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B.L. v. Tonasket School District

United States District Court, E.D. Washington

June 4, 2018

B.L., a minor, by and through KEVIN LANDDECK, his parent and guardian, Plaintiff,
v.
TONASKET SCHOOL DISTRICT; JAMES CADDY; STEVE McCULLOUGH, in his official capacity; KEVIN TERRIS, in his official capacity; LLOYD CATON, in his official capacity; CATHERINE STANGLAND, in her official capacity; JOYCE FANCHER, in her official capacity; ERNESTO CERRILLO, in his official capacity; JERRY ASMUSSEN, in his official capacity, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS

          SALVADOR MENDOZA, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court, without oral argument, is Defendants' Motion for Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6), ECF No. 6. Kevin Landdeck filed suit on behalf of his minor son, B.L., against Tonasket School District and several district employees or officials alleging violation of the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), Wash. Rev. Code (RCW) § 49.60 et seq., and Title IX, 20 U.S.C. § 1681, as well as the common law tort of outrage. Because Plaintiff fails to plead facts sufficient to support a prima facie case for any of the alleged claims, Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed in full.

         BACKGROUND [1]

         During the 2016-2017 school year, B.L. was a student at Tonasket High School, a public education institution within the Tonasket School District. Kevin Landdeck is the parent and guardian of B.L. and was employed by Tonasket School District as the coach of the Tonasket High School boys' basketball team.

         On Friday, January 27, 2017, the Tonasket High School basketball team played the Brewster High School basketball team in an away game at Brewster. During the game, Defendant James Caddy cat-called and made belittling remarks towards the Tonasket High School basketball team. Defendant Caddy was a teacher at Tonasket Junior High School. Defendant Caddy referred to B.L. as a “princess” and stated, “fix your hair princess, ” in reference to the fact that B.L. wore his hair long.

         On Saturday, January 28, 2017, Landdeck notified the assistant principal for Tonasket High School, Defendant Kevin Terris, of the occurrence at the Friday evening game by text message. The District took no action to investigate the complaint.

         On Monday, January 30, 2017, Landdeck confronted Defendant Caddy in his classroom. As a result of the confrontation, Landdeck was charged in Okanogan County District Court with harassment and disorderly conduct. He was found not guilty of these offenses following a jury trial in July 2017.

         As a result of Defendant Caddy's remarks, B.L. was withdrawn from Tonasket High School.

         Plaintiff filed this action in Okanogan County Superior Court on February 21, 2018, and Defendants removed to this Court on March 6, 2018, ECF No. 1. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint on April 12, 2018, ECF No. 6.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         A claim may be dismissed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) either for lack of a cognizable legal theory or failure to allege sufficient facts to support a cognizable legal theory. Taylor v. Yee, 780 F.3d 928, 935 (9th Cir. 2015). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must allege “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A claim is plausible on its face 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.

         DISCUSSION

         A. Plaintiff's complaint does not contain facts sufficient to state a claim for sex discrimination under Title IX.

         B.L. asserts a claim under Title IX, 20 U.S.C. § 1681. Title IX states in relevant part: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a). Sexual harassment is recognized by Title VII and is therefore considered a form of discrimination under Title IX. Se ...


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