Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Woodruff v. Hamilton Township Public Schools

June 26, 2007


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Noel L. Hillman, U.S.D.J.


This matter has come before the Court on Defendants' motion to dismiss certain claims of Plaintiffs pursuant to Federal Civil Procedure Rule 12(b)(6). For the reasons expressed below, Defendants' motion will be granted in part and denied in part.


Plaintiffs Thomas and Michelle Woodruff are parents of Brandon Woodruff,*fn1 who was a seventh grade student at a middle school in Mays Landing, Hamilton Township, New Jersey at the time they filed their Complaint. The Woodruffs, on behalf of Brandon, filed a five count Complaint, pro se, against Defendant Hamilton Township Public Schools and a number of teachers and school administrators. Plaintiffs claim that Defendants violated the Americans with Disabilities Act*fn2 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 by failing to provide their son, who is diagnosed with Attention-Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), with an individualized "504 Plan" (Count I). (Compl. ¶ 1, 62-63.) Plaintiffs also claim that certain Defendants, three of Brandon's teachers, created a hostile environment for Brandon (Count II). (Compl. ¶ 62-64 (sic), at pgs. 16-17.) Additionally, Plaintiffs claim that the Defendant Section 504 Coordinator and all other Defendants were negligent in their failure to implement a Section 504 Plan (Count III). (Compl. ¶ 65-72.) Further, Plaintiffs claim that the superintendent, principal, and vice-principal defendants retaliated against them "for bringing to light various issues with teachers centered around Brandon's 504 Plan and the failure of the school to act on those issues" (Count IV). (Compl. ¶ 73-79.) Finally, Plaintiffs have asserted a claim for emotional distress (Count V). (Compl. ¶ 80-85.) For these alleged violations, Plaintiffs request an injunction ordering Defendants to refrain from further violations of Brandon's civil rights, an immediate implementation of a Section 504 Plan for Brandon, a declaratory judgment stating that Defendants violated Brandon's civil rights, and compensatory and punitive damages. (Compl. ¶ 85 (sic), at pg. 22.)

Defendants have moved to dismiss all of Plaintiffs' claims against the individual teachers and administrators as they relate to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, as well as Plaintiffs' hostile environment claim. Plaintiffs have opposed Defendants' motion.


A. Motion to Dismiss Standard

When considering a motion to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), a court must accept all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Evancho v. Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 351 (3d Cir. 2005). It is well settled that a pleading is sufficient if it contains "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Under the liberal federal pleading rules, it is not necessary to plead evidence, and it is not necessary to plead all the facts that serve as a basis for the claim. Bogosian v. Gulf Oil Corp., 562 F.2d 434, 446 (3d Cir. 1977). However, "[a]lthough the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not require a claimant to set forth an intricately detailed description of the asserted basis for relief, they do require that the pleadings give defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Baldwin County Welcome Ctr. v. Brown, 466 U.S. 147, 149-50 n.3 (1984) (quotation and citation omitted).

A district court, in weighing a motion to dismiss, asks "'not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claim.'" Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1969 n.8 (2007) (quoting Scheuer v. Rhoades, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974)). A court need not credit either "bald assertions" or "legal conclusions" in a complaint when deciding a motion to dismiss. In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1429-30 (3d Cir. 1997). The defendant bears the burden of showing that no claim has been presented. Hedges v. U.S., 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir. 2005) (citing Kehr Packages, Inc. v. Fidelcor, Inc., 926 F.2d 1406, 1409 (3d Cir. 1991)).

A court in reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion must only consider the facts alleged in the pleadings, the documents attached thereto as exhibits, and matters of judicial notice. Southern Cross Overseas Agencies, Inc. v. Kwong Shipping Group Ltd., 181 F.3d 410, 426 (3d Cir. 1999). A court may consider, however, "an undisputedly authentic document that a defendant attaches as an exhibit to a motion to dismiss if the plaintiff's claims are based on the document." Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993). If any other matters outside the pleadings are presented to the court, and the court does not exclude those matters, a Rule 12(b)(6) motion will be treated as a summary judgment motion pursuant to Rule 56. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b).

B. Plaintiffs' Claims Against Individual Defendants

Defendants argue that Plaintiffs' claims against the teachers and school administrators should be dismissed because individuals cannot be held liable under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or the ADA.

1. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

Section 504 provides, in ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.