United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
V. PARKER U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
January 14, 2019, Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit claiming that
Defendant violated their civil rights under 42 USC §
1983. Specifically, Plaintiffs assert violations of their due
process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United
States Constitution as a result of not being afforded the
procedural protection of a name-clearing hearing when their
positions ended with the Anchor Bay School District. The
matter is presently before the Court on Defendant's
motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(1) and (6). (ECF No. 5.) The motion has been fully
briefed. (ECF Nos. 10, 13.) Finding the facts and legal
arguments sufficiently presented in the parties' briefs,
the Court is dispensing with oral argument pursuant to
Eastern District of Michigan Local Rule 7.1(f).
Applicable Standard of Review
motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) challenges the
court's subject matter jurisdiction. “Rule 12(b)(1)
motions to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction generally come in
two varieties: a facial attack or a factual attack.”
Gentek Bldg. Prods., Inc. v. Sherwin-Williams Co.,
491 F.3d 320, 330 (6th Cir. 2007).
facial attack challenges the sufficiency of the pleading
itself. In that instance, the court accepts the material
allegations in the complaint as true and construes them in
the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. United
States v. Ritchie, 15 F.3d 592, 598 (6th Cir. 1994)
(citing Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 235-37
contrast, a factual attack is “not a challenge to the
sufficiency of the pleading's allegation, but a challenge
to the factual existence of subject matter
jurisdiction.” Id. When a factual attack, also
known as a “speaking motion, ” raises a factual
controversy, the district court must weigh the conflicting
evidence to arrive at the factual predicate that
subject-matter does or does not exist.” Gentek
Bldg. Prods., 491 F.3d at 330 (citing Ohio Nat'l
Life Ins. Co. v. United States, 922 F.2d 320, 325 (6th
Cir. 1990)). “In its review, the district court has
wide discretion to allow affidavits, documents, and even a
limited evidentiary hearing to resolve jurisdictional
facts.” Id. “[W]hen a defendant produces
evidence challenging the factual existence of [subject matter
jurisdiction], a plaintiff must generally prove [subject
matter jurisdiction] with evidence, even at the
motion-to-dismiss stage.” Harris v.
Lexington-Fayette Urban Cty. Gov't, 685 Fed.Appx.
470, 472 (6th Cir. 2017) (citing Taylor v. KeyCorp.,
680 F.3d 609, 613 (6th Cir. 2012); Superior MRI Servs.,
Inc. v. All Healthcare Servs., Inc., 778 F.3d 502, 504
(5th Cir. 2015)).
motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal
sufficiency of the complaint. RMI Titanium Co. v.
Westinghouse Elec. Corp., 78 F.3d 1125, 1134 (6th Cir.
1996). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a
pleading must contain a “short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint
need not contain “detailed factual allegations, ”
but it must contain more than “labels and
conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action . . ..” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A complaint
does not “suffice if it tenders ‘naked
assertions' devoid of ‘further factual
enhancement.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
Supreme Court provided in Iqbal and
Twombly, “[t]o 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). “A claim has facial plausibility when
the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that Defendant is liable for
the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The plausibility standard
“does not impose a probability requirement at the
pleading stage; it simply calls for enough facts to raise a
reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of
illegal [conduct].” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.
deciding whether the plaintiff has set forth a
“plausible” claim, the court must accept the
factual allegations in the complaint as true. Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). This presumption,
however, is not applicable to legal conclusions.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 668. Therefore,
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555).
the court may not consider matters outside the pleadings when
deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Weiner v.
Klais & Co., Inc., 108 F.3d 86, 88 (6th Cir. 1997)
(citing Hammond v. Baldwin, 866 F.2d 172, 175 (6th
Cir. 1989)). A court that considers such matters must first
convert the motion to dismiss to one for summary judgment.
See Fed. R. Civ. P 12(d). However, “[w]hen a
court is presented with a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, it may
consider the [c]omplaint and any exhibits attached thereto,
public records, items appearing in the record of the case and
exhibits attached to [the] defendant's motion to dismiss,
so long as they are referred to in the [c]omplaint and are
central to the claims contained therein.” Bassett
v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 528 F.3d
426, 430 (6th Cir. 2008). Thus, a court may take judicial
notice of “other court proceedings” without
converting a motion to dismiss into a motion for summary
judgment. Buck v. Thomas M. Cooley Law Sch., 597
F.3d 812, 816 (6th Cir. 2010) (citing Winget v. J.P.
Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., 537 F.3d 565, 575 (6th Cir.
Factual and Procedural Background
John Stanton (“Mr. Stanton”) and Robin Stanton
(“Mrs. Stanton”) (collectively
“Plaintiffs” or “the Stantons”) were
employed at Anchor Bay School District as Principals of
Anchor Bay High School and Anchor Bay Middle School,
respectively. (Compl. ¶ 6, ECF No. 1 at Pg ID 2.)
Defendant Leonard Woodside is the Superintendent for Anchor
Bay School District. Plaintiffs employment was government by
an employment agreement, which included the following
Complaints by an Administrator or group of administrators
relating to a violation, misinterpretation, or misapplication
of a specific provision of this agreement or any policy,
rule, regulation or practice shall be presented (in person or
writing) to the Superintendent or his/her designee within ten
(10) school days of such incident or occurrence. A conference
with the Superintendent or designee will be scheduled to
resolve the complaint within ten (10) days of its receipt. A
written decision to the complaint shall be given to the
administrator and the Association within ten (10) school days
following the conference. If the Superintendent fails to
provide a written decision within ten (10) such workdays, the
Association may, at its discretion, move the grievance to the
next level by following the procedures set forth below. If
the administrator desires to pursue the complaint or the
decision following the conference he/she may then appeal the
matter through Association representation to the Executive
Committee of the Board. The association leadership shall be
provided the opportunity to present the complaint to a
designated member (contact person) from the executive
committee of the Board of Education for review and a hearing
with the Executive Committee will be scheduled. …
(Def.'s Mot. Ex. F § 5.06, ECF No. 5-7 at Pg ID
to the 2016-2017 school year, Plaintiffs were rated
“highly effective” or “effective”
during their annual performance reviews. (Id. ¶
7, Pg ID 2.) During the 2016-2017 school year, Mr. Stanton
received write-ups for actions he believed were innocuous and
Mrs. Stanton was stripped of certain contractual duties, such
as making staff assignments. (Id. ¶ 9, Pg ID
about May 26, 2017, Pat Mikolowski, a security guard at
Anchor Bay High School, received a new job within the school
district. (Id. ¶ 10, Pg ID 3.) As a parting
gift, Mr. Stanton gave Ms. Mikolowski a wooden penis which
Ms. Mikolowski previously had confiscated from a student and
turned in to him. (Id. ¶ 12, Pg ID 3.)
about June 5, 2017, Sherry Kenward, Director of Student
Services at Anchor Bay High School, learned about Mr.
Stanton's gift to Ms. Mikolowski. Ms. Kenward informed
Joe McDonald, the District's Director of Secondary
Education. (Id. ¶ 13, Pg ID 3.) Ms. Kenward
told Mr. McDonald that Ms. Mikolowski complained to her about
the gift she received from Mr. Stanton. (Id.) Ms.
Kenward further stated that Ms. Mikolowski reported that she
and her husband were upset and embarrassed by the gift, and
that Ms. Mikolowski cried all weekend after receiving the
gift. (Id.) Ms. Kenward also told Mr. McDonald that
Ms. Mikolowski said the reason she was leaving her current
job was due to Mr. Stanton's treatment of her at Anchor
Bay High School and from fear of retaliation from Mrs.
Stanton, who she described as a “bitch.”
believe Ms. Kenward's statements were unsubstantiated
allegations which resulted in a rating of “ineffective,
” the lowest rating given by Anchor Bay during ...