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Martin v. North Kansas City School District

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division

January 29, 2018

JOEL MARTIN, on his own behalf, and as Next Friend for C.M., a minor, Plaintiffs,
v.
NORTH KANSAS CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          FERNANDO J. GAITAN, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Currently pending before the Court is Defendant North Kanas City School District (“NKC's”) Motion to Dismiss (Doc. # 12); NKC's Motion for Leave to File Excess Pages (Doc. # 16); Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Supplemental Legal Support (Doc. # 48) and Stephen Freeland's Motion to Withdraw as Counsel for Defendants (Doc. # 69).

         I. BACKGROUND

         This case involves allegations that Samuel Waltemath, a former employee of the North Kansas City School District, sexually assaulted and raped plaintiff C.M., a minor student. Waltemath was C.M.'s seventh grade teacher. Plaintiffs filed a three count Complaint against NKC, Waltemath and five NKC employees. Count I alleges a violation of Title IX and is asserted against the District only. Count II alleges a violation of the Missouri Human Rights Act and is asserted against the District and Waltemath. Count III asserts a Negligence claim against various district employees. The District has moved to dismiss Count II on the basis that the District is not a “person” as that term is defined in the MHRA and thus is not subject to the MHRA's public accommodation provision. Secondly, the District argues that plaintiffs' underlying charge relating to Watemath's alleged acts was not timely filed with the MCHR as required under the MHRA. The District also argues that none of the alleged acts occurred on the District's premises, so plaintiffs have failed to allege a denial of public accommodation by the District. Finally, the District alleges that plaintiffs have failed to meet minimum pleading standards to state a claim against the District for any conduct by C.M.'s peers as a separate claim.

         II. STANDARD

         To survive a motion to dismiss under 12(b)(6), “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). A pleading that merely pleads “labels and conclusions" or a “formulaic recitation" of the elements of a cause of action, or “naked assertions" devoid of “further factual enhancement" will not suffice. Id. (quoting Twombly). “Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will . . . be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 1950. Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) we must accept the plaintiff's factual allegations as true and grant all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Phipps v. FDIC, 417 F.3d 1006, 1010 (8th Cir. 2005).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Is NKC Considered a “Person” Under MHRA's Public Accommodation Provision?

         Mo.Rev.Stat. § 213.065 Discrimination in public accommodations states in part:

1. All persons within the jurisdiction of the state of Missouri are free and equal and shall be entitled to the full and equal use and enjoyment within this state of any place of public accommodation, as hereinafter defined, without discrimination or segregation because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, ancestry, or disability.
2. It is an unlawful discriminatory practice for any person, directly or indirectly, to refuse, withhold from or deny any other person, or to attempt to refuse, withhold from or deny any other person, any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, services, or privileges made available in any place of public accommodation, as defined in section 213.010 and this section, or to segregate or discriminate against any such person in the use thereof because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, ancestry, or disability.

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 213.065 (Emphasis added).

         “Person” is defined in the statute as:

[O]ne or more individuals, corporations, partnerships, associations, organizations, labor organizations, legal representatives, mutual companies, joint stock companies, trusts, trustees, trustees in bankruptcy, ...

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