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Reece v. Jones

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Danville Division

July 27, 2017

SARAH TOUART REECE, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. MARK R. JONES, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Hon. Jackson L. Kiser Senior United States District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Sarah Touart Reece's Motion to Amend the Complaint [ECF No. 6] and Defendant Dr. Mark R. Jones's Motion to Dismiss [ECF No. 8]. Although the Pretrial Order (and Roseboro Notice) filed in this case both advised Plaintiff of the possible result for failing to defend against Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiff did not respond to the Motion. I heard oral arguments from both parties on July 25, 2017, and the matter is now ripe for disposition. For the reasons stated herein, I will grant Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and deny Plaintiff's Motion to Amend, as the proposed amendment is futile.

         I. STATEMENT OF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed suit against “Dr. Mark Jones, Pittsylvania County Schools”[1] (“Defendant”) in Pittsylvania County General District Court using this Court's blank pro se complaint. On May 22, 2017, Defendant removed the action to this Court.

         Plaintiff alleges only the following:

In 2015, I began requesting a grievance procedure, which was uniform and in compliance with codes set by the general Assembly [sic]. I requested this procedure and that it be followed multiple times from 2015 to 2017. In 2017 I was dismissed. I was denied due process and therefore lost the benefit of a full retirement because I was dismissed well before the age of retirement. I was dismissed w/o being given a grievance process in accordance with the General Assembly.

         (Compl. ¶ III [ECF No. 1-2.] She contends these actions violated her Due Process and Fifth Amendment rights.

         In her Motion to Amend the Complaint, Plaintiff seeks to change “2015” to “2014.” (See Mot. to Amend Compl., May 25, 2017 [ECF No. 6].)

         On May 26, Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). [ECF No. 8.] The clerk sent Plaintiff a Roseboro notice that same day, setting a response deadline of June 12, 2017. Plaintiff did not respond to Defendant's Motion.[2]

         After removal of this case, I entered a Pretrial Order which stated, in relevant part: “EXCEPT FOR GOOD CAUSE SHOWN, IF BRIEFS IN OPPOSITION TO THE MOTIONS ARE NOT FILED, IT WILL BE DEEMED THAT THE MOTION IS WELL TAKEN.” (Order, May 23, 2017 [ECF No. 4] (emphasis in original).) Despite this admonition, Plaintiff never filed a brief in opposition.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         As an initial matter, pro se complaints are held to “‘less stringent standards than the formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).

         To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) 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.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. In determining facial plausibility, the court must accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true. Id. The Complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief” and sufficient “[f]actual allegations . . . to raise a right to relief above the speculative level . . . .” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (internal quotation marks omitted). Therefore, the Complaint must “allege facts sufficient to state all the elements of [the] claim.” Bass v. E.I. Dupont de Nemours & Co., 324 F.3d 761, 765 (4th Cir. 2003). Although “a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, ” a pleading that merely offers “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         III. ...


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