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Manning ex rel. R.M. v. Missouri Department of Education

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

October 31, 2016

MONICA SWIFT MANNING, in the Interest of R.M. and E.S., Plaintiffs,
v.
MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          CHARLES A. SHAW DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court upon plaintiff Monica Swift Manning's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. The Court has reviewed the financial information plaintiff submitted in support of the motion, and has determined that plaintiff is unable to pay the filing fee. The Court will therefore grant the motion. 28 U.S.C. § 1915. In addition, the Court will dismiss the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court shall dismiss a complaint filed in forma pauperis if the action is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. An action is frivolous if it “lacks an arguable basis in either law or fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 328 (1989); Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992). A complaint fails to state a claim if it does not plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).

         To determine whether an action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the Court must engage in a two-step inquiry. First, the Court must identify the allegations in the complaint that are not entitled to the assumption of truth. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1950-51 (2009). These include “legal conclusions” and “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action [that are] supported by mere conclusory statements.” Id. at 1949. Second, the Court must determine whether the complaint states a plausible claim for relief. Id. at 1950-51. This is a “context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id. at 1950. The plaintiff is required to plead facts that show more than the “mere possibility of misconduct.” Id. at 1950. The Court must review the factual allegations in the complaint “to determine if they plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief.” Id. at 1951.

         Pro se pleadings are liberally construed, and are held to a less stringent standard when considering a dismissal of the case for failure to state a claim. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Horsey v. Asher, 741 F.2d 209, 211 n.3 (8th Cir. 1984). Even so, a pro se complaint must contain specific facts to support its conclusions. Kaylor v. Fields, 661 F.2d 1177, 1183 (8th Cir. 1981).

         The Amended Complaint

         Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1981, alleging violations of her children's rights. Named as defendants are the Missouri Department of Education[1] and four individuals: Dave Gerber, Donna Cash, Maureen Clancy Mae, and Julia Conwell. Plaintiff provides no information regarding whether the four individuals are employed by or otherwise associated with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education or the Missouri State Board of Education. Plaintiff seeks only monetary damages.

         For her statement of claim, plaintiff alleges as follows:

In September of 2014 I made Mo. Dept of Education aware of several education concerns I was having with regards to my children E.S. and R.M. These concerns have grown and escalated since that time. With respect to my children I should state now that I claim discrimination on behalf of the Department with regards to their decisions regard the childrens rights [sic] pertaining to the Hazelwood School District and their adherence to the McKinney Vento Act. Also with regards to R.M. special education needs.”

(Docket No. 1 at 3-4).

         The complaint contains no other allegations.

         Discussion

         The Court has carefully considered plaintiff's complaint, and has determined that it is subject ...


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