY MAG. JUDGE
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
L. HAYES JUDGE
the undersigned magistrate judge, on reference from the
District Court, are the following motions: 1) motion to
dismiss complaint for lack of standing and for failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted [doc. # 6]
filed by defendants, Morehouse Parish School Board
(“MPSB”), Chasity Kennedy, Rose Thompson, Karen
Diel, Louis Edward Melton, Richard “Rick” Hixon,
Leland “Chip” Rawls, II, and David Gray
(collectively, “MPSB defendants”); 2) motion to
dismiss amended complaint for lack of standing and for
failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted
[doc. # 12] also filed by the MPSB defendants, plus Stephen
J. Katz; and 3) motion to dismiss the original and amended
complaints for failure to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted [doc. # 10], filed by defendants, Louisiana Board
of Elementary and Secondary Education (“BESE”),
Gary Jones, the Louisiana Department of Education
(“LDE”), and John White (collectively,
“State defendants”). The motions are opposed. For
reasons assigned below, it is recommended that the motions be
GRANTED, and that plaintiff's complaint, as amended, be
dismissed, without prejudice.
November 26, 2018, Charles Bradford, a citizen and taxpayer
of the city of Bastrop, Louisiana, filed the instant pro se
“Complaint and Emergency Temporary Restraining Orders
and Preliminary Injunction LR 65.1” against the MPSB,
its individual board members, the MPSB superintendent, BESE,
LDE, and other state officials. (Compl.). Plaintiff invoked
the court's federal question jurisdiction because his
claims relate to the applicability of the Elementary and
Secondary Education Act of 1965.
alleged that, because of an alleged financial exigency, the
MPSB intended to close two of its elementary schools, Pine
Grove and Henry Adams. Bradford asserted federal claims
pursuant to 20 U.S.C. §§ 1701 and 1703 on the
grounds that the children were not being provided equal
educational opportunities without regard to race, color, sex,
or national origin, and that transfer of children to other
schools would result in increased segregation, cause greater
travel times, and will not ensure a higher number of
certified teachers. He also alleged that closure of the
schools would result in a reduction in force of teachers and
other MPSB employees.
Bradford requested a temporary restraining order
(“TRO”) prohibiting the closure of the schools,
and an order requiring defendants to form a committee of
community members to create a proposed plan that would be in
the best interest of all the children in the Morehouse Parish
November 26, 2018, the District Court denied Bradford's
motion for TRO, principally because he lacked standing to
[i]n his allegations, Bradford states only that he lives in
Louisiana and receives mail at an address in Bastrop. Such
allegations are insufficient to challenge the School
Board's proposed actions. He does not allege that he has
a child in the school system or any other basis for standing.
Unless he can meet this showing, the Court must dismiss his
(Nov. 26, 2018, Mem. Order [doc. # 4]).
December 6, 2018, the MPSB defendants filed the instant
motion to dismiss the suit for lack of standing and for
failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. On
December 13, 2018, Bradford filed an amended complaint to
allege that he is a grandfather of five children who attend
Morehouse Parish Schools. (Pl. Amend. Compl.). He further
asserted that he was a community clergyman, and that the
closure of the two schools would have a significant effect on
twenty or more of his “church members in the
community.” Id. He also alleged that on
December 4, 2018, the MPSB voted to close the two schools.
Id. Bradford joined the MPSB's attorney, Stephen
Katz, as an additional defendant in the matter. Id.
December 17, 2018, the State defendants filed the instant
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted. In so doing, they adopted the
arguments set forth in the MPSB defendants' original
motion to dismiss, and further argued that dismissal was
warranted because the State defendants had no legal authority
to redress the alleged harm posed by MPSB's decision to
close the two schools.
December 18, 2018, the MPSB defendants, plus Stephen Katz,
filed the instant motion to dismiss plaintiff's
amended complaint on the same grounds as their
original motion, i.e., for lack of standing and for failure
to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
January 7, 2019, Bradford filed his opposition to the motions
to dismiss wherein he alleged that the closure of the two
schools would place his grandchildren in an unsafe
environment because overcrowding could lead to a Hepatitis A
epidemic and a violation of the Louisiana State Fire Marshal
Code. [doc. # 15]. He further alleged that defendant, Chip
Rawls, a/k/a Leland George Rawls, II, violated state law by
failing to vacate his seat on the MPSB when he switched his
residence outside of his elected district in February 2018.
Therefore, he asserted that all votes Rawls participated in
from February through December 2018 were null and void.
Finally, he ...