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Mansfield v. Newark Public School

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

January 9, 2020

LYNDERIA S. MANSFIELD, Plaintiff,
v.
NEWARK PUBLIC SCHOOL, Defendant.

          OPINION

          KEVIN McNULTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on the motion of the defendant, Newark Public Schools (NPS) to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction and failure to state a claim, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). (DE 11) Also pending is Ms. Mansfield's fifth motion for appointment of pro bono counsel. (DE 26)

The Complaint is brief. Under "Basis for Jurisdiction," the only allegation is a checked box next to "U.S. Government Plaintiff." (DE 1 at 2)
The Complaint identifies no cause of action, whether statutory or common law. The time frame is alleged to be "2010-present." The "Facts" read, in their entirety, as follows:
Wrongful termination was forced upon me. I want to be rightfully compensated.
Newark Public Schools Wrongful Terminated Lynderia S. Mansfield.
Many employees saw/witnessed what happened. [Listing names of approximately 16 persons]

(DE 1 at 3-4) The injuries are described as "Wrongful Termination." The Relief demanded is "I want to be monetary compensated." (DE 1 at 4)

         I. Motion to Dismiss

         A. Applicable Standards

         Jurisdiction must be established as a threshold matter. Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Env't, 523 U.S. 83, 94, 118 S.Ct. 1003 (1998). A motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) may be brought as a facial or factual challenge. See Church of the Universal Bhd. v. Farmington Twp. Supervisors, 296 Fed.Appx. 285, 288 (3d Cir. 2008). In the case of a facial challenge, the standard applied is similar to that governing an ordinary Rule 12(b)(6) motion.

         Rule 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal of a complaint if it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The defendant, as the moving party, bears the burden of showing that no claim has been stated. Animal Science Products, Inc. v. China Minmetals Corp., 654 F.3d 462, 469 n.9 (3d Cir. 2011). For the purposes of a motion to dismiss, the facts alleged in the complaint are accepted as true and all reasonable inferences are drawn in favor of the plaintiff. New Jersey Carpenters & the Trustees Thereof v. Tishman Const. Corp. of New Jersey, 760 F.3d 297, 302 (3d Cir. 2014). Where, as here, the plaintiff sues pro se, the Court shall construe the allegations of the Complaint liberally. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93, 127 S.Ct. 2197 (2007); Haines v. Kemer, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21, 92 S.Ct. 594 (1972).

         [A] plaintiffs obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); see Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 232 (3d Cir. 2008) (Rule 8 "requires a 'showing' rather than a blanket assertion of an entitlement to relief." (citation omitted)). Thus, the complaint's factual allegations must be sufficient to raise a plaintiffs right to relief above a speculative level, so that a claim is "plausible on its face." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570; see also West Run Student Hous. Assocs., LLC v. Huntington Nat Bank, 712 F.3d 165, 169 (3d Cir. 2013). That facial-plausibility standard is met "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). While[t]he plausibility standard is not akin to a 'probability requirement'. . . it asks for more than a sheer possibility." Id.

         When deciding a motion to dismiss, a court generally confines its scrutiny to the pleadings. Nevertheless, items of which the court may take judicial notice-such as judicial opinions-may also be ...


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